Date: 6th May 2008 at 5:10pm
Written by:

One of the press releases surrounding the launching of the new away shirt has been passed to me to use, I have also been given permission to use some images of the event, which I have included within – enjoy.

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As part of the celebrations of its 110th anniversary and to mark its appearance in its first FA Cup Final since the Second World War, Portsmouth Football Club’s first team squad visited one of the city’s other big hitters today….HMS Ark Royal.

The squad, including England internationals David James, Sol Campbell and Jermain Defoe, together with manager Harry Redknapp visited the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship in Portsmouth’s Naval Dockyard as the culmination of a day of activities.

Earlier in the day, a helicopter, trailing a 56m x 40m (184 feet x 131 feet) Portsmouth shirt, courtesy of the club’s sponsor OKI Printing Solutions, took off from Goodwood Racecourse and flew over the city, passing by some of its most iconic landmarks including Spinnaker Tower, the Historic Dockyard, Port Solent and the club’s Fratton Park Stadium. The giant shirt was then laid out on the flight deck of HMS Ark Royal when the club’s players paid their visit.

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At the same time as the shirt was flown over the city, local schools were sent a replica of the shirt (produced and printed by the club’s Pompey Study Centre) for them to sign. By signing the replica shirt the pupils were also signing up to the club’s newly launched Respect Pompey initiative, which, in conjunction with the local authority and OKI Printing Solutions, promotes positive behaviour in health, education, personal well-being, citizenship, relationships and environment.

“This event reinforces the strong links that Ark Royal and the wider Royal Navy have with Portsmouth’s community and key institutions in the city such as the football club,” explained HMS Ark Royal’s Commanding Officer, Captain Mike Mansergh. “The Royal Navy has always worked closely with the football club to promote opportunities for sport within the community and to promote the values encapsulated within the Respect Pompey initiative.”

“Our links with the local community are extremely important to the club and everyone knows what a central part of the Portsmouth community the Royal Navy is,” comments Peter Storrie, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Football Club. “Together with our sponsor, OKI Printing Solutions, we also wanted to use the event to celebrate Portsmouth’s links with the Japanese naval port of Maizuru, with which Portsmouth has a ‘sister’ relationship. We’re delighted that the city has responded so well to the club’s success and it’s fantastic that we were able to share this with our friends aboard Ark Royal.”

For her part, OKI Printing Solutions’ marketing director, Ewa Johnson confirms: “The Respect Pompey initiative is a key part of our broader community work with Portsmouth Football Club. In addition, the opportunity to link with Maizuru through the Royal Navy in this way is especially important to us, as Japan is the home of OKI Printing Solutions’ parent company, OKI Electric.”

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