The Royal Navy showed Plymouth Argyle players behind the scenes on a warship at Devonport Naval Base as a warm-up for the club’s Armed Services Day match.
Members of the club’s squad and staff were treated to a rare look round namesake Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll on Monday (14 November) for an informal visit to where the ship’s company (crew) live and work round the world while on patrol.
Players saw various aspects of life and work on board, including gunnery, fire-fighting, gunnery and operations.
The visit came ahead of a tribute and armed forces charitable benefit match to armed forces personnel at Home Park on Saturday, November 19, when Argyle takes on Grimsby Town FC.
Club Manager Derek Adams said: “We were delighted to accept the invitation to see over HMS Argyll as she nears the end of her refit.
“The club’s affiliation to Argyll is very important to us and to the community. Meeting plenty of the Green Army who serve on board ship and work at the dockyard reminded the players that, when they pull on the green shirt on match-day, Argyle means so much to so many people.”
HM Naval Base Devonport was central to the community in the same way as his club and the visit was part of extending the long friendship between two ‘venerable’ Plymouth institutions, Mr Adams added.
Club captain Luke McCormick said: “The lads feel really privileged to have been shown around HMS Argyll. Going behind the scenes allowed us to seen the innermost workings of the ship, which was a real eye-opener for us. We are proud of the link between Argyll and the club.”
Commander Toby Shaughnessy, HMS Argyll commanding officer, said: “HMS Argyll is delighted to be re-establishing our long-running affiliation with Plymouth Argyle FC after a prolonged period of upkeep and regeneration.
“It’s great to have them visit the ship. For many of them it’s their first time on board a Royal Navy warship, so I hope it gave them an insight into, and some appreciation of, how a Royal Navy sailor lives and works on board. Perhaps in return they will give some top tips to HMS Argyll FC for the rest of the season.’’
I wish Plymouth Argyle all the best for the rest of the season, and very much look forward to helping our relationship grow in the future.”
The tribute match will have RN, RAF and Army-themed attractions outside and inside the ground before the game and at half time and is sponsored by Babcock – the MOD’s main industrial partner at Devonport Naval Base. The RAF back the club’s ladies team. Charities supporting armed forces personnel will benefit from voluntary collections and will have stands at the ground.
The last time the club visited HMS Argyll was in 2012 when they staged their annual team photograph was taken on board. The event will reaffirm the affiliation between the ship and club after an extensive refit in dry dock.