Play Up, Poppies

PORTSMOUTH, appropriately, will provide the opposition for Plymouth Argyle’s Armed Services Day game next season.

The two Royal Navy ports go head to head at Home Park on Saturday, November 15, when the Pilgrims’ annual celebration of Plymouth’s military heritage will again see them honour the servicemen and women of the city.

The annual Armed Services Day fixture is also the Sky Bet League 2 Home Park fixture nearest to Remembrance Sunday, which this year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war.

The news that the Dockyard Derby has been chosen as the Pilgrims’ Armed Services Day comes hot on the heels of an announcement that the club, the Argyle Fans’ Trust and the Royal British Legion have entered into a unique arrangement that will see Argyle wear the RBL’s poppy emblem on their shirts next season.

Further details of the sponsorship were revealed at Home Park on Tuesday, when Carole Arnold and Dermot Roberts from the RBL visited Home Park to put pen to paper on the new partnership, alongside Sam Down, of the Argyle Fans’ Trust, and Pilgrims’ Chief Executive Martyn Starnes:

“What it means to us, and what we have been trying to achieve over the last few months is really raise the profile of the WWI centenary and the Royal British Legion,” said Roberts.

“The Argyle Fans’ Trust approached us and offered for us to be their charity of the year and, once we got together and started talking about the ways we could go, they came up with a brilliant idea of approaching the club themselves, and putting the poppy on the shirt.

“Really, it’s the AFT and PAFC that have put the deal together for the benefit for the Legion, which we are most grateful for.”

The Trust will also be working with the RBL on a range of fundraising events where all donations received will go directly to the RBL towards supporting the fantastic work they do for our forces personnel. We hope that supporters of Argyle and many other teams around the country will give generously to this most worthy of causes.

Sam said: “We thought it would be a fantastic way of not only linking the club and community together, but also raising the profile of the Legion across the country - especially on away matches, wearing the logo on the away shirt - as well as hopefully raising quite a bit of money for them.

“We think it is great for the charities involved, and a great way to link the club and the community, whilst raising money at the same time, so it achieves two important goals.

“There are so many people whose lives have been touched by foreign conflicts in this city, and it is the 100-year anniversary of WWI, so we thought it would be the best and most obvious choice.”

Martyn took the time to comment on the Dockyard Derby, which promises to be a marquee date on the calendar for the RBL’s partnership with the Pilgrims.

He said: “We think that they will get a great deal of coverage from the media and lots of ports, simply because it’s the 100th commemoration for the first world war, so we are very excited about it.

“It falls in November, which I think is an appropriate month for remembrance - it is also our nearest home game to Remembrance Day, so we think it is the perfect game to be doing that.

“We are expecting big support for the RBL and the clubs involved, as they are both military cities.”

The Trust will be appealing to both individuals and businesses to contribute towards the sponsoring donation it has made, details of which will be announced shortly. In the meantime, anyone interested in such contributions is welcome to email