A Pompey fan has written an open letter to Emirates boss Sir Tim Clark, urging him to reconsider the controversial red-and-white rebranding of the Spinnaker Tower.
Martin Cox, of Waterlooville, said he had put pen to paper because he believes that painting the tower in the colours of Pompey’s fierce football rivals Southampton would leave thousands of people in Portsmouth feeling alienated from the city’s famous landmark.
Here is Martin’s letter:-
Dear Sir Tim,
I note with interest the announcement of Emirates’ sponsorship of the Spinnaker Tower in my home city of Portsmouth. I’m proud that a widely acclaimed airline and a sponsor of all things quality should want to be associated with good old Pompey. However, I am appalled at the plan to repaint the building in your corporate colours of red and white.
I wonder if you are aware just how strong the sentiment in Portsmouth is against this? We are a proud, island city, everything about Portsmouth is associated with blue from the obvious connection to the sea, to the proud heritage of the Royal Navy and occasionally even blue skies! We also have a blue council at the moment and of course we have a football team that plays in blue and white.
I would like to draw your attention to the huge backlash from a large proportion of the Portsmouth population to the proposition that their iconic tower will effectively become a red and white striped monumentMartin Cox
This is a team that achieves crowds of 15,000 in the bottom division of the Football League. A team that drew 250,000 people on to the streets to celebrate their 2008 FA Cup win. A club that was recently saved from extinction by the people of the city putting their hands in their pockets to buy it. This is not London where there’s another team just down the road, or Liverpool where there’s a red and blue team. This is an island where our team plays in blue, the colour associated with our city, the sea, the navy, our heritage.
There is a strong and deep-rooted rivalry between Portsmouth and Southampton that extends beyond the football clubs and dates back to being rival ports, to shipyard strikes, strike breakers and more. There is a clear distinction between the two cities. Portsmouth is blue, Southampton is red.
There are a few people in Portsmouth who are trying to turn your sponsorship into a UKIP style anti foreigner “they’re taking over our city” crusade. These can be ignored and I’m sure are an occupational irritation for you running a company based in the U.A.E. However, I would like to draw your attention to the huge backlash from a large proportion of the Portsmouth population to the proposition that their iconic tower will effectively become a red and white striped monument.
I think most have no problem with the sponsorship, the renaming or your logo appearing on paperwork and discretely at the building but the idea that a red and white monstrosity will literally tower over the people of Portsmouth is going to work very strongly against the positive outcomes that you are endeavouring to achieve. Every time any of the majority of the population look up at that tower, they are going to cringe and blame your company.
There is a lighting system in place that allows the tower to be coloured temporarily. Why not use this once a week, once a month or on special occasions to show your branding? If you cause the tower to be painted, these lighting effects will be diluted if not ruined completely without the benefit of a blank white canvas.
I would ask that you take a personal interest in how this endeavour progresses so that you can modify the plans appropriately and avoid completely alienating the 500,000 people in Portsmouth and its suburbs that will take a keen interest in the outcome.