THE time has come for Portsmouth to show why it is the City of Football.
Representatives of Sport England, which is in charge of the bid, will visit the city tomorrow to see why Portsmouth deserves the title along with £1.6m to spend on grassroots football.
And we want you to show your support for the bid by wearing Pompey blue as the judges tour the city.
Supporters have also been called on to watch a football match between a team of Portsmouth councillors, Royal Navy personnel and employees from The University of Portsmouth take on staff from Pompey Football Club.
The match, at Guildhall Square from 3.30pm, will demonstrate to the Sport England delegation that football is crucial to the city.
Councillor Steven Wylie, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, will be doing his part for the bid by kicking a football off HMS Illustrious into the Solent.
He said: ‘I’ll certainly be doing my bit to convince Sport England we’re the city to take home the title.
‘We’re a football-based city, everyone knows how famous Pompey FC fans are for being passionate about their club.
‘But this title is more than that, it’s about getting everyone involved in playing football, for its social and health benefits. I want to urge everyone to come to the Guildhall and get involved. We need to show Sport England the city is behind this bid. Your city needs you.’
Pompey boss Andy Awford gave his backing to the bid.
He said: ‘This place lives and breathes football. If we can become the City of Football, it would be massive recognition, for the people, for the club and for everybody involved.
‘The navy is involved, the mayor is involved, the club is involved. Everybody is involved.
‘It’s a case of bringing it all together and showing the delegation what a good football city this is.
‘For us who live down here, we just take it for granted. For outsiders coming down, they need to be made aware of what it’s like and they will be on Monday.’
The Sport England team will visit the Historic Dockyard and Portsdown Hill as well as other key locations. And Pompey in the Community director of community projects, Clare Martin, wants everyone to come along and show their support.
She said: ‘This gives Portsmouth the opportunity to showcase how football is in the DNA of our city.
‘We’d like everyone to come along, show their support, make lots of noise and show Sport England what we already know, that Portsmouth is the City of Football.’
Portsmouth is one of three finalists and is competing for the title against Nottingham and Manchester.
If it wins, Portsmouth will be the first city to hold the title and will get the chance to develop grassroots football and encourage more people, primarily those aged 14 to 25, to play the game.
Businesses leaders, sporting organisations and regeneration partners will also be meeting with Sport England to discuss the bid.
Share with us the many ways you are supporting the bid
WE WANT you to share the many ways you are supporting the City of Football bid.
Whether you are wearing a Pompey shirt, watching the football match at the Guildhall or picking up one of 500 free footballs, we want to see it.
On Monday, Sport England are visiting Portsmouth to look at the strength of the city’s bid and decide if it is worthy of beating fellow finalists Nottingham and Manchester to be awarded £1.6m for grassroots football.
During the day, you can tweet your photographs and videos to @pompeyCOF or use the hashtag #playmorepompey to show how you are supporting the bid.
Take a picture of yourself at Portsmouth Guildhall holding a City of Football ball and you can get to keep it.
The News will also have reporters using the hashtag on Twitter on Monday – and you can read all about Sport England’s visit by logging on to portsmouth.co.uk.
Get the Sports Mail and hang free poster with pride
SHOW your support for Portsmouth and help us become the first City of Football.
This weekend’s Sports Mail has a free poster pullout inside and we want people living throughout the city to hang theirs in windows at home or place of work on Monday to show the wide support Portsmouth has to win the bid.
We want the representatives from Sport England, who are in charge of the City of Football bid, to see while travelling through the city that everyone wants Portsmouth to win the title.
The Sports Mail is available at shops and outlets across the area.