THERE were smiles all round in Gosport High Street yesterday afternoon as Portsmouth FC fans were given the chance to meet some of the new faces at their beloved football club.
At a meet and greet session at the new Utilita store in Gosport, Pompey supporters met with new summer signings Anton Wilkes and Ben Thompson, who is on loan from Milwall.
Fans flocked to the store to have photos taken with the players, as well as to get their autographs.
One of those fans was 36-year-old Chris Fox, from Gosport, who went along with his five-year-old son, Flynn.
Chris said: ‘I think it’s brilliant – it's really nice to see them come over to Gosport to meet the fans.
‘We try to get to the meet and greets in Portsmouth but it’s a nice bonus to have them come to us.
‘My son and I have made a whole day of it together which has been lovely.’
Flynn, age five, said: ‘I got a picture and they signed my t-shirt.
‘My favourite player is Conor Chaplin.’
Mark Walker, 34 from Portsmouth, said: ‘I came across the harbour just to see them – they’re famous lads so it's definitely worth it.
‘It’s really good that people get to spend quality time with the players and it was the perfect day for it – I think the picture will probably go on my Facebook profile too.
‘I think they're both great additions to the squad and with the players we have this season, I think we can win the league or come second.’
Emma Dryden, 33 from Gosport, brought along her two children Calvin and Mia, as well as family friends Kaya and Teylan.
She said: ‘My two kids got a picture together with the players.
‘They were both really nice and down to earth people.
‘We didn’t actually know this was happening until we saw everyone outside with the players, but the kids instantly recognised who they were.’
The Utilita store in Gosport High Street opened last month – the first of its kind for the company.
Store manager Robert Tait says that events like this are very important to him and the store.
He said: ‘It’s been fantastic and very exciting for everyone here.
‘We’re very proud of the football teams we support and it’s great for Gosport to have the lads down here meeting everyone.
‘There were a lot of excited faces down outside the store today which was really great to see.
‘It was just great to have the players in.’