Store’s generosity suits Pompey stars

Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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THE last time Pompey players put on new suits at Fratton Park they won their match.

Now Guy Whittingham’s first-team players will be hoping to start the season in winning style, having just been kitted out in TM Lewin suits for free.

Ricky Holmes (left)  gets measured by Mark Hayes (47) the store manager at TM Lewin '' ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (132082-4369)

Ricky Holmes (left) gets measured by Mark Hayes (47) the store manager at TM Lewin '' ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (132082-4369)

Every first team player went down to the Gunwharf Quays store yesterday to be measured up – and to sign autographs for fans gathered outside.

The reason behind the gentlemen’s outfitters handing over 70 suits, more than 100 shirts and developing a special tie is simple: the chain began in 1898, the same year Portsmouth formed its football club.

Store manager Mark Hayes, who has run the shop for seven years, said there was a real buzz when the players arrived.

He added: ‘It was brilliant.

‘It was hot in the shop but it went well – there was lots of banter, and a lot of laughs.

‘It created a good buzz in the shop, which was great, and there were many, autographs signed.’

Mark was unable to advertise the fact he would be having Pompey’s new-look League Two squad in his shop in case pandemonium broke out with legions of fans clamouring for autographs.

But a crowd still gathered outside the store to greet the players.

‘Some even had shirts for them sign,’ said Mark.

TM Lewin already sells a special Pompey tie, with £10 of its cost going to the football club.

This season, however, the chain is developing a new Pompey tie, which will only be sold to the club’s executives and all those who bought a community share for the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

‘We’ll do the tie for them, and the PST will get a cut,’ said Mark.

‘This all really started when we made the first Pompey tie.

‘And now we have given away more than 70 suits to the players, more than 100 shirts, as well as making this new tie. They’re now a community club and I can see this relationship blossoming.’

Club spokesman, Colin Farmery, said: ‘TM Lewin have been a great supporter of the club in the past and the fact they’re willing to commit to the club underpins the feelgood factor we’ve got with fans and the business community.

‘It’s really encouraging to see. Everyone is now really excited about the new season and the players are going to look terrific.’

On October 1, 2012 polo shirts and tracksuits were banned at Fratton Park in favour of a new dress code.

Pompey had suffered four consecutive home defeats, and after then-manager Michael Appleton decreed a change in style off the pitch, a change of style on it won through and saw Pompey win 2-1 against Scunthorpe.