The name of Exeter City Football Club is being spread across the globe, thanks to the crew of the city’s adopted warship, HMS Defender.
The club recently donated two strips of kit to the ship and they have already seen action at a sailing festival event – known as the world’s biggest sailing regatta - in the German port of Kiel. The Defender FC team, fully kitted out in Exeter City strip, made it to the semi-finals, where, somewhat ironically, they were beaten by Germany on penalties.
The ship’s Commander George Storton and PTI Jack Smith visited the club this week, where they met board members and staff and were treated to a tour of St James Park and the Cliff Hill Training Ground.
This followed a visit to the Type 45 warship whilst she was in dock in Portsmouth by chair of the Supporters’ Trust Nick Hawker and club president and director of external affairs Julian Tagg earlier this year.
Julian said: “It was wonderful to welcome George and Jack to the club. We heard about the many parallels between operating a warship and elite sport which was absolutely fascinating. We then gave them a tour of the stadium, including the museum, where we have two Defender plaques on display, and then onto the training ground where we were able to watch part of an under 18s game.”
HMS Defender, which is formally affiliated to the city of Exeter, has recently led a multi-national task group in the Baltic during NATO exercise BALTOPS 22.
Nick Hawker added: “Community is at the heart of Exeter City Football Club, and that doesn’t just mean the community on our doorstep, so it’s been wonderful to both visit HMS Defender and welcome George and Jack to the club. We’re looking forward to hearing more about their football team’s successes in the future.”