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Premier League Trophy aboard HMS Victorious
Season 2012/13

Submarine Homesick Blues

  • 22 June 2012 13:47
  • Posted by Paul Lake

In my role as a City in the Community Ambassador sometimes invitations come along which turn out to be an opportunity of a lifetime.

For myself and fellow club ambassador Mike Summerbee this was truly one of those moments as we were invited to visit a very special City fan on a Royal Navy nuclear submarine.  As Guy Garvey might put it … One day like this!

We travelled up to the Naval base on the Clyde in no time thanks to the benevolence, or more specifically the helicopter, of Andrew Crossland, life-long Blue and new member of our fabulous Connell Club. This also gave me an opportunity to attempt to conquer my fear of heights.

Mike Summerbee and Paul Lake with Trophy

We arrived at the Naval Base and met the man at the centre of the visit, die-hard City fan John Livesey, Commanding Officer of the HMS Victorious.

Commander John Livesey

As the 2011/12 season drew to it's dramatic conclusion, Commander Livesey and his crew were cut off from the outside world on a three month patrol.

With the seconds ticking away, John and his fellow Blues on-board had to rely on brief communiqués from the shore for news. As the United's game ended in Sunderland, the devastated Blues received two words they didn’t want to see - UNITED CHAMPIONS. But only minutes later an update came through that caused a swing in emotions experienced by John, me and every City fan across the world – CITY CHAMPIONS.

Commander Livesey delights in recounting how he relayed the important news to the rest of the crew,


This is your Commander speaking, Just to let you all know that Manchester City are confirmed as the new champions of the Premier League.


...Commander John Livesey...

Mike Summerbee and Paul Lake with HMS Victorious Crew

HMS Victorious (150 metres long and 4 storeys deep, by the way) is one of the Royal Navy’s four Submarines carrying Trident ballistic missiles.  

Commander Livesey and his crew gave us a real insight into the running of a nuclear sub, from the 160 strong crew quarters, the control room and periscopes, the missile section itself and even the safe holding the one and only key to the RED BUTTON!

Mike Summerbee and Paul Lake with HMS Victorious Crew

We later visited the Naval Base gymnasium with the Premier League Trophy where Mike and I had photos with many people from the armed forces.  We were fortunate to meet many brave and interesting people and heard incredible stories about their lives and their individual connections with sport – and in particular football.

CITY TV were there to capture it all as Buzzer and Lakey battled vertigo and the urge to press the red button. 

All pictures courtesy of The Royal Navy

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