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Unbelievable new signing as football legend Chris Kamara signs on for Navy veterans

28 November 2023
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We don’t normally trumpet a new member joining the Royal Naval Association.

Serving personnel, veterans, families, associate members join the 18,500-plus members in almost 250 branches in the UK and beyond every month.

But it’s highly unlikely any have played top-flight football. Or played at Wembley. Or managed Football League side. Or appeared on live TV for more than 20 years as one of the nation’s best-loved football pundits like Chris Kamara.

What you may not know is that the RN gave Chris a springboard to that career.

The 65-year-old, who’s just published his latest memoir Kammy – was spotted by scouts as a young midfielder playing for the RN back in 1974. Pompey offered the Navy £200 – about £2,500 in today’s money – to buy the teenager out of his contract with the Senior Service.

Chris’ RN career was brief. He joined at 16 under pressure from his dad, an ex-seafarer, completed basic training at HMS Raleigh before moving on to HMS Vernon, the then home of mine warfare in Portsmouth.

Already an adept footballer playing for Middlesbrough Boys before he signed up, he quickly found his way into the RN side. And the rest is history.

Chris was on the books of Pompey before his 17th birthday… and playing first-team football at Fratton Park before he was 18.

Nearly half a century later, he remains grateful for the opportunity the Navy gave him. “Once a matelot always a matelot – it doesn’t go away,” he says. “I’ve got a lot to thank Pompey for.”

And now, as the member of the Royal Naval Association, he’s got access to a life-long community of like-minded and supportive individuals, supporting serving and ex-personnel through life's highs and lows. And enjoying a good smattering of laughs and dits along the way.

“We are very excited to have Chris ‘onboard’ he is a truly inspirational sportsman,” said RNA Chief Executive Bill Oliphant.

“Our membership spans all ages, all interests and is based all over the world and are delighted that Chris has come back to his Naval roots.”

If you fancy joining Kammy - and more than 18,500 other RNA members - see https://royal-naval-association.co.uk/

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