PORTSMOUTH'S biggest landmark is getting a wash of paint - in Saints colours.

The Spinnaker Tower is set to adorned with red and white stripes as part of a multi-million-pound rebranding deal.

Now a petition has been launched by outraged Pompey fans in a bid to block the colour scheme - claiming it shows a lack of respect for residents.

The makeover comes after Emirates Airline announced it was sponsoring the tower.

It wants to rename it Emirates Spinnaker Tower and have it painted with its red and white logo as part of a deal worth £3.5m.

The work is expected to be completed before the America's Cup World Series comes to the city from July 23-26 - showing off its new colour scheme for the world to see.

And the paintwork will be on the tower - which can be seen from as far as the Isle of Wight and Worthing - until at least 2020 after signing a five-year deal with the airline.

President of Emirates Airline Sir Tim Clark said: “As the most prominent landmark in Portsmouth we are honoured to be the inaugural sponsor of Emirates Spinnaker Tower."

They are the first company to sponsor the 170-metre tall tower since it was opened in 2005 after receiving Lottery funding.

It is the first time the tower has received a new colour scheme - having always been painted white, making it possible to change its image temporarily for functions and events using lights.

But Pompey supporters are not happy. They have set up a petition urging Portsmouth City Council not to go ahead with the new paintwork.

Campaigner Alex Judd said: "The recent announcement by Portsmouth City Council to allow Emirates to paint the Spinnaker Tower in the colours of the city's fiercest rivals - red and white - flies in the face of the loyal values of the city.

"The very fact that the fans took ownership of the club, just two years ago, proves how the people of Portsmouth live and breathe football. To allow the colours of Southampton to stand tall on one of our city's most prominent landmarks shows an incredible lack of empathy for the residents. It must be stopped."

However, move has been welcomed by Saints fans including Nick Illingsworth from Totton.

The 54-year-old financial advisor and lifetime fan said: "It's great to see us being recognised as the number one team in Hampshire and have Portsmouth show their support for us in Europe.

"Hopefully they will be considering painting other Portsmouth landmarks like HMS Victory and Southsea Castle in the same way so they can have a matching set."

Justifying the new colour scheme, a council spokesman said it was ridiculous to associate the colour scheme with the football club and that blocking the move to paint the tower in red and white stripes would be like banning any blue water in Southampton.

Leader of Portsmouth City Council Cllr Donna Jones also defended the colours saying red would be kept to a minimum and people should wait and see.

She added: "I am delighted we have agreed this partnership, Emirates is one of the most prestigious brands in the world and this association can only benefit Portsmouth."

The deal will also see the tower promoted across the world as part of the airline's marketing.