Taking The Mick!
This article should have been published a long time ago but I never got round to it - apologies.
Still, with all the hullaballoo over the vuvuzelas at the World Cup and whether they should be allowed in the ground or not, today seems a fitting day to publish this story.
No one can deny that Wembley was a brilliant day. Ok, maybe the Cardiff fans can, but for us 'Pool fans, something was missing. That something was our big flag, seen at pretty much every home game this season.
Why wasn't it there you ask? Well, there's no doubt that it would have looked fantastic being passed around the sea of tangerine in the ground minutes before kick off, but a company called Events360 who deal with all events at Wembley threw a spanner in the works just days before the game.
One of the men behind raising the funds to buy the flag in the first place, Mick Page contacted Wembley and Events360 as soon as the Seasiders made the playoff final, asking whether we could take the flag into the ground.
However, it wasn't until just days before the big game that he got his answer - yes, provided that you pay £1,200 plus VAT!
No folks, I'm not joking, Events360 demanded that we pay them £1,200 plus VAT to fly our big flag! Disgusting eh?
And having made us wait until just days before the game before giving us an answer, it left no time for us to raise the funds required to get the flag inside the ground, as Mick Page explains:
'I thought we were all football fans, but apparently not. Some would rather make a quick buck on the back of our passion than do their best to create a great atmosphere, helping portray Wembley in a better light.
'We all wanted the flag there, including the football club itself with the likes of Matt Williams and Karl Oyston being very supportive, but sadly, because of the short notice of the fee we did not have the time to organise a way of raising the funds.
'I just hope that Wembley and Events360 have learned valuable lessons for next time the tangerine hoards descend on the capital.'
However, whilst the flag was not present at Wembley, it was certainly present all around the Blackpool area in the days before the game courtesy of fan Neil Carman.
Speaking to Vital, Neil said:
'The flag was thrown all over Blackpool - proudly flown at the Red Lion in Bispham twice, taken to the stadium and the helter skelter roundabout for the squad's departure, and it even blocked a road in Bispham too!
'The flag received plenty of media coverage too, both in print and television, from Sky Sports to the BBC.
'The flag was perfect for Wembley and it is a great shame that greed and money making was more important to Wembley Stadium.'
Hopefully Events360 and Wembley Stadium will be an isolated experience, and next season the flag will fly proudly from the away ends of Premier League grounds up and down the country!
Meanwhile, in better news, it has been announced that the total amount of money raised at the Promotion at Preston dinner earlier in the season was £6,500.
The money has been donated to the Jimmy Armfield Status Fund.
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