Manchester United has teamed up with fans group Stretford End Flags (SEF) in a bid to create an electric atmosphere for the return clash with Real Madrid.
A giant mosaic of a red, white and black scarf will be displayed in the first two tiers of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand whilst two surfer flags will be carried across the East and West Stands. Meanwhile, members of the armed forces will also carry eight customised flags onto the pitch prior to the big kick-off.
ManUtd.com asked SEF spokesman Andrew Kilduff to shed light on the plans...
So, Andrew, what's the thinking behind this idea?
We're just trying to do a little bit extra to help create a great atmosphere as it's a Champions League night and such a big game against Real Madrid. Real did the same at the Bernabeu so it's a case of ‘whatever you can do, we can do better’. We wanted to add a bit of colour, particularly in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. But rather organising a mosaic with plastic sheets to hold in the air, we’ve decided to use individual flags to add movement. You can then reuse them at other matches.
Are you hoping to replicate the atmosphere of the Barcelona match in 2008?
I’ve read quotes from Sir Alex and Ryan Giggs describing how the 'Believe' mosaic inspired and lifted the team that night. They walked out the tunnel knowing it was a big game because the make-up of the crowd was different to a normal match. This feels like our first big European night since hosting Barcelona, so it’d be great to create a similar atmosphere.
Did the recent success of the ‘We’ll never die’ surfer flag help the process?
I think that has opened the doors to doing more inside the stadium from a health and safety aspect. It was a huge success and we had plenty of positive feedback, particularly from other fans’ groups who’ve been suggesting other ideas and ways to improve the stadium.
Was a tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo ever considered?
People suggested the idea on Twitter but we want the emphasis to be on United, not Ronaldo. If fans bring their own flags, try to ensure they’re about us and not Ronaldo because