Large sized headline to appear above main articleSTOKE CITY asked supporters to vote on the designs of a brand new flag (or surfer) to be paraded in the stands at the Britannia Stadium on matchdays during the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season.
Up until a couple of seasons ago, the sight of a large '12th Man' surfer being held aloft by supporters was a common matchday site at the Britannia, until the surfer succumbed to unavoidable wear and tear and had to be retired.
However, Club staff members listened to the recommendations of the Supporters' Council at the end of the 2013/14 season and offered to commission a new surfer for fans in time for the new season. The Potters have ensured that the new surfer design is very eye-catching and also have a very special meaning for all Stokies.
Stoke City's Head of Supporter Growth and Services, Anthony Emmerson explains, "Just after the idea for a new surfer was approved, I met with some servicemen Stoke supporters. They were saying that no matter where they are in the world, their heart is always at the Brit on matchdays. We chatted about the flag and thought that displaying it should be in honour of all Stokies – in and out of the stadium, past and present. The soldiers actually agreed to help us with the design and, of course, the line which was agreed of 'We'll Be With You' is completely apt".
Serving soldier and proud Stoke City supporter, Stephen Arnold says "It was an honour to work with the Club on a new surfer. I joined the Royal Artillery in 1993 at the Hanley Army careers office and since then have served twice in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and twice in Afghanistan. For this reason, I was never able to make all the games at the Brit during this time, but knowing that the Club's red army will be thinking of members of the forces right before kick-off is quite an emotional thing. The display should also be to honour fans that aren’t in the forces and who maybe just work away, or who sadly are no longer with us".
Any supporter, home or away, wishing to bring their own large flag (greater than 3m x 2m) to the Britannia Stadium on a matchday, should contact firstname.lastname@example.org at least 48 hours prior to kick off.