A MAN Utd ‘icon’ is set to be recognised with a mural in Mid & East Antrim.
‘Big Lily’ – a famous giant Manchester United banner – is to get a mural at a football pavilion in Whitehead.
‘Big Lily’ is a NI-made Manchester United flag which is now an icon in its own right at Old Trafford.
Whitehead man Keith Norris, who owns ‘Big Lily’, previously said: “It was formerly a Carrickfergus Reds flag. The first match it went to was Milan for the quarter final of the Champions League in 1998/99, the treble season.
“Then it went to Turin for the semi final against Juventus and then it was at the FA Cup Final.
“I can’t exactly remember why we decided to make it bigger but we added to it and then brought it to Wembley for the cup final when we sealed the treble.
“After the World Club Championships in Brazil in 2000 we took ‘Carrickfergus Reds’ off it and put ‘Manchester United FC Stretford End On Tour’.”
“I’ve gone through about eight or nine bags these last few years carrying it. She gets a bit heavier when she’s wet.
“There’s the big MUFC crest on her that puts on another few pounds and then the logos and the writing adds some more.”
Keith created the banner along with fellow Northern Ireland man Martin ‘Faceman’ Cleary, two friends of different religions.
They named it to represent the Protestant Orange Lily and the Catholic Easter Lily and have used it to promote friendship around the world, the News Letter previously reported.
The ‘Big Lily’ mural issue was discussed at a committee meeting of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council.
The minutes said a request had been received by the Council to put a mural on the changing pavilion, owned by the council at the Whitehead Recreational Grounds.
The minutes added: ‘Further details were provided in relation to the proposal to erect a painting of Manchester United’s Big Lily – The Global Flag of Friendship – which had attracted recent significant media attention both locally and to a global local audience’.
Councillors were told it was ‘symbolic’ that the mural would be in Whitehead.
Councillor Danny Donnelly supported the recommendation subject to consultation with the football club and community.
Alderman Billy Ashe said there had been dialogue with the football club who were content with the proposal.
On the proposal of Cllr Donnelly, seconded by Alderman Ashe, it was recommended that the Council approves the installation of a mural on the changing pavilion located at Castleview Road in Whitehead.
The matter is expected to be rubber-stamped at the full meeting of the Council in Ballymena on Monday night.
- Update: The recommendation was backed at the full council meeting.