Now that is what you call a banner!
South Americans unfurl giant 600m sign that needed an army of fans to march it into stadium
By MATT FORTUNE
PUBLISHED: 14:58 GMT, 5 April 2013 | UPDATED: 16:48 GMT, 5 April 2013
Three years after the first seeds of a world-record idea were planted in the minds of Nacional fans, the Uruguayan club have made history. On Thursday, during their Copa Libertadores tie against Mexican club Toluca, fans around three-quarters of the 65,000-capacity stadium were engulfed by a 600 metre x 50m flag, the largest ever unfurled at a football match. The white, red and blue banner swept down the steep banks of the Estadio Centenario stadium in Montevideo, covering the Colombes, Olympic and Amsterdam stands, setting the tone for a pulsating match, won 4-0 by the host. Festivities started earlier in the afternoon when fans gathered in the city to help carry the enormous flag – which took a year-and-a-half to make once a design had been decided upon – to the stadium. On the left of the banner, the words ‘Al bolso lo hace grande su gente’ are written. They translate as, ‘The fans make Bolso (the club’s nickname) a great team’.
To the right, it reads, ‘La Banda del Parque. La que nunca abandona’, which translates as, ‘The group from the park, that will never abandon the club.’
In addition, the names were printed of the 5,400 fans who helped realise the dream of the flag, while a tribute to the club’s founding fathers is also written.
‘Padre y Decano del futbol uruguayo’ y ‘Primer club criollo de America’ (‘The Father and Dean of Uruguayan football’ and ‘The first creole club in America’). ‘Creole’ refers to European descendants who were born in the Americas, thus making them the first club not founded or controlled by foreigners. Nacional, Uruguay’s most successful club, have won the Copa Libertadores, South America’s Champions League, three times – in 1971, 1980 and 1988 – while adding 44 league titles.