World Cup rallying cry

Peter WalshFly the flag with pride and together we can win and help end 44 years of hurt - that is the patriotic rallying cry from the city's civic leaders today as England prepare to head to South Africa for this summer's World Cup.Peter Walsh

Fly the flag with pride and together we can win and help end 44 years of hurt - that is the patriotic rallying cry from the city's civic leaders today as England prepare to head to South Africa for this summer's World Cup.

Thousands of people living across the city have been urged to fly the flag for England from their windows, cars, and offices, in a bid to get behind the team as they get ready for their opening encounter against the USA in Rustenburg on June 12.

Fabio Capello's team carry the hopes and dreams of an entire nation on their shoulders going into the tournament and fans back home have been asked to do their bit for team and country.

South Africa might be thousands of miles away but with the support of a country back home behind them there is a belief that the England might just pull off the miracle - and emulate Sir Alf Ramsey's team's amazing feat of winning the tournament in 1966.

Derek James, Sheriff of Norwich, and Evening News features editor, led calls for the whole city to get behind the team by flying the flag with pride.

He said: 'I was 18, sitting on the edge of my chair, holding a bottle of Watney's pale ale, when Geoff Hurst scored and before you could say 'They think it's all over. It is now!" I had fallen off my perch and ended up in a heap on the floor...covered in beer.

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The year was 1966 and England had won the World Cup. It was party time.

'Most of old enough to remember will never forget where we were watching that extraordinary game at the height of the swinging 60s.

'All these years on it would be absolutely wonderful if England could lift the cup once again.

'The competition is a glorious opportunity for all of us, people of all ages and from all walks of life, to get together and fly the flag.

'These are tough times - and it looks like they could get a whole lot tougher - but the World Cup is a wonderful opportunity to put our worries on one side and join together to support England as our boys go for glory in South Africa.

'Let's be proud of our country. Let's be proud of Norwich. And let's hope that the summer of 2010 turns out to be just like the summer of 1966. Come on England!'

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, added his voice to the call. He said: 'It's clear from looking around the city that there's lots of people who are getting behind the team. We all know that this city if football mad and for just a few weeks we trade our green and yellow for red and white. Lets all wish England the best of luck.'

Taxi drivers in the Kent city of Canterbury were upset after being told they are not allowed to fly flags from their vehicles during the World Cup football tournament.

There had been rumours circulating on social networking sites that police action would be taken against people flying the flag in the run up or during the world cup - although this has been refuted by Norfolk Constabulary.

Chief Superintendent Tony Cherington said: 'There is no truth in these rumours. We have absolutely no problem with England or indeed supporters of any other country demonstrating their allegiance to their team, whether it be flags, shirts or any other legal and decent means. All we ask is that drivers should be careful not to distract themselves or other road users and anyone celebrating or commiserating should do so sensibly and within the law.

'As Norfolk is a diverse community the Constabulary recognises the national and international support the World Cup attracts and would encourage anyone with a passion for the game to get behind their team and enjoy the competition in a sensible and safe way.'

The Evening News officially kicks off its World Cup coverage today with the unveiling of its correspondent for the tournament - World Cup Walshy.

For the next four weeks Evening News reporter Peter Walsh will be looking to uncover Norwich-related stories about the feast of football that is the World Cup.

Are you travelling out to South Africa to cheer on Fabio Capello's team, or are you organising an event in Norwich to celebrate the world's greatest footballing tournament?

If so, or if you have pictures from South Africa, or any other World Cup themed events, then get in touch with World Cup Walshy by calling 01603 772436 or emailing

Bosses need to get ready for staff taking time off or calling in 'sick' to watch World Cup games from June 11 - or they could pay the penalty

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has warned employers to be clear about what their policy for staff is during the tournament and what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

Clive Lewis, head of enterprise at the institute, says: 'Companies have had a tough time and many staff have seen hours cut back and wages reduced. This is a chance for business owners to boost morale by showing that they care about their staff.

'However, they need to ask themselves some questions first to avoid scoring an own goal.'

These include deciding whether to screen any games in the workplace and, if so, which ones. One benefit is that it should avoid unauthorised absences.

Bosses should also decide whether staff can use the internet to keep up to date with scores and what the impact of greater usage would be on any internet charges.

But Britain's trade unions are asking companies to let employees watch the World Cup at work to prevent them from faking sickness during England matches.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: 'Rather than impose a blanket ban on football, and run the risk of demotivating staff and losing hours through unauthorised sick days, we would encourage employers to let people watch the games and claim back their time afterwards.'

It is normally by the end of the tournament that most England fans are feeling a little deflated - but this fan feeling a little let down before a ball has even been kicked.

As reported last week Norwich landlord Kevin Hopkins installed an inflatable 10ft England fan outside the Ketts Tavern on Ketts Hill to help persuade punters to choose his venue ahead of the tournament which kicks off on June 11.

But the pub's preparations suffered a blow - or rather a blow out - over the weekend, when a problem with the fan that inflates the giant supporter caused him to deflate.

Dawn Hopkins, who runs the pub with her husband, said: 'He's a bit deflated. It's just an issue with the fan that we're trying to get fixed. We're hoping he will return to full working order shortly.

'We discovered it on Sunday morning, then it was the bank holiday so we haven't been able to have it looked at. But someone has had a look at it now.'