Euro 2020: the blow of Angel of the North foiled by the police
The Angel of the North was briefly seen wearing an English badge ahead of the Euro 2020 final – before police intervened.
A team arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning to secretly add the patriotic adornment to Sir Antony Gormley’s Gateshead sculpture – but no sooner had it been up than three police officers arrived and asked them to remove it.
Ben Fada, a rope access specialist who was part of the team that put on the badge, said it was meant to put a smile on people’s faces ahead of Sunday’s final against Italy – although he said they did not get permission in advance.
“It was just about bringing a little bit of happiness and making people smile,” he told the PA News Agency.
Mr. Fada and his friend Robbie Woods have already undertaken similar projects.
In 2018, they climbed the sculpture to put a Santa hat on their head for Christmas, while last year they marked Armistice Day by tying a poppy to its chest.
Both received wide attention and they were hoping for the same this time around.
But Mr Fada said while it was “disheartening” to have to remove England’s badge, he fully understood why the police intervened, saying they were “just doing their job”.
He added, “You also have to understand from their point of view, they just watch over everyone.
“They didn’t know I was a specialist with 20 years of experience.
Although not a huge football fan, Mr Fada said he enjoyed watching the tournament with his family.
But he admitted he would have mixed feelings if England emerge victorious on Sunday.
“I think they’re going to win and I’m going to be devastated because the Angel won’t have a badge on it,” he joked.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “At approximately 1.15 am today, police were contacted regarding a group of people erecting the England badge on the Angel of the North.
“Officers patrolling nearby attended and feared those involved would put themselves in danger and asked them to remove the badge and come down.
“We’re as excited as everyone else for the big game, but I hope the Three Lions will make us fly high tomorrow without anyone having to climb the tallest structures in the area.”