Sports pub chain persuaded to fly the flag by BEM

The Birmingham Evening Mail has persuaded a pub chain to drop an “unpatriotic” ban on flying English flags during Euro 2004.

A concerned landlord, from one of the Arena sports-themed pubs affected, leaked a management memo detailing the ban to the Mail, which immediately launched a campaign urging readers to Fly the Flag.

The pub company said it believed the flag of St George had football violence connotations. But after seeing the Mail coverage it decided to back down and admitted the move may have been “over zealous”.

Reporter Lisa Smith, herself a keen Aston Villa and England supporter, said: “We must be the only country in the world that isn’t proud of its national flag.

“It may be true that football hooligans hijacked it for a short time but surely now is the ideal opportunity to win it back and show we are proud of our national team.”

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