Manchester United’s famous Big Lily flag will be centre stage at Old Trafford on the 21st anniversary of its creation.
The club has given over its famous stadium for a day of celebration to commemorate the historic flag, which was born out of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
The two creators of Big Lily were best friends and devoted Man United supporters – but came from different sides of Northern Ireland’s religious and political divide.
The name ‘Lily’ derives from the Easter lily and Orange lily which are symbolic of the Catholic and Protestant traditions in Ireland.
Big Lily was created in 1999 by best friends Keith Norris and the late Martin ‘Faceman’ Cleary to create harmony in their local Manchester United Supporters Club. It has since been round the world, visiting United fans in Australia, Brazil Japan and Germany.
Today, Big Lily is an iconic symbol representing all things positive relating to Manchester United, friendship and passion through football.
“There are now 254 Manchester United Supporters Clubs supporters clubs in 82 countries,” said Mr Norris. “All United supporters play a part in the global Red family. Big Lily is all about friendship and a small part of the United family. Everything Big Lily does to promote friendship is dedicated to the memory of ‘Faceman’.”
The flag has appeared at two Champions League finals, was bridesmaid at Mr Norris’ wedding in Kyoto, attended George Best’s funeral in Belfast and was a special guest at the 60th Anniversary function of the Malta Manchester United Supporters Club.