Wednesday, 12th December 2018
Flag man named
Filed: Monday, 12th March 2018
Author: Staff Writer

The man who picked up a corner flag and planted it in the centre circle at the Olympic Stadium has been identified.

Businessman Paul Colborne, 61, who attends matches at the Stratford arena with his son stepped forward after giving himself up to Police who wanted to speak with him in association with Saturday's events.

However Mr Colborne told the Daily Mail that he had no regrets, despite facing a potential criminal record. "I had to do something," he said. "I wasnít being violent, but I couldnít take it anymore when Burnley went 2-0 up.

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"I got out of my seat in the Bobby Moore stand and climbed over the fence, got the flag and walked towards the centre circle. James Collins came up and said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Youíve been here 15 years Ginge, I love you, but I have been here 49 years'.

"Eventually I put the thing into the centre spot. James Collins was real nice and really reasonable.

"I believe the Metropolitan police will arrest me because when I gave myself in to Hatfield police station on Sunday, they said a criminal investigation was going on.

"I am also worried and found it scary when the police said West Ham would be bringing a civil case against me. If they get fined say £30,000 they could come after me and I wonít be able to pay, but mine was a symbolic gesture. That was all I was trying to do.

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"I am a very worried man now. I donít want people to say that I am a mindless thug and that the flag was an offensive weapon. That is rubbish.

"Encroaching on the field of play is a criminal offence, but I am worried that they were going to link it all with those people who were semi-violent. I want to be dealt with as a separate entity which I believe it is."

Mr Colborne's gesture was a hark back to the Bond Scheme protests of 1992 when a West Ham supporter walked past a string of bemused players before similarly symbolically planting a flag in the centre circle.

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