Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bag of Wind in Football Match Drama

The balloon went well and truly up for the mighty Burnley football club this week when they had to call air traffic control after a promotional inflatable blimp was cut free. The airship, bearing the club logo, was flown above the Turf Moor ground ahead of their Queens Park Rangers clash on Tuesday.

Unfortunately within an hour and a half, some wag scaled a wall and cut through the reinforced steel tether to unleash the blimp. The police were called and a reward has been offered for its return, but there have been no confirmed sightings (of the blimp, not the police).

A club spokesman said: "We called air traffic control because quite often these blimps get spotted by pilots first, but there has been no news so we are really still waiting. It was flying on a 200ft-long (61m) cord attached to a container in the corner of the car park, the first 20ft (6m) or so of which are covered in a steel sheath. It was well-protected, but somebody has climbed on to the container, hooked it, pulled it down a bit and cut through the cord. They were certainly persistent, and ran away before anyone saw them."

The spokesman added that someone had called to say the blimp had been seen over Manchester's Trafford Centre, but there had also been a reported sighting of it flying in the other direction over Cliviger, Lancashire. The club has offered VIP tickets to a match as reward for its return.

A Lancashire Police spokeswoman said: "Burnley Football Club contacted air traffic control for safety reasons because you never know how high these things will go. We have had no information as yet. Who knows where it might end up - perhaps it will be found abroad."

For the record the Clarets went down 0-2 to QPR in front of a crowd of 10,522 (this is also rumoured to be the size of the police's suspect list) and are currently 8th in the Championship (that's the one below the Premier League.) Keep your eyes peeled, those VIP tickets could be yours....

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