Paddy Power plants giant St George flag at home of Irish football

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has planted a pitch-sized St George’s Cross at the heart of Irish football to call on fans there to cheer for England at EURO 2020.

Legendary Irish pundit, Eamon Dunphy, and former Ireland international and Premier League star, Damien Delaney, attended the live stunt at Bray Wanderers FC today to launch the #SaveOurGame campaign.

The betting firm slapped a 100 x 56m England flag (big enough to hide Big Ben) on Bray’s Carlisle Grounds in Co Wicklow to mark Paddy Power’s pledge to donate €10k to the Irish grassroots cause for every goal England score at this year’s tournament.

After the Republic of Ireland squad’s failure to qualify for the tournament, and the chance to host games were ripped from the palm of the nation’s hands, the bookmaker wants to ensure the self-proclaimed ‘best fans in the world’ still have skin in the game – and will guarantee a figure of €100k is donated to senior clubs in Ireland, no matter what.

Dunphy – a dogged and fierce champion of Irish football – and former Crystal Palace and Hull City star Delaney were brought onboard to encourage Irish football fans to back the boys in white during the tournament, which kicks off this coming Friday (June 11).

Speaking at the event, Dunphy, who came onboard as a ‘watchdog’ to oversee the financial distribution process, joked: “I’m here to make sure Paddy doesn’t spend the money on ice-sculptures or call this a bridging loan. You have to admit, there’s a bittersweet irony to the prospect of a Southgate squad featuring Jack Grealish and Declan Rice being responsible for improving the state of Irish football.”

No stranger to the grassroots game having earned his stripes at Avondale United and Cork City before making the step up to the Premier League, Damien Delaney added: “We all know about the need to ensure funding finds its way into the right hands in this country. The only approach we hadn’t considered was drop kicking bags of cash over the gates of rural clubs, until Paddy Power called…”

“The #SaveOurGame campaign could mean a senior club gets their leaky roof fixed because Harry Kane found the back of the net. But I think it goes without saying that we hope England score loads and lose in a penalty shoot-out in the final!”

Dunphy and Delaney appear in a tongue-in-cheek video, with a cameo from Paddy Power himself, to launch the #SaveOurGame campaign which can be viewed here.

“Irish football fans are the best in the world, and we know they would do anything for the good of the game,” spokesman Paddy Power said.

“We’re not asking them to pledge their allegiance to the Queen. We haven’t totally lost the plot. But for the duration of the Euros, for every goal England score is money in the bank for Irish football.

“We’ll double it to €20k if Jack Grealish or Declan Rice find the back of the net. Call it a backstabber bonus.”

We want to give Irish fans a reason to cheer this summer…even if it slips out accidentally.”

Dunphy and Delaney joined Paddy Power today in calling on 18+ representatives from Irish clubs with senior teams to get in touch via [email protected] or via Paddy Power’s social media channels explaining what they need the money for and why.