Carl Ashton spoke to serial Liverpool flag maker, Gary Shaw, who is responsible for flags such as Scouse Solidarnosc and el grande Rafa.
He says, “I have followed Liverpool since 1976, my first game was when I was 7, I was a regular on my own by 1980 – you could do that then! I became a regular away traveller by the time I was about 12 or 13. I have had season tickets all over the place at Anfield, but currently in Block 306 on the Kop.
“The flags I’ve designed are – Scouse Solidarnosc, Liverpool Adidas originals, el grande Rafa (5m high – biggest waver I think?) The Polish unity, welfare, peace, socialism one with the Liver bird in the middle (that and the scouse solidarnosc where taken on the anti-cuts March to London last year and featured on the Guardian front page and website) the Sami Hyppia one and the current Pepe Reina ‘no pasaran’ one. I also did one with Rafa as Che Guevera and ‘No Pasaran’ Rafa’s Red Revolution on it – as seen on my twitter avatar etc.
“So, that’s seven I’ve designed, but I’m only in possession of 3 of them due to other people paying for the others etc – I currently have the Rafa – No Pasaran , Sami Hyppia one, and el grande Rafa.
“They were all ordered from a firm in Australia, although I believe they were produced in China.”
NO PASARAN RAFA
“I did when we went to Istanbul. I just thought it was a good quote (it originates from the Spanish civil war and it means ‘they shall not pass’ and is often used by the anti-fascists).”
EL GRANDE RAFA
“I took this one to Madrid when we beat Real Madrid at the Bernebau 1-0 (Benayoun) – and I also took it to Melwood for Rafa to sign. I then had conversation with him, and then asked him to sign a contract for 20 years!! He later referenced the flag and the meeting in the Liverpool Echo article a few weeks later, when he did eventually sign a new contract. It was also photographed widely in Spain, appearing on back page of Marca.”
“My favourite is actually the Polish one I did for John Joynt from Huyton Fatties – even though its only small – I like the sentiments.
I’ve designed a ‘Make Scouse not War’ flag for some other lads, and I think they’re getting that done soon. I’ve had the t-shirt done and loads of fans have asked after it!
I’ve also had a flag done with Thatcher on it, with the Elvis Costello phrase ‘Tramp the Dirt Down’ on it – Thats 3m x 3m and I took it to Wembley for the Carling Cup Final. Hopefully, I’ll be taking it to the FA Cup Final too!”
Follow Gary Shaw on Twitter @Garymerseybox