Norwich City fans get shirty in Colman’s kit to back campaign to keep Britvic and Unilever in city
- Credit: Nick Butcher
When Nelson Oliveira grabbed a stoppage time equaliser for Norwich City, the roar sent reverberations around the city.
However, this was far from the only way the City faithful made their voices heard on Saturday - they did so not only with their words, but with their shirts.
Hundreds rummaged through lofts, cupboards and drawers, as they pulled out 20-year-old shirts to show their support for a Norfolk institution.
As part of this newspaper's 'They MUST Be Saved' campaign, we asked Canaries fans to don the vintage Colman's shirts worn by the club between 1997 to 2001, and you did not disappoint.
Many fans looked as if they had just clambered out of their DeLoreans from the two decades ago, as they helped this newspaper make an emphatic statement to both Britvic and Unilever.
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The campaign, given the tag on social media of #SaveColmans, was launched following the announcement from Britvic that it plans to close its Bracondale site.
The decision puts hundreds of jobs at risk, with implications for Colman's Mustard, produced by Unilever, who co-operate the factory with Britvic.
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Following Britvic's decision, Unilever also announced it would be reassess its status at the site, and whether it can continue without its cohabitants.
The decision has been met with an emotional response from our readers, who are determined not to see this crucial part of the local economy removed.
Among those to don a vintage Colman's shirt was 41-year-old Dominick Okamoto of Poringland. He said: 'I have friends who work at Unilever and they said there is not a great atmosphere there at the moment I just want them to have security.'
Peter Waldron, 69 of Diss said: 'Colman's is a very big part of the city's history . It needs to stay.'
Roger Moorhouse, 59 of Hellesdon, added it would be 'a great shame' for the factories to close and jobs to be lost.
David Powles, Eastern Daily Press editor, said: 'We were delighted with how our readers engaged with the campaign. This proves how passionate we are in Norfolk about making our voices heard and shows we won't stand for such an important part of
our history being taken away from us.
'However, the campaign does not end here and we will continue to pile pressure on both Britvic and Unilever and show how valued their factories are here.'
Throughout the day, the campaign gained traction on social media, where readers used the tag #SaveColmans to show their support.
Fans including Jo Wright, Rob Ward and Vicky Pitchford all submitted photographs of themselves proudly wearing the shirts.
Across the day, we received dozens and dozens of pictures from fans, including submissions from Neil Moore, Mark Robertson and Jo Chilvers.
While many found their shirts, others got creative in their support, with some superb compromises made.
Andrew Gilbert taped a jar of Norwich's finest to the front of his shirt while Stuart Dade chose to drink his morning cuppa from Colman's mug.
Being abroad also didn't stop City fans from joining in, with support coming from as far as Germany to Philadelphia, USA.
#SaveColmans also became a trending 'Twitter Moment', as City fans made themselves heard across the nation.
A number of familiar names and faces from Norwich City history lent their support to the campaign.
City legend Bryan Gunn Tweeted a montage of photographs of himself, son Angus and daughter Mimi in their shirts from over the years.
With it, he wrote: 'We have always liked the Colman's brand over the years. Super models, super fans.'
Fellow club legend Darren Eadie also shared a retro photograph of himself representing the Canaries in a Colman's jersey.
Iwan Roberts gave his backing to the campaign by sharing a number of photographs of fans wearing the shirts, while also taking a nostalgic look at himself in them from his playing days.
So far, almost 11,000 people have signed an online petition set up on Change.org, urging Britvic and Unilever to keep their factories open.
Further signatures were collected on paper copies at newspaper stands around the city.