Shropshire Star

Wolves fans hang huge Carl Ikeme banner from Iron Bridge

A group of Wolves supporters capped their team's most successful season in decades by adorning a famous industrial landmark with a tribute to Carl Ikeme.

The Carl Ikeme banner hangs from the Iron Bridge

The Telford Wolves group hung their huge Ikeme banner from the Iron Bridge on Saturday afternoon to show support for their former goalkeeper and celebrate Wolves reaching Europe for the first time since 1980.

Ikeme, who came through the Wolves academy, retired from football on medical advice last summer shortly after announcing his "complete remission" from leukaemia, which he had been diagnosed with in July 2017.

The banner was unfurled at Wembley last June when England played Nigeria, who Ikeme played 10 times for

The 10m x 10m banner featuring Ikeme and the charity Cure Leukaemia became a regular sight last season, with the flag on show at home and away throughout the club's Championship-winning campaign.

And when the supporters visited Ironbridge to watch the FA Cup Final on Saturday, they took the banner with them and unfurled it for the whole gorge to see once the game was over.

Chairman Mark Hadley said the display was partly a celebration of the club's qualification for the Europa League next season, which was confirmed as a result of Man City's 6-0 final win over Watford.

Mark said: "We had it up there for about 20 minutes, enough time to take some photos and send messages and put it on Twitter.

"It is the Iron Bridge, you don't want people draping stuff over it all the time but we got it there for 20 minutes."

Ownership of the banner is split between Mark, other members of the Telford group and the football club itself, and they have proudly displayed it at as many Premier League matches this year as possible despite more stringent regulations than in the Championship.

"We have got two of the huge flags with us at the moment including a Nuno one, but our preference has been this one because we have always supported Carl and we have taken it with us everywhere.

Wolves fans with the Carl Ikeme banner at Old Trafford in September

"It's a message of support for Cure Leukaemia and to support Carl through his treatment.

"Every chance we can get to give Cure Leukaemia some exposure we will take. We make donations to them as well.

"The big advantage next year is to get it into Europe, but we will see."

Mark, who lives in Aqueduct, said a number of Wolves fans who live in the gorge voiced their approval when they spotted the banner.

He went on: "This last season has been the best in my lifetime. I've seen some good teams in my time but the quality of the football at Wolverhampton this year has been better than any of it."

The banner has also been to Wembley, making an appearance at a friendly between England and Nigeria last June and prompting Ikeme to thank the group in a letter.