A Scottish football club made a groveling apology after mistakenly using a picture of Nazi soldiers on the front cover of a matchday program.
Third-tier side Airdrie chose to commemorate Remembrance Day – when Commonwealth countries pay tribute to members of the armed forces who have died on duty since World War I – in its program for the team’s match against Livingston on Saturday.
Designers wanted to base the program images on wartime trains and selected a picture they thought showed Australian soldiers. They were actually German troops from World War II.
To add to Airdrie’s embarrassment, the slogan that accompanied the photograph read: Supporting Our Heroes.
After being informed of the oversight hours after the match, which Airdrie lost 1-0, the club issued an immediate apology. Secretary Ann-Marie Ballantyne said she has since been inundated with messages of understanding.
”For all the devastation that followed, we have had some wonderful phone calls and e-mails of support, pointing out that we did it (a commemorative program) for the right reasons,” Ballantyne told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
”The first day was horrendous but since then it has turned around. Some of the messages we have been in tears reading, because they have been so supportive.”
Ballantyne said the club asked PoppyScotland, a charity that supports ex-servicemen and women and their families, for an image to use on the program but ended up selecting one itself.
”Every year we try to do something special and this year we decided to do something with soldiers on trains,” she said.
”There were four or five different images we could have chosen of soldiers hanging out of a (train) window but we picked the wrong one.”
The attendance for Saturday’s match was 1,013 and the club sold around 100 programs.
”The disappointing thing for us was that all the players had poppies (small plastic flowers worn to commemorate those who died in war) on their strips during the game but that got ignored with everything that went on,” Ballantyne said.
The club has assured fans the mistake ”will never be made again.”