Spoof ‘Wally’ photo embarrasses Greek club Aris

A globe-trotting comic book character has left officials at

Greek football club Aris with faces as red as his famous sweater

after popping up in a spoof photo in a matchday program.

Instead of using an official Manchester City team picture for

the program for Tuesday’s Europa League match, designers at Aris

downloaded a digitally doctored photo from the internet.

Not only did the mock squad feature famous names from the world

of football who have previously been linked with the big-spending

English club, it also included Wally – a distinctive character from

the popular children’s book ”Where’s Wally?”

A City official spotted the photo at a pre-game function and

embarrassed Aris officials were forced to scrap the program before

the match. Some copies made it into the public domain, but Aris

insisted Friday that they were not circulated.

Aris said Manchester City had provided a photo for the program,

but for technical reasons the printers were unable to use it and

instead downloaded the spoof off the internet – without realizing

there was anything wrong with it.

”As soon as we realized there was a mistake, we halted

circulation and we propose to print a new, correct program for the

return game with Manchester City,” Aris said Friday.

”Where’s Wally?” is an invention of a British illustrator and

challenges readers to spot a young man wearing a

red-and-white-striped sweater and hat in an illustration that

typically contains many other characters at a given location.

The series, first published in 1987, has become popular in other

countries, including ”Where’s Waldo?” in the United States, ”Ou

est Charlie?” in France and ”Where’s Hugo?” in Sweden.

Wally, or at least a man made to look like him, was found in the

spoof City photo in the fourth row between England internationals

James Milner and Joe Hart, complete in his usual attire.

Above him in the fifth row was AC Milan striker Zlatan

Ibrahimovic, one of a host of world-class players to make the

enlarged 87-man squad.

Others included Barcelona playmaker Lionel Messi, Real Madrid

forward Cristiano Ronaldo and striker Wayne Rooney, who plays for

City rival Manchester United.

Associated Press writer Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki,

Greece, contributed to this report.