The White Horse Bridge at Wembley

 by Martin Belam, 25 May 2005

Yesterday the London Development Agency announced that following Radio Five Live's online vote, a new footbridge at Wembley will be known as 'The White Horse Bridge'.

Not everybody is happy:

FOOTBALL fans last night slammed the decision to name the new Wembley stadium footbridge after a HORSE.

Some suggested Scottish supporters backed the nag in a vote - to ensure the structure was not named after any England soccer heroes.

It will be called 'The White Horse Bridge' after a horse used to restore order during a pitch invasion at the first Wembley FA Cup final in 1923.

Thousands voted from a shortlist which included 1966 England World Cup legends.

Manager Sir Alf Ramsey, Sir Bobby Charlton and hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst came second, third and fourth in the poll.

Fellow 1966 star Alan Ball blasted the result.

He said: "It has been named after something that has nothing really to do with football."

Fan Darren Patterson, 28, said: "It's no secret that loads of Scots voted for the horse."

(The Sun, 25th May 2005)

Yesterday The Mirror was even carrying a 'quote' claiming:

The BBC commented: "We did note activity from Scotland but White Horse was popular with police and other supporters."

It was a close call though, with the LDA revealing that:

Billy the White Horse took just over a third of the 36,500 votes on the Five Live site. Sir Alf Ramsey was close behind on just under a third, while the three other finalists - Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst and Live Aid - each took about 4,000 votes.

Getting that number of vote in the space of just under a week was a very good showing, and I look forward to walking across the bridge knowing that my team played a part in getting it named.

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