Dutch football club Vitesse Arnhem adopts colours of the Paras as nod to heroes who saved their city
Dutch top flight side Vitesse Arnhem have adopted the colours of the Paras – as a nod to the British war heroes who battled to free the city.
The club normally play in distinctive yellow and black stripes – but they have ditched their kit for the British regiment”s claret and blue colours.
They have also displayed the force”s winged horse motif on to their shirts for the two commemorative matches to mark the 68th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem during World War II.
Salute: A veteran and Vitesse player salute each other at the club”s ground in Arnhem, Holland
Former Vitesse Arnhem player Alex Buttner, who now plays for Manchester United, in the club”s old colours at the Gelredome Stadium in Arnhem, Holland, last season. The club have adopted the colours of the Paras
And club officials have also adopted the Airborne Division”s motto No Bridge Too Far as their official slogan for the 2012/13 season.
The special kit was worn last Saturday against rivals Heracles in the Dutch Eredivisie clash – where British veteran Johnny Peters emotionally saluted Vitesse captain Guram Kashia.
Veterans from the brutal battle in September 1944 were present for the 1-1 draw.
The strip will make another appearance in Wednesday”s cup tie against VV Gemert.
Niall Cherry, Chairman of The Arnhem 1944 Fellowship, said: “It is a wonderful gesture and we hope it keeps the memory of those who bravely fought in the battle alive.
“A football team”s colours are almost sacrosanct so for Vitesse and their fans to volunteer to change those shows tremendous respect.
British paratroops pictured landing on the outskirts of Arnhem in September 1944
A parachuting cameraman dangling in mid-air took this picture as paratroopers descended from transport planes
An aerial view of the bridge at Arnhem following the allied assault
“A few veterans went over for the game on Saturday and were overwhelmed with the reaction, it was a wonderful occasion.
“I”ve no doubt that the shirts will become collectors” items in years to come.”
A club spokesman said: “We wanted to emphasise our respect for the veterans by wearing the Airborne shirts.
Veterans from The Battle of Arnhem, march over John Frost Bridge in Arnhem, the famous bridge in the battle, four years ago
Arnhem veterans Frank Eccles, from Cumbria, (left) and Henry Harding, from Barnsley, visit the military cemetery in Oosterbeek, near Arnhem
A group of 11 veterans after parachutted in to Ginkel Heath near Arnham, Holland, on the 60th anniversary in 2004 of the biggest airborne operation in history
“The yellow-black has been exchanged for the maroon-red and blue of the Airborne division.”
Thousands of young troops lost their lives valiantly battling against Nazi occupation – with Allied casualties estimated up to 17,200.
The battle was famously documented in the film A Bridge Too Far featuring Michael Caine, Gene Hackman and Sean Connery.
Sean Connery starred as Roy Urquhart the 1977 film about the battle, A Bridge Too Far