Chwaraeon Cymraeg yn ennill eto
Everyone loves an underdog in Sport. Rocky Balboa. The Jamaican Bobsled team. Leicester City. The list is endless, however one underdog in particular is riding the wave of popularity.
After a sterling effort at the Euros, the Welsh football team is currently surfing a swell of success which shows no sign of slowing.
For years, the national football team was struggling along in the shadow of the rugby team, barely able to draw a few thousand through the gates of its fixtures.
The Euros has flipped that firmly on its head.
With patriotism rampant, fuelled by a summer of success (and Gareth Bales’ star appeal), the Welsh dragon started its World Cup qualifying campaign against Moldova with a fire in its belly and a vociferous crowd.
So much fire in fact, that things got a little heated. During the warm up, presumably hyped by the close to capacity crowd, James Collins, centre back, took a punt at the goal and missed. Not unusual for a defender, but unfortunately for Collins the ball flew in to the face of Ryan Evans, a six-year-old supporter. In a moment of PR genius or (probably) genuine concern, Collins climbed in to the crowd to check he was alright.
After the compulsory photo opportunity for social media, Collins left Ryan, only to return with a Gareth Bale top and permission for the fan and his family to move seats. Following a 4-0 Wales win, Collins then put a social media callout to locate the fan so he could send him some Nike stash and West Ham kit.
The story has two angles. Either Collins is a genuine guy and, as a father himself, was worried about the consequences of his awful attempt on goal, or some PR guru encouraged Collins to go out in the fans area and make up for any wrong doing.
I suspect it was a bit of both. No doubt worried about the child, it was also an opportune moment to show some compassion – something that ties in nicely to Wales’ #strongertogether campaign. Happenstance, perhaps, but Collins has helped to embody the sentiment of the campaign by appearing to be just a regular Joe (not Allen).
An unfortunate incident initially, but it’s actually worked out well – serving as an example of how to turn a negative into a positive and utilising the power of PR and social media to work to your advantage.
In this case it’s safe to say ‘Chwaraeon Cymraeg yn ennill eto’. Welsh sport wins again.