I landed at Belfast George Best airport on an icy Christmas eve afternoon, having just flown in from Stanstead. It was then that I noticed that the grounded Ryanair plane opposite the one I had just got off had laminated on its side an orange, white and green flag – ie that of the West African former French colony Ivory Coast – or to give it its proper French name Cote d’Ivoire
Unfortunately I don’t have a picture. I didn’t have a camera handy, but even if I had the chances are I would have been arrested on suspected terrorism/espionage charges as a potential spy for Easyjet. However the flag in question is illustrated below. As Ryanair just do short haul flights within Europe only, the Ivory Coast is somewhat outside its jurisdiction.
The only famous Ivoirien who springs to mind is the foul-mouthed, referee-abusing Chelsea centre forward Didier Drogba. A man who’s not short of a shilling or two. Is it possible that he’s done some kind of a deal with Ryanair – or does he have shares in the company?
Over-optimistic Irish soccer supporters who had already booked their tickets to South Africa for the World Cup needn’t worry. All they have to do is turn their flags around and support Ivory Coast. And Thierry Henry doesn’t play for them.