LONDON (Reuters) – The small north Wales town of Bala has temporarily renamed itself Bale for the duration of the Euro 2016 in honor of the country’s most famous footballer.
Many people in Wales will be glued to TV screens later on Thursday when Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale and his team mates try to score a famous victory over England in Lens in Group B.
Bale was the key man in Wales’ first qualification to a major tournament since 1958, scoring seven goals, and was on target in the 2-1 victory over Slovakia on Saturday.
“It’s a great way to honor Gareth Bale and get behind the Welsh squad for Euro ’16,” local councilor Dilwyn Morgan said.
“Gareth Bale is an international sporting star and this move should put Bala, sorry, Bale, on the international map.”
All the road signs into the town of around 2,000 residents have been changed to Bale, at least until Wales are knocked out.
“I’m 100 percent behind the move,” Morgan said.
The town’s Mayor Edith Roberts said the Welsh squad would all be welcome to visit once the tournament is over.
“I’d like to invite Gareth Bale and the Welsh squad to Bala, or Bale, to meet their north Walian fans and supporters and see what the town and area have to offer,” she said.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman. Editing by Adrian Warner)