Sealand: Ralf Little travels to independent nation for first football match

THERE was a sense of national pride after an independent nation’s first international football fixture.

A team of ex-pros, fans and celebrities, including The Royle Family actor Ralf Little, joined forces to create the football team of the Principality of Sealand, which lies six miles off the coast of Felixstowe.

It has been independent since 1967 when Major Paddy Roy Bates founded its nation on a former Second World War sea fort.

While the Sealand FA was founded in 2004 by Neil Forsyth, it only played its maiden international match on Saturday against the Chagos Islands.

Prince Michael Bates, whose family has ruled the fort since its inception, said: “It was absolutely brilliant, but would have been better had we won.

“Neil came to me two and a half years ago asking if he could created a Sealand national side and he’s been working hard to put together the team of celebrities, former players and fans.

“Watching the match instilled a great sense of national pride.”

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The players listened to a speech by Prince Michael and listened to Sealand’s national anthem before kick off.

The fixture was played at Godalming Town FC in Surrey in front of a lively crowd, but they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat.