A grovelling groom surprised his guests when he stripped off his morning suit during his wedding speech to reveal he was wearing his footy-mad father-in-law’s team shirt.
When southerner Mark Silvester asked stout northerner David Fleming for his daughter’s hand in marriage, the Huddersfield Town fan of 51 years told him he could have it – on the condition he attended three football games with him.
But the 31-year-old designer and football-phobe did not get chance to make any of the matches ahead of his marriage to Christine Fleming, also 31, and hoped his stunt – showing he had said his vows in a Terriers shirt – would make it up to him.
Doting dad and Town fan David, who is a retired trades union official, grew up in Liversedge, near Huddersfield, West Yorks., but moved down south in 1972 after meeting his wife, Janet, 59, now a social worker, while he was studying in London.
His children, speech and language therapist Christine, and her brother, Tom, 29, were both born and bred in Brighton, East Sussex, but were always dragged into their dad’s love of his home team and even went to games with him when they were growing up.
Giving his speech, Mark, who affectionately calls Christine Quincy Quibbles, said to his captive audience: “Now I don’t like going back on an agreement, and in my mind, promises to go to future games could be described as ‘too little… too late’.
“So I turned to a role model in my life… a man who also faced many sticky situations with in laws but always came out shining (or so he says) ….. my father…. And we pondered, what could be done to make amends for my failure…. How could Huddersfield town become as close to my heart as his daughter.
“And then over a few pints of Guinness, standing on the pavement outside The Nellie Dean, it came to us.
“Qui, unknowingly, would marry a Gentleman dressed in Huddersfield Town’s glorious strip, elevating me to the heights of such legendary figures as Frank Worthington and Dennis Law.”
Mark’s performance stunned his father-in-law and the rest of the wedding crowd – who gave him a standing ovation for his efforts.
David said: “I was so thrilled when Mark took his jacket and shirt off to reveal the Town shirt underneath.
“It took real guts to do that in front of everybody.”
David entered into the spirit and bowed down before his son-in-law at the wedding on Friday May 27.
“It made me a very proud father-in-law. That was one hell of a stunt,” he said.
David now gets to a handful of Town games, visiting a friend when he travels the 250 back for home games.
He was delighted when his two children studied at Leeds University, West Yorks., and used visiting them as an excuse to get a game in.
But Mark, who now lives in London with Christine, does not share his father-in-law’s love of the beautiful game – David even has the manager’s toilet chain from the old Leeds Road ground – and made excuses to get out of going.
David said: “When I came to the wedding I decided I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it.
“But I made a couple of comments in my speech and said the wedding was under warranty until Mark came to these three games.
“Unbeknown to me Mark had a Town shirt under his shirt and ripped it off during his speech. It was a hot day and he must have been sweating under there.
“There was shocked silence until people realised what he was doing. Then he just brought the house down.”
David has now written to Town commercial director Sean Jarvis to asking him to officially welcome Mark into the Terriers family.