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Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Monday, 16 March 2009

"You're not singing any more"

Inflatable fans at Meadow Lane
The Family Stand at Meadow Lane is packed with inflatable fans

National League One rugby side Nottingham had a larger crowd in than usual for their match against Exeter Chiefs on Sunday.

But it's a safe bet they were not put off by a louder roar from the Meadow Lane stands - as the extra faces were inflatable "supporters".

About 1,000 inflatable fans were put in the stadium by Airheads, a Nottingham-based company who specialise in enhancing crowd scenes for films, TV, commercials and promotional work.

The firm spent hours blowing up and dressing up the supporters, who sat in the Family Stand, attempting to make them look indistinguishable from the normal fans.


Airheads' director Lee Harris believes the gimmick can help Nottingham Rugby continue to build their fan base.

"As a local firm we are really keen to support Nottingham Rugby in their quest to raise the profile of the club," said Harris.

"We want it to encourage people to get behind and support their local team."

The inflatables added to a crowd of 1,305 at Notts County's stadium, who watched Nottingham go down 15-14 to the Chiefs.

On Sunday, they play their biggest match of the season, the National Trophy semi-final against Leeds at Meadow Lane on Sunday.

They recently revealed the cup run should ensure they do not go out of business, having announced in November they needed an injection of £150,000 to help funding problems linked to the credit crunch.

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