The estate of a man who left an extensive permanent tattoo to his eldest son is being disputed by his other children. The tattoo, which covered most of Mike Norden's back, was admired by all his family, but is now said to be the cause of some needle.
Mike's eldest son, Geoff, was delighted when he found out that he'd been bequeathed his father's ink. "Dad's tattoo of the entire 1966 world cup squad is legendary", enthused Geoff. "It took the artist over 50 hours to complete, and dad passed out four times. But it was worth it. He showed it to everyone in the pub whenever England were playing, and quite often when they weren't. People never tire of hearing about that team."
Geoff was at first unsure about the logistics of inheriting a tattoo. "I was a bit worried about how the tattoo would be transferred to me, but Dad had thought of everything. In his last few days, he'd had a dotted line added around the outer edge of the piece, so the surgeon would know where to cut. That's typical of my father: I always got his full backing."
Surgically attaching the skin to Geoff's own back wasn't straightforward. "My dad was at least a foot and a half taller than me, and a good deal wider. He reckoned it was because I was quite sickly as a child, but I think it's because he married a sex dwarf. We all looked up to him. Naturally, his majestic depiction of our boys needed a bit of folding and scrunching to get it to fit properly. And they had to cut Nobby Stiles off, and stitch him on a pull-out section."
Geoff is pretty pleased with the end result. "Most of the heads are in the right place, although Jackie Charlton's is under my right armpit. I have to shave it now, or he looks like a sort of concave Peter Crouch. The surgeon did a lovely job of fluting the flap with the legs on and sewing it into my cleft. My girlfriend loves it, she says every time I bend over, she witnesses their historic feet."
The dispute over the tattoo is still ongoing. Geoff has signed a non-disclosure agreement, meaning he has to wear a shirt all the time. He's confident of victory, but just in case he's keeping his old back in a jar of pickled onions. "I've become really attached to it, I'm doing two jobs at the moment just to cover the legal costs. It's been a really hard graft."