NI men backing England as they return to London for Euro 2020 final

Lurgan football fans Davy Guiseley, Glenn Stewart and Kenny McCleary don’t all support England, but they haven’t let that get in the way of joining in the Euro party.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 4:11 pm
Davy Guiseley, Glenn Stewart and Kenny McCleary outside Wembley ahead of the England vs Germany last 16 game at Euro 2020

The trio – all members of the Victoria Glenavon Supporters Club – went over to the England vs Germany game on June 29 and were so bowled over by the atmosphere that they’re going back to London for more on Sunday.

Davy is the sole England fan among them though Glenn and Kenny will be supporting Gareth Southgate’s men on the day, just as they did for the Germany win.

Davy, who was born in England and moved to NI at a young age, has split allegiances: “It’s Northern Ireland first, England second. We were at the last Euros supporting Northern Ireland, this time it’s England.”

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Davy, Glenn and Kenny at New Scotland Yard in their Glenavon regalia

It was Glenn’s brother John who was able to land tickets for the last 16 match which was originally due to be played at the Aviva stadium in Dublin. His name stayed in the draw and he got four tickets for the game at Wembley, which turned out to be between England and Germany, though John couldn’t make it himself.

Glenn said: “If the Germany game is anything to go by the atmosphere will be something else. It reminded me of the Euros in 2016. We were there with Northern Ireland. The fans were brilliant then. The England fans the other night at the Germany game reminded you of that same type of thing.”

Although, as Glenn pointed out, it remains to be seen what will happen if England lose: “When Northern Ireland get beat they come out of the ground singing. If England get beat in the final will they do the same?”

The trio arrive in London on Saturday and their first hurdle is to make it to the place where they’re staying.

The NI Classic Shirt Co in Belfast has experienced an increased interest in retro Italy shirts ahead of the final

Last time round they ended up getting a taxi to the wrong hotel and on the night of the match Davy, who’d been given the role of transport and logistics manager, bought train tickets not to Wembley, but to Wimbledon.

Kenny said: “We’re giving him another chance. Hopefully we’ll end up watching the right sport.”

The Lurgan men plan to go to one of the fanzones in London to watch the game on the big screen.

Glenn said he might take the opportunity to politely ask England fans to stop stealing the Green and White Army’s songs after they have recently taken to singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ and a version of ‘Will Grigg’s On Fire’ – a song made famous by Northern Ireland fans at the last Euros in France.

Meanwhile back in Belfast, the NI Classic Shirt Co in Smithfield Market has been experiencing heightened interest in retro England and Italy shirts ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.

Ryan Gilmore, who runs the retro football memorabilia shop with his business partner Pete McDonald, said he’d ordered in a lot of England and Italy items in time for the final.

On Thursday Ryan said: “I’ve sold eight Italy tops today alone. More will be arriving tomorrow (Friday).”

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