Bristol fans react to England's Euro 2012 exit against Italy
BOTH sides of the city sang as one to cheer on the national side in the quarter finals of Euro 2012.
But with no goals in the 90 minutes, and extra time proving just as fruitless, Bristol was perched on the edge of its proverbial seat, as once again the fate of England was to be decided by penalties.
Ultimately it proved to be Italy’s night, with England knocked-out of the championship in the cruellest way.
Plumber Terry Butler, 37, of Bedminster, spoke for the entire city as he held his head in his hands, and said: “It’s a disaster. We were so unlucky, it could have gone either way, but it went their way.”
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He added: “I’m sickened by the result, but we’re all England fans. We’ve all been through this before. We’ll get over it.”
With patriotic bunting hanging from the ceiling, drinkers donning their England kit shirts and waving St George’s Cross flags, the scene was set for a great footballing celebration at The Brunel pub in Bedminster.
The bar at the St John’s Lane local was crowded long before the match started last night, as regulars crowded to find a vantage point close to one of the pub’s numerous television screens.
Local couple Sharon and Steve Fry had their place next to one of the biggest screens well and truly established – the pair, who both work in banks, have watched every England match of the tournament from the same spot.
“We’re both massive football fans,” said Sharon, 43. “We have both been Bristol City season ticket holders for 25 years, but there is always something special about these big England occasions.”
Sharon always dresses up for the occasion, with an England-badged Stetson, spangly Union Flag top, finished off with an England flag fashioned into a shawl.
“I just love getting into the party spirit,” she said. “The boys have done so well do far, they deserve all the luck they can get. “
Another local, Peter Lewis, 45, who lives a few hundred yards from the pub, said the important thing is to enjoy the occasion.
“Matches like this don’t come around too often, so the important thing, whatever the outcome, is to enjoy the game.”
Peter, who runs a local removals company, Ocean Removals, had brought along his entire family for the occasion – wife Jeanette, son Lee, daughter-in-law Sophie and family friend Samantha Davison.
“It’s a big family outing,” Peter said. “We’re determined to have a good time whatever the result.”
Son Lee said: “I came here tonight hopeful, but not overly confident, that we can go all the way.
“Getting past Italy was always a possibility, but Germany and Spain would then probably be facing us anyway. Then you’re getting into miracle territory.”
Earlier in the weekend, footballing icon Sir Bobby Charlton said he believed if England beat Italy they would go on to win the championship.
Cheering along with the 6,000 England fans who had made it to Kiev, the Bedminster regulars took comfort from Sir Bobby’s words.
“If anyone can judge a quality England side, it’s Sir Bobby Charlton,” said Andy Everingham, 42.
“After all, he played in the greatest England side of all time; the 1966 World Cup-winning side.
“I have to admit, I expected England to be a flop this tournament,” the Bedminster plasterer added.
“But I have been impressed by their fight throughout the first round. Nobody can take those early matches away from them now.”
Maggie Murray, 56, of Coronation Road, said by the time the 90-minute whistle blew she had “started to lose interest”.
“It may have been dramatic for a few moments, but it was a bit boring all the way through,” she said.
“I took to ordering cheese and onion crisps to alleviate the tedium.”
Her friend, Tracey Smith, 48, also of Coronation Road, found the match more nerve-wracking than boring.
“Since the smoking ban, I find coming to a pub to watch England play quite a painful experience,” she said.
“I end up chewing my nails right down to my fingers.”
Tony Fitzpatrick, 72, who doesn’t count himself as a regular at the pub, came out to make it more of a special occasion.
“Normally I’d be watching it at home,” the retired Bedminster bricklayer said. “But my wife wasn’t too happy about missing A Touch of Frost, so I agreed to go to the pub.
“It’s nice to get a bit of the atmosphere of being in a crowd anyway.”