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First time watching England away 19:38 - Jun 8 with 1877 viewsflettonblue

Bit of a ramble below about my few days in Portugal, all that seems to have been in the media post England match seems negative, so here is my experience.

Its always been a lifelong ambition to see England play away (anywhere). Been to a few fans parks to watch games close to tournament stadiums (Germany World Cup/France Euros) and cracking atmospheres still but still not the real deal is it? I’m not a fans member, so getting away tickets is rightfully a struggle, so jumped at the chance to go to Porto and make a few days of it and see the match after getting some tickets off fans on twitter.

Have to say it didnt disappoint at all, so many positives aside of the bias media coverage during/after that im just catching up on - that was the national disgrace rather than the fans.

From what I saw, in Porto the England fans were a tourist attraction down by the riverside/Ryan’s Irish bar area. There were police there, but they stepped back and it mostly policed itself with a nudge from them where required, police happy to chat - fans on the beer in the sun with flags everywhere hoofing the occasional ball about - you get the scene. Lots of singing, was all good natured. Lots of tourists/locals about videoing it all. It dawned on me that our support, and the way we do it in England, is unique and something we should (in the vast majority) be proud of and celebrate more maybe.

In the evening I was in the big square where the flashpoint made the TV. No journos about from what I saw, they made the story up afterwards from fans footage etc - and of course never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Most of the game in that fans area was reasonably ok, nothing out the ordinary. Near the end a Portugal fans started running in-between the home fans and England with a flag goading them. Something then did kick off, I didnt see exactly what as I was watching the game from the side of the square. The fans I spoke to after said an England fan got glassed to kick it off. I was watching the game and turned away from the screen to see both fans lobbing bottles at each other. The robocop police then charged in and pushed the England fans (they were nt going to charge at there own were they) back up the square to create about 100m of space between the 2 sets of fans - that was it. Everyone continued watching the screen as Portugal scored 2 goals around this time. Job done, most people then went home. Saw some Portugese get arrested, no one reported that, all the media coverage was against us, not the reasons why it started (whatever they were) - no balance at all - but that doesnt sell does it?

On to the game, arriving in Guimares you could see it was not suitable for the match. Train station was an hour from Porto, most England fans (15-20k) and Dutch (4k) arriving by train from Porto that only had 2 platforms. More squares with flags, singing and fun, and again lots of locals filming and soaking up the atmosphere. Met some enthusiastic Americans who loved it and missed their train to soak up more "dont see anything like this in the States – not even the superbowl" and lots of Dutch and a few Swiss (not sure why) mixing about - was all fun and good natured taking photos together.

We went to the ground an hour before kick-off and even then there were ques. The tickets were all on an app, was a faff if you weren’t prepared etc + bag checks meant it wasn’t quick at all to get in. Didn’t see the subsequent crushes / police aggression experienced by some but ground was nowhere near full at the start. Needed to be more warnings by authorities to get fans to venues earlier if using this (new?) tech again (though it was easy to transfer tickets between phones so not all bad).

As for the game, having 90% of the ground for an ‘away’ game then the atmosphere was awesome. Really proud to hear all the songs and fans together. Was amazed 99.99% of the crowd fell silent for the 1 min silence for ex UEFA president Lenny Johansen (didn’t think he had a clean slate on the football authority disease - corruption). Bet the journos had to delete pre written paragraphs about England fans disrespecting him etc.

Having only been to 7 ITFC games last season (D1, L 6, – I live 1.5 hours from Ipswich) then going in front was a novelty, and undeserved, and looking like I maybe could see a victory this season after all. Was impressed with Maguire, Barkley and Kane (when he came on) – they played 'better in the flesh’ than what you see on TV (if you know what I mean). As for the ground, bit like ours in terms of size and feel I thought. Stewarding less far officious than at FPR – you could stand where you wanted – in the aisles was not a problem at all + when it rained most fans in uncovered areas retreated under covered areas. For refreshment, why not buy an espresso (made from one of those little machines you get for xmas but only use twice then bin off) or buy a tuna baguette or a pastry under the stand? Amusingly, you were not allowed to smoke cigars in the ground though, that’s what the signs said. Felt like home at times with the time taken to get served though, as they gave you a lid free drink (of course) it took an age to rip off all the labelling that added to the que length– presumably some UEFA reason for that, I’m glad they had planned well for the important parts of hosting a game at this venue.

Not a problem for us next year, but this was my first experience of VAR at a game. There were great ’scenes’ when we scored our second then the obligatory age to decide if it should be allowed. Killed all the atmosphere and rhythm, probably nothing new from other comments you have read before on VAR. Don’t see why they can’t show replays in the ground – the ref in the ground wasn’t making the decisions so what’s the issue with showing replays / keeping the fans updated during the match?

Didn’t think we deserved to win (you probably though the same), though Stones had an easy header when 1-1 that was the ‘what if’ moment. Post-match, getting 20+K dutch and England fans home from a small station was always going to be a challenge. We left quickly at the end, managed to get on a train before the masses arrived, so didn’t see the 3 hour ques in the rain or police baton action reported by fans at the station– also missed this being reported in the media. The train station building was smaller than the Ipswich one so always going to be a mass squeeze to get everyone through, so I could see why the coppers kept the fans out the building until each train arrived. Wonder if UEFA will learn from this, or assess how they chose an unsuitable venue to start with (barely any hotels/ poor train, airport links) – probably not. Would have been a hell of a lot easier to use the Boavista ground in Porto for this game, think that also held 30k, and could have avoided all the mess with the fans travelling – but when has logic or sense every appeared high up in UEFA decision making?

Really enjoyed seeing fans from everywhere, all the flags, the banter, the positives of the interactions with the locals watching + joining in. 2 Town flags about – Chantry Blues and the one that got stolen (again) doing us proud. Maybe I should nt have been, but was surprised by the diversity of the England fans that were not stereotypically 18-40 year old men on extended stag do geezers (quite a wide mix of age, race and those less able). Briefly sat next to an 80 year old Sunderland fan in the station, fans from loads of clubs – less so the prem, many families as well.

Lots to be positive about than just the narrow view on fans the media choose to report (hopefully that wasn’t a surprise to you anyway). Would jump at the chance to go again.
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First time watching England away on 20:08 - Jun 8 with 1755 viewssparks

For the record there were journos there, filming and describing things. TS Durham and Darren Gough of all people, were banging on for ages about the IRA songs, 10 german bombers etc etc and the way in which the atmosphere just got unpleasant.

The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it. (Sir Terry Pratchett)
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First time watching England away on 20:08 - Jun 8 with 1750 viewstrueblue1970

Sounds like you had a great time, I used to go to a lot of the England away games late 80s early 90s last tournament was Euros in Sweden

Media is very much the enemy of the supporters always looking for the negative
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First time watching England away on 20:11 - Jun 8 with 1738 viewsallezlesbleus

Tickets on an app? That's me fecked for matches in the future then!
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First time watching England away on 20:15 - Jun 8 with 1733 viewsnoggin

First time watching England away on 20:08 - Jun 8 by trueblue1970

Sounds like you had a great time, I used to go to a lot of the England away games late 80s early 90s last tournament was Euros in Sweden

Media is very much the enemy of the supporters always looking for the negative


"Media is very much the enemy of the supporters always looking for the negative"

And rarely disappointed.

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"Goughie and Durham"..... on 20:23 - Jun 8 with 1712 viewsBloots

First time watching England away on 20:08 - Jun 8 by sparks

For the record there were journos there, filming and describing things. TS Durham and Darren Gough of all people, were banging on for ages about the IRA songs, 10 german bombers etc etc and the way in which the atmosphere just got unpleasant.


…..a pair of potential Pulitzer prize winning journalists in the making.

Good lord.
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First time watching England away on 20:27 - Jun 8 with 1700 viewssparks

First time watching England away on 20:15 - Jun 8 by noggin

"Media is very much the enemy of the supporters always looking for the negative"

And rarely disappointed.


Quite.

Perhaps they arent looking for the negative, but find it and just feel sick in their stomachs about it like many of us do?

The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it. (Sir Terry Pratchett)
Poll: Is Fred drunk this morning?

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First time watching England away on 21:00 - Jun 8 with 1623 viewstrueblue1970

First time watching England away on 20:15 - Jun 8 by noggin

"Media is very much the enemy of the supporters always looking for the negative"

And rarely disappointed.


England take a lot to away games unfortunately there will always be a few that can’t handle their beer it’s not the majority
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First time watching England away on 22:44 - Jun 8 with 1449 viewsJohnny_Boy

Sorry. I just don't accept the 'media making events up' nonsense.

Seen many many videos of pi$$ed-up England fans doing the German Bomber song, No Surrender & seeing glass bottle after glass bottle being hurled.

Whilst I accept it was predominantly the minority, it still happened.

Not. F#ing. Acceptable.
[Post edited 8 Jun 22:47]
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First time watching England away on 23:12 - Jun 8 with 1381 viewsdeliasplums

First time watching England away on 20:08 - Jun 8 by trueblue1970

Sounds like you had a great time, I used to go to a lot of the England away games late 80s early 90s last tournament was Euros in Sweden

Media is very much the enemy of the supporters always looking for the negative


People going to a football match and behaving themselves isn’t news - it should be the norm. Sadly, a few knuckle draggers continually provide them with something to report on.
[Post edited 8 Jun 23:12]

It's 106 miles to Portman Road, we've got a full tank of gas, half a round of Port Salut, it's dark... and we're wearing blue tinted sunglasses.
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First time watching England away on 08:29 - Jun 9 with 1120 viewsnoggin

First time watching England away on 21:00 - Jun 8 by trueblue1970

England take a lot to away games unfortunately there will always be a few that can’t handle their beer it’s not the majority


Ireland and Scotland take a lot to away games too, and they drink as much, if not more. Sorry but it's something to do with the English mentality.

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First time watching England away on 08:40 - Jun 9 with 1088 viewsTractorWood

I did all of Euro 2016 and most of the qualifiers. As you say it's generally a good experience but it tends to get irrecoverably soured by idiots. In my experience it's more than the minority, it's a noticeable percentage of the core following. Tournaments are good because England are followed well and loads more fans come out for it who dilute the number of idiots down to the minority.

It's very different to following Ipswich. There's a undeniably more intimidating vibe and fans are less seemingly keen to be respectful. Although you don't get told to sit down!

I know that was then, but it could be again..
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First time watching England away on 08:46 - Jun 9 with 1068 viewslinhdi

First time watching England away on 08:29 - Jun 9 by noggin

Ireland and Scotland take a lot to away games too, and they drink as much, if not more. Sorry but it's something to do with the English mentality.


For example. Sweden take tens of thousands to tournaments, often more than England. I've had beers with them in "their" bars many times despite me wearing England colours. They drink, sometimes a bit much. They sing, often a bit loud. But they don't cause any trouble, don't get in the way of locals carrying on their normal lives, don't chuck bottles, don't end up in fights with the OB.

England fans have been ok at several tournaments. Russia was one. The 2012 Euros in Ukraine / Poland another - where zero England fans were arrested. But the last few years have seen the rise of the stag party element (100 arrests in Amsterdam) and the return of an idiotic minority.

The last time we played Germany away, there were Nazi salutes and WW2 songs from too many England fans. Yet the previous couple of times had been good natured and fun, and the 2006 World Cup passed pretty peacefully too.

I really don't know why it has come back, but it 's why I've given up after a dozen years of England away trips.
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First time watching England away on 09:38 - Jun 9 with 957 viewsstrikalite

Good read that was mate, never been to an England game but it does look and sound like an experience :), I was watching, couldn't believe the minute silence also, staggered how well that went, too many of these silences now imo, where do you draw the line with them?
Not a great performance, the Dutch looked far more comfortable on the ball, we still have issues there, but to be fair the game did have a feeling of "what are we all doing here" about it, after a long hard season and then asking to "go again" after a break you could understand why we weren't exactly flowing, Kane understandably still off the pace and Ali on the bench the changes halted our usual flow it seemed....

Incredible support inside the ground, just like a home venue, must go to an England game sometime, never really appealed to me over the years, but I can imagine including a game into a break somewhere would be decent..

Oh and we'll talk about playing out from the back some other time :)
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First time watching England away on 12:41 - Jun 13 with 591 viewsGogs

I was there too. Was also my first experience of seeing England away. Likely to be the last as well. Ticketing was a bit of a farce, forcing spectators to activate Bluetooth on a specific app was a faff at best. Bring back paper tickets. The town of Guimarães was a nice place but not big enough for that game. The situation with the trains back to Porto could easily have gotten a whole lot worse and dangerous. I was fortunate enough to get on the first one back, as me and my brother made a sharp exit when the 3rd Dutch goal went in.

I respectfully disagree with your views on the behaviour of English fans though. There were several large groups of them singing ‘fùck the pope and the ira’, ‘10 German bombers’, ‘Tommy Tommy Robinson’ etc. One group of them (villa fans) had a lad of about 10 with them and had him joining in. England shirts with ‘BREXIT 19’ on the back. Lots more being aggressive after swilling far too much superbock and generally acting like dïckheads. They made a total mess of what looks like a very nice Town. Bottles, boxes and other rubbish strewn everywhere. I was in Porto for a few days after, didn’t venture to the fanzone, so can’t comment as to what went on there. But there were plenty of groups of lads wandering around, some still being mouthy to locals. Embarrassing stuff. We did meet some other England fans, including some Ipswich fans, who were doing what we were, ie going for the match and enjoying the local sights and sounds (Porto is beautiful by the way, and the port tasting is highly recommended), but if England fans have a reputation for being louts / hooligans / idiots abroad then I’m sorry but it’s a well deserved reputation.
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First time watching England away on 13:36 - Jun 13 with 510 viewshammo56

First time watching England away on 08:46 - Jun 9 by linhdi

For example. Sweden take tens of thousands to tournaments, often more than England. I've had beers with them in "their" bars many times despite me wearing England colours. They drink, sometimes a bit much. They sing, often a bit loud. But they don't cause any trouble, don't get in the way of locals carrying on their normal lives, don't chuck bottles, don't end up in fights with the OB.

England fans have been ok at several tournaments. Russia was one. The 2012 Euros in Ukraine / Poland another - where zero England fans were arrested. But the last few years have seen the rise of the stag party element (100 arrests in Amsterdam) and the return of an idiotic minority.

The last time we played Germany away, there were Nazi salutes and WW2 songs from too many England fans. Yet the previous couple of times had been good natured and fun, and the 2006 World Cup passed pretty peacefully too.

I really don't know why it has come back, but it 's why I've given up after a dozen years of England away trips.


Followed England away on a regular basis as a travel club member for the past 16 years and am now considering giving it up after Euro 2020.
As you say things appear to be going back to the old days. Just returned from Porto and although I enjoyed the trip, again like in Amsterdam and Dortmund there appeared to be some who were just intent on causing trouble.
Tbh much prefer it when England play in a more difficult destination to get too as most of the idiots don't bother with those. Both the FA and FSF have acknowledged that there is a new layer of fans that seem to think that anti-social behaviour whilst following England away is acceptable. How they go about preventing this though is another matter.
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First time watching England away on 14:22 - Jun 13 with 447 viewsjontysnut

First time watching England away on 13:36 - Jun 13 by hammo56

Followed England away on a regular basis as a travel club member for the past 16 years and am now considering giving it up after Euro 2020.
As you say things appear to be going back to the old days. Just returned from Porto and although I enjoyed the trip, again like in Amsterdam and Dortmund there appeared to be some who were just intent on causing trouble.
Tbh much prefer it when England play in a more difficult destination to get too as most of the idiots don't bother with those. Both the FA and FSF have acknowledged that there is a new layer of fans that seem to think that anti-social behaviour whilst following England away is acceptable. How they go about preventing this though is another matter.


a lot of sides suffer from moronic day-trippers. I've been to non league games in Leeds where nuggets turn up because a Manchester side is playing and start singing LUFC/MUFC songs and afterwards they're never seen again. There are some pubs here where I'd think twice about watching England games.
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First time watching England away on 18:42 - Jun 13 with 348 viewstpsontour

Glad you enjoyed yourself in Portugal but it's a classic case of 'shooting the messenger' when you claim the media was the national disgrace rather than an embarrassing element among England supporters.

As well as being an ITFC and England fan, I freelance for the national papers on news. I've watched England all over the world, sometimes working for the papers but more often as an off duty paying fan, as I was in Portugal.

Broadly speaking, the official England Travel Club members, regulars who are all police vetted when they apply for tickets, tend to be an older crowd and a decent, friendly bunch. I've seen the same faces in far flung places like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, South Africa, Brazil and they are rarely any trouble to anyone.

The problem typically arises at tournaments closer to home in France/Germany/Italy/Spain/Portugal when thousands of extra, mainly younger fans descend because it is cheap and easy enough to get tickets off Fifa/Uefa/locals/touts. Then you all too often get the drunken mob anti-social behaviour that can scare locals and prompt police to intervene.

I was in Porto and Guimaraes. I didn't see any anti-social behaviour from the Portuguese, Dutch or Swiss fans. I did variously see English fans doing their IRA and German bombers songs, crashed out drunk, throwing up and scuffling with each other. Social media footage of England fans throwing bottles, goading riot police and then wetting their pants and fleeing when charged also speaks for itself.

Most of the 20,000 England fans in Portugal weren't anti-social but a sizeable minority were and will have ruined it for many of the rest of us when Fifa/UEFA/the FA decide to limit tournament tickets to the Travel Club.

Credit to the England fans stuck, as I was, waiting for a train outside Guimaraes station after the Holland game for their patience. I wonder whether the authorities deliberately left us standing there for hours in the rain rather than risk everyone arriving back in time for a big Saturday night out in Porto and the possibility of a repeat of the trouble of the night before, which was the lead story on Portuguese news channels. If they did, it's everyone that ends up being tarred with the same brush because of the behaviour of some.
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