The whole nation is still on Cloud Nine after England’s fully deserved 2-0 victory over old foes Germany and, such was the importance of the Euros ‘last-sixteen’ tie at Wembley, Reds had to change their training night.
Tuesday’s session was put back twenty four hours to enable the squad to watch the national team’s night of glory.
But a handful of Workington supporters, who watch the ‘Three Lions’ regularly home and abroad, were actually at Wembley to savour the historic win in what signalled the end of Joachim Löw’s illustrious career with Germany.
Callum Sutton, Liam Irving, Dan McMinn, Kieran Irving and Callum Holliday, who travel to watch Reds home and away, were part of the euphoric crowd behind England’s best, and most satisfying win, of the competition so far.
Those privileged 40,000 England fans allowed into the stadium, witnessed something many of us have craved for since 1966 – a tournament win against the Germans!
Our solid foundation, which saw us top Group D, even led to many pre-match predictions of a long overdue win against the old enemy, who blew hot and cold in their three Group F games in Munich.
Yes, there were chunks of luck that helped us on our way, but, surely, we were owed that in lieu of Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Reds fan and fundraiser, Liam Irving, described his best experience whilst following the ‘Three Lions’.
“It was brilliant and the atmosphere generated by the 42,000 fans was far better than had there been a full house at the ground,” he said. “Defeating the Germans at a home tournament is one of those, I was there moments,” he added.
The quintet, who’ll be watching Reds in pre-season action this weekend, have already made plans for return visits to Wembley should Gareth Southgate’s squad progress beyond the quarter final stage.
Reds caretaker boss, Steven Rudd, described the match as his favourite of the tournament so far and praised Southgate for steadfastly sticking to his plan and beliefs despite doubts and pressure from outside sources.
With over 600 players involved in the tournament, which kicked-off on the 11th June, two have actually graced Borough Park. Scotland squad members Lyndon Dykes and Jon McLaughlin both played at Workington earlier in their respective careers.
Dykes, then a team mate of Reds’ ‘keeper, Jim Atkinson, played against us five years ago for Queen of the South, creating one goal and hitting the woodwork with another attempt.
Back-up ‘keeper, McLaughlin, played at Borough Park for Harrogate Town during Workington’s Blue Square North days, and he too enjoyed his appearance in Cumbria, keeping a clean sheet in a Town victory.
Another Scot who featured for Steve Clarke’s side was Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong. He hasn’t played at Borough Park but bears a ‘striking’ resemblance to the one and only Scott Allison – same initials, similar pedigree!
It should be pointed out, however, that the Scotland ‘boy wonder’, Billy Gilmour, is not the midfield maestro of the same name that excelled for Reds during the eighties!
Sam Smith didn’t manage to see England play in the Euros, or Scotland for that matter, but did experience the competition as a spectator. He travelled to Hampden Park and witnessed Ukraine’s last gasp victory over Sweden. We have also helped in the development of some of the English referees at the tournament. Anthony Taylor, Michael Oliver and Gary Beswick (all entitled to wear the UEFA Official badge on their shirt) and Chris Kavanagh (VAR department) have all refereed numerous Workington games in the past.