Oakham football fans at Wembley slam England thugs at 2020 European Championship final
Oakham football fans Tim Ives and Justin Perry have slammed the behaviour of a 'large minority' of England supporters after a dream trip to a major final turned sour.
The two friends bagged a dream Wembley ticket to watch England in both the semi-finals and final of the European Championships.
They had a surreal build-up to the final as they appeared on national TV in Denmark on Saturday talking about the game.
Yet their lasting impression of a memorable four days was marred by the scenes at the final on Sunday.
A total of 49 arrests were made and 19 police officers were injured as ticketless England fans forced their way into the stadium before further trouble flared inside.
"It was a minority of thugs, but it is a large minority, it isn't a few people," said Tim.
"On what used to be Wembley Way they were throwing full bottles of beer in the air while there were little kids around.
"Inside the ground we encountered people who had forced their way in without tickets and then saw a man getting kicked and punched in the head while on the ground. It was terrible."
Sunday has left them to consider stopping going to future England matches, having followed the national team home and abroad for many years.
"If you go to a big England game you will encounter some of these people, it's almost inevitable," Justin added.
"It isn't joyous like you see with other countries' fans who are having fun.
"With England fans there is this tension and the feeling that things will kick off at any moment.
"We had intended to stay behind win or lose and applaud the team, but we just wanted to get out of there because we knew which way it was going to go."
Tim added: "We spent the whole journey back home talking a little bit about the game and a lot about the idiots.
"We were extremely lucky to be there as only about 150,000 people historically have seen England play in a major final.
"The semi-final was an amazing experience and so was the final, but it was tainted by our social experience."
It was at odds with the eventful days leading up to the game.
They had been among fans interviewed for Danish TV news moments after the 2-1 semi-final win over Denmark.
The national channel liked their vox pop so much they tracked them down and headed to Oakham for a follow-up interview.
Tim and Justin laid on some typical Rutland hospitality, offering the crew Grainstore Brewery beers and treats from Hambleton Bakery, in Exton, who made them some special buns decorated with the flag of St George.
"We were a bit of a double act so I think we made good TV," Justin explained.
"Tim has done quite a lot of camera stuff so was pretty composed and I was like an eight-year-old on Christmas Day - verging between bouncing off the ceiling to bursting into tears."
Tim added: "We did three hours of shooting for three minutes of film.
"So we were on national TV in Denmark for three hours, but no-one knows us here!"