Schools out as pupils enjoy Euro win
Three cheers from St George's!
Students at a Blackpool high school were among those who joined the celebrations as the Euro 2016 clash between England and Wales captivated the Fylde coast.
And they were leaping for joy at the home of Fleetwood Town with former star striker Jamie Vardy inspiring the three-lions’ fightback in Lens.
Vardy, who four yearsago won the Conference title with Town, had barely touched the ball when he bagged a vital equaliser, cancelling out Gareth Bale’s first half free kick which squirmed past the outstretched arms of Joe Hart.
And his finish sparked wild celebrations in the Crossbar and Grill at Fleetwood’s Poolfoot Farm training complex, where supporters had gathered to enjoy a bite and a beer alongside the match action.
With England fans very much in the majority the Stade Bollaert-Delelis was a sea of St George’s cross flags.
And at St George’s High School in Cherry Tree Road students were given the chance to watch the match on the big screen.
The occasion proved a big hit with pupils, teachers in the end holding a ballot to decide who would grab a seat in the lecture hall.
The youngsters were also allowed to wear their football shirts and drape themselves in the England flag for the occasion.
And for the lucky few the agonising wait proved worth it when Daniel Sturridge surged into the box to bag an injury time winner and send England top of their group.
Senior Deputy Headteacher Chris Ibbotson said: “It was a great afternoon.
“So many pupils wanted the chance to watch the game.
“In the end we had to draw lots.
“But it was a brilliant experience for them.”
England didn’t make life easy for the faithful, gathered in schools, offices, bars and homes across the Fylde coast.
It looked for a long time like they might not find a way past Chris Coleman’s resilient Dragons.
Mrs Ibbotson said: “It was so exciting and really tense.
“It went right down to the last seconds but the children all celebrated when the winner went in.
“People might talk about time away from the classroom.
“But I’m sure what the pupils experienced in school was the same as what was happening in work places everywhere.
“It’s great to let them be a part of a big event like this.
“Will we do it again if there’s a quarter final or a semi final? I’m not sure yet.”
The victory leaves both England and Wales in a strong position to qualify for the last 16 of the tournament.
And Vardy, who only came on as a half time substitute, is aiming to push on and win the group.
The former Fleetwood man, who once scored 36 goals in 31 appearance for the Highbury club, said “Everyone wants to be a part of it, but it’s a team game, there’s 23 of us and we are all in it together,” said the Leicester striker.
“To come off the bench, you want to make an impact and I think I have.
“We thought we were playing well, so the message at half-time was carry on doing what you are doing and hopefully the goals will come, and they have.
“Wherever we play our fans are nice and loud and sometimes they can be the 12th man.
“Hopefully we can get another win now and top the group.”
England round off their group fixtures with a game against Slovakia in St Etienne on Monday.