ENGLAND Band leader John Hemmingham has told The Star of his frustration after driving 2,800 miles to play at Euro 2012 only to be told... Niet.
The 10-strong band, made up primarily of Sheffield Wednesday supporters from the Kop Band – were refused permission to play their instruments at England’s opening game against France in Donetsk,
The band had been given assurances they would be allowed to take their instruments into the Donbass Arena weeks before the tournament was due to start.
Band leader and trumpeter John Hemmingham from Stannington, said: “We drove all that way to get to the stadium in a van so we could take our instruments and believe me it’s a long way to go not to play.
“When we arrived we were shocked to be told by the chief steward we would not be allowed in with the instruments.
“But after the guy from the FA and the UEFA representative got involved, the stewards had a change of heart and allowed us to take our trumpets and drums in with us.
“Then about half an hour before kickoff we were approached by more stewards who told us we would have to leave the stadium and would only be allowed in without instruments.
“We got outside and left the instruments but because our tickets had been used to get in the first time they didn’t work and we couldn’t get in. It was a farce.
“Thankfully we were able to locate the man from the FA who sorted it and we got back in the ground just in time for the kick off. But without our instruments of course.”
John said the band, which has not missed an England international since 1996, fully intends to play at England’s next game against Sweden in Kiev.
“We hope to play at the game but if not we’ll be typically English and keep a stiff upper lip.
“Whether we play or not, we’re staying out here until England win the tournament.
“And at least the weather here is boiling.”