COME on England! Football fever is sweeping Sheffield as England prepare to take on Italy in Euro 2012.
A wave of patriotism is spreading across the Steel City ahead of the national side’s crucial quarter-final clash tomorrow.
Three lions and St George’s crosses are springing up across Sheffield ahead of the game, which could edge Roy Hodgson’s boys closer to their first major international honour for 46 years.
Louise Boggis, of Barkby Road, Wincobank said: “My husband and a couple of friends off the street spent a full weekend putting England flags and bunting up on every house.
“There have been numerous things said on local radio that Sheffield are not behind the England team enough but if you came along to our street you would see that we are all behind them and a lot of time and hard work has gone into doing our street.”
The city centre’s sports stores have also enjoyed a rise in sales of kits and merchandise since the tournament began.
Brook Obson, manager of JD Sports in Pinstone Street, said: “The shirts are almost selling out, people have been snapping them up. Flags are really popular too.”
Jonathan Cawley, customer services manager of Decathlon in Eyre Street, said: “We’re selling more kits and replica balls as they progress, so fingers crossed they can go all the way!”
Pubs and bars are expecting huge crowds for the 7.45pm kick-off.
Chris Robertson, manager of the Walkabout pub on Carver Street in the city centre, said his upstairs reserved area was already sold out for tomorrow night.
“Downstairs it will be first come first served, and it’ll be standing room only,” he said.
“We’re advising fans to get here at least an hour before the game if they want to get in, as we are restricting capacity to 700.
“We’ll have a trumpet and drums band getting people in the mood with tunes like The Great Escape and if it’s anything like the three group games the atmosphere will be electric. We’ve been full for them all.”
While the majority of the city will be cheering for the boys in white, expats from the rival team’s home turf will be remaining loyal to their roots.
Italian Saverio Bruno, owner of Gusto restaurant in Norfolk Row, Sheffield said: “I am a big football fan, especially when it is the international team.
“When I found out we’d be playing England I was quite excited. I support Italy but of course I will be happy for England if they go through.
“I am not going to say Italy will win because I think we have a 50/50 chance. At Gusto we have one English member of staff, four Italian and four Polish so we have all been talking about the football.
“I don’t think it will affect business if Italy win - there is a good relationship between our countries. I don’t have any Italian flags in the restaurant, that probably would affect business!”