Jack Charlton raises roof but England and Ireland fail to follow suit

Jack Charlton  is brought out to greet the fans before the game to a rousing reception at The Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Jack Charlton is brought out to greet the fans before the game to a rousing reception at The Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
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There was no repeat of the despicable scenes of 20 years ago as England made a seemingly incident-free return to the Republic of Ireland.

Yesterday’s Aviva Stadium encounter saw the Three Lions play in Dublin for the first since 1995, when their so-called friendly was abandoned just 27 minutes in after chairs, timber and iron bars were thrown on to the Lansdowne Road pitch.

It later emerged that far right group Combat 18 was involved, but those scenes led to understandable concerns over problems arising as the Three Lions returned to Emerald Isle.

Fortunately, though, this encounter passed without incident as the teams played out a tepid 0-0 draw, during which England fans refrained from the inflammatory anti-IRA chanting heard all too regularly at recent games.

Some travelling supporters could be heard humming an anti-IRA tune early in the second half, but the precautionary measures taken by the authorities appeared to have the desired effect.

Supporters did take turns booing the odd nationalist chants by one another, but mutual respect seemed the overriding emotion between those from both sides of the Irish Sea . As kick-off approached, fan representatives from both nations exchanged shirts and pennants, before Jack Charlton was introduced to the crowd.

The former Republic manager and World Cup winner with England was clearly moved by the standing ovation from all inside the Aviva Stadium - a feel-good feeling which continued through the national anthems.

There were no real flare-ups, with the English anthem well received on the whole as the few whistling and booing were drowned out by the sound system.

The visitors reciprocated that reception during the Republic anthem, which came to an end with joint applause - something repeated when the late Tommy Dunne and Ray Treacy were remembered.

That feeling of goodwill continued when the Irish fans applauded the visitors’ chants of “Sepp Blatter, he paid for your ground” shortly after they had expressed their anger at FAI chief executive John Delaney in the wake of revelations that the governing body had received a five million euro payment from FIFA.

England fans’ chant of ‘God Save Our Queen’ was booed as a desperate first half came to a close, with the visiting support following suit when ‘Fields of Athenry’ rang around.

Former England midfielder Paul Scholes labelled the friendly stalemate “a waste of an afternoon”.

The drab draw saw little action of note on the pitch to lift the occasion.

Scholes, analysing the fixture for ITV, said: “There was a real lack of quality and a waste of an afternoon. It was an end-of-season waste of space.”

England and the Republic have more important fixtures ahead, with Euro 2016 qualifiers against Slovenia and Scotland respectively to come in the week ahead.

England midfielder Jack Wilshere said: “The way we played, we know we’re better than that but we maybe blew the cobwebs off.”

Looking ahead to the Slovenia clash, Wilshere added: “It’ll be a difficult game but we have to be better.”

England manager Roy Hodgson said: “I thought we got better in the second half, but it was below what we were hoping to achieve.

“It’s never easy in Ireland, we don’t have a great record here but at least we go away with a clean sheet.”