'Shocking' and an 'embarrassment' - England fans' verdict on lack of big screen in Sheffield for Euro 2020 final

Sheffield Council has drawn criticism online for its refusal to arrange a big screen for this Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 2:55 pm
England fans watch the action from Euro 2020 on a big screen in Manchester (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Ahead of the historic game this weekend, where England will play Italy in its first tournament final since 1966, several cites such as London, Preston and Manchester will be airing the showdown in fan zones and public viewing areas.

It comes in a year where the Lions’ squad features three players who grew up in Sheffield

But following an enquiry by The Star, the city council announced it would not be arranging a big screen for Sunday.

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"Sadly we couldn’t host a big screen this year due to restrictions & our NHS & other services already being under immense pressure,” read a post on the council’s official Twitter page. “But we’ll be back to celebrate with a bang as soon as we can. #ItsComingHome”

The decision has been met with strong criticism from residents.

“An event that has helped to unite the nation and bring people together in when the country is on its knees,” wrote one user. “And the 'home' of football can't even get a big telly. Infuriating and baffling in equal measure.”

"Gave football to the world and now the biggest match in 55 years for England and we can’t host a big screen,” wrote user @BrettBrookes. “Shocking.”

"Serious question,” wrote user @goonie2008, “Are you cancelling Tramlines then? Or is the NHS capable of dealing with those increases in hospitalisation? No I guess not it’s just purely because its football. Embarrassment.”

In a statement on Thursday, deputy leader Julie Grocutt said supporters should take Sunday as ‘a great opportunity’ to boost trade at pubs and other venues.

"Logistically an event of this kind takes a lot of management and with stage 3 Covid restrictions still in place this presents even more challenges in finding a suitable space and the relevant event infrastructure that meets all the requirements we must still legally adhere to,” she said.

“We want everyone to be able to join in and celebrate the big game and there are many venues across the city holding events and screening the match.”

Another critic was former mayor Magid Magid, who in 2018 organised a screen on Devonshire Green for England’s World Cup match against Croatia in under a week.

He said: “Surely it can’t be impossible? Having a screen in Sheffield, where football was invented, when it’s potentially coming home, is impossible? When other cities have managed to sort out screens?”

The online response to the council’s statement remains overwhelmingly negative.

"Countless missed opportunities to plug what you should be shouting from the rooftop,” wrote user @intsticks.

“And this, quite possibly a once in a lifetime event. Well done.”

User @Mat_Man_Miracle wrote: “Could have easily done 2 smaller events either side of the city. When Tramlines can happen as well, just excuses this statement from the council.”

The Star was out on Thursday speaking to fans in the city if they wanted to see a big screen in time for Sunday.

"I think people need something like it,” said another big screen fan, Adrian, outside the City Hall. “With social distancing I think it’s your personal choice to come if you’ve had your vaccine. I think it’s a good idea.”