'Sheffield IS the home of football': Steel City must play a key role in UK and Ireland's 2028 Euros

Sheffield is the birthplace of modern football - Bring It Home!
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The UK and Ireland are set to host the 2028 Men's Euros after Turkey withdrew their bid to hold the tournament.

Reporter Harry Harrison gives his view on why Sheffield needs to play a key part in the tournament.

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The Turkish withdrawl means the UK and Irish bid is the last one standing and will, by default, succeed. So, following the success that was the 2022 Women's Euros, football is coming home once again and we need to make sure it not only comes home to England, but it returns to its birthplace in Sheffield.

The Steel City, namely Bramall Lane, played host to a number of incredible fixtures - including the Lionesses' 4-0 semi-final battering of Sweden (the current no. 1 in FIFA's international rankings), including Alessia Russo's stunning backheel - and welcomed fans from across Europe.

The city centre was filled with bright colours and singing - most memorably for me was the Swedish fans chanting and drumming on Division Street in the Frog & Parrot pub, which effectively became their base of operations whilst they were in the city throughout the group stages and knockouts.

Bringing the Euros to Sheffield did wonders for the city - it seemed to bring everyone together. Fans of all nationalities, backgrounds and opinions rejoiced in the joy football provided from the Devonshire Green fan zones - it felt right, football was home in its literal birthplace.

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People from across Europe came and enjoyed Sheffield by spending money and enjoying our local businesses and the variety of cultures our city holds. The tournament brought a whopping £8.3million boost to the city's economy, which was more than 10 per cent of the total economic boost generated nationally.

Every single hotel room in the city was booked during match days and footfall in the city centre increased by over 10,000 (22 per cent). I cannot understand anyone who could say the Euros were a bad thing for Sheffield.

Combining the 2022 tournament, the Rugby World Cup, Tramlines and other major events, Sheffield's tourism industry swelled by £1billion. The 2028 tournament needs to come home to Sheffield.

But with financial figures aside, Sheffield IS the home of football. We had the world's first club (Sheffield FC) and the world's second club (Hallam FC) - who play in the world's oldest football ground, which hosted the world's first inter-club match.

The 2028 Euros need to come to Sheffield. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images and National World)The 2028 Euros need to come to Sheffield. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images and National World)
The 2028 Euros need to come to Sheffield. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images and National World)
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A number of the roaring Lionesses grew up and honed their skills locally. Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker are the latest stars to play for the men's team to come from Sheffield.

When I first came to Sheffield for university, it would have been a stretch to call me a football fan. I loved it when I was younger, but I had lost that love as I had grown older, but you can't avoid football in Sheffield.

I had the chance to attend Sheffield United's 3-0 battering over Burnley in 2019 for a student newspaper and despite being new to the city and having no allegiance to the Blades, I automatically let out very audible, shouts of delight when John Lundstram put United 1-0 up - to the point I had to be told to "simmer down" in the press box as I was sat next to some unhappy looking journalists from Burnley.

That is football in Sheffield for me. It is so engrained in the city you cannot help but be drawn to one of the many local teams. Even locals who aren't a close follower of the sport, will still give you an answer if you ask them which local team they support. It is such a massive part of local history and the city plays a massive part in football's history.

The city deserves it. If our history and 2022 tournament record doesn't bring the Euros back to Sheffield, it would almost be criminal.

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