Flying the flag for England

Residents of Atkinson Close fly the flag for England
Residents of Atkinson Close fly the flag for England
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Are you flying the flag for England in the World Cup?

Will you be getting behind our boys when they take on Panama in tomorrow’s second group game in Russia?

Residents in one Preston street are showing their true colours during the four-yearly football-fest with a red and white display in support of Gareth Southgate’s young squad.

“It’s not just about football, it’s about community spirit,” said John Fleming who was surprised by the result when he suggested families in Atkinson Close, Preston should put the bunting and flags up to celebrate England’s participation in the tournament - at least for as long as it lasts.

“There are about 20 houses in this close and around 90 per cent have decided to join in and fly the flag. It’s a terrific show.”

The street was decorated in time for last Monday’s opening England game against Tunisia. But not everyone in Atkinson Close shared the passion that night.

John’s next-door neighbour stayed behind closed doors for the evening as everyone else celebrated our 2-1 win.

“He’s a great guy and he is part of the community we have around here - but he’s Tunisian, so he couldn’t really fly England flags,” laughed John.

“We didn’t hear a peep out of him all night, although I think he heard us when Harry Kane nodded in that stoppage time winner.

“There is a passageway between our houses, but I reckon my celebrations will still have got through two walls. It was a memorable moment and one I wanted to share with him.

“I haven’t seen him since, so I guess he’s keeping his head down. But we’ll have a laugh when he re-appears.”

John, an avid Preston North End fan, encouraged the neighbourhood to put on a show after experiencing a good community spirit when he lived on Preston’s Larches Estate. And his persuasion has worked a treat in Atkinson Close.

“Apparently for the last World Cup no-one at this end of the street really bothered about the tournament,” he said. “On the Larches we all mucked in together and had some great times.

“So I put the flags out ahead of the first game and one or two people said they would too. And then it just snowballed from there.”

Will it all end in tears next Thursday when England play their final group game?

“I’d like to think we could go all the way, but I’m a realist,” said John. “We’re an inexperienced squad, so I’m hoping for the semi-finals.”