Euro 96

A view on the media and public reaction to Euro '96 in Bulgaria. Mark McQuinn and Boris Petrov report

If ever a country needed a break, in terms of football success, it was Bulgaria at Euro ’96. The run up to the finals saw the country in a state of economic collapse with over 100 banks folding, 65 major industries being closed and people having to queue for hours each days to buy bread, as the government had exported most of the country’s wheat supply to bring in hard currency.

A view on the media and public raction to Euro '96 in Spain. Phil Ball reports

Until the Daily Mirror’s outbreak of cultural sensitivity on Thursday 20th June, the Spanish press had, by and large, been serving up a positive view of all things English – describing in drooling terms the facilities on tap at the team’s hotel on the outskirts of Leeds, publishing photos of Zubizarreta signing an autograph for a smiling “bobbie” and of Caminero wolf-whistling at his English (female) security guard.

A view on the media and public reaction in France to Euro '96. Neil McCarthy reports

Two big news stories in France before Euro ’96 were Mad Cow Disease and the arrest of football hooligans in Birmingham and Newcastle. Some suggested that the shaky relationship between Britain and the rest of Europe coupled with England’s hooligans were a recipe for trouble.

A view of the media and public reaction in Portugal to Euro '96.  Phil Town reports

While the hopes and dreams of 20 million Portuguese worldwide crumbled during that second half capitulation against a 15-man defence and Poborsky, I’ll wager the most disappointed of all were the handful of advertising executives in Portugal who had, it seemed, set so much store on the national team going all the way.

Rich Zahradnik came over from America for Euro '96 and, much to his surprise, found himself in a Catholic country

I arrived on the morning of the first match of Euro ’96 to find a nation still recovering from “The Shame!!” Members of the England team had had some drinks in a dentist chair then, played rough with the interior of an airplane. Shame was everywhere, the same shame felt by the entire British nation when one of its politicians, vicars, talk show hosts, policemen, soldiers, dogs, cats or royals does something the rest of us probably do all the time anyway.

Colin Moneypenny reports on the activities of the FSA during Euro'96 and questions the FA's claim that the tournament was well run

“So if you’re a football player how do you decide which country to play for – is it just the one which pays the most?” This was the genuine enquiry of one American caller – clearly a distant relative of Jack Charlton and surely a future FIFA President – at the FSA London Embassy during Euro ’96. 

Rob Chapman reports on how Manchester responded to Euro fever

Pre-tournament whinging gets under way in earnest with the Germans deciding that the grass at their Cheshire training complex is too “knobbly” and has glass in it. The jessies. Don’t they know that sprinkling glass in the goal mouth is part of the keeper’s rite of passage round these parts?

Graham Ennis explains why Liverpool enjoyed playing host to fans at Euro '96

Euro ’96 comes to Liverpool, and the city, despite its reputation as the surly capital of the Northern Hemisphere, made a real effort. The streetlights were decorated, the VE Day bunting unfurled and re-hung, the price of beer was adjusted, even the litter bins were emptied. Our reward was, undoubtedly, three of the best games of the entire tournament.

David Wangerin explains why Euro '96 at Villa Park was a dazzling experience in the stands as much as on the pitch

It was fun, it was interesting, and it was orange. Dutch orange. What Birmingham’s inhabitants are likely to remember most vividly about their city’s participation in Euro ’96 is the number of visitors who came to town wearing tangerine. If not a replica kit (from any era), then a T-shirt, or overalls, or a big hat, or spray-painted clogs. The Dutch must have the most conspicuous fans on earth.

Harry Pearson saw France come to Newcastle (well, Northumberland).

“Can you believe this?” David Thompson, headmaster of Haydon Bridge High School is saying. He has a mobile phone in one trouser pocket and a walkie-talkie in the other. The walkie-talkie occasionally bursts into life with a noise like a 60-a-day smoker waking up after a heavy session. When it does, David Thompson ignores it. It is not his walkie-talkie. He has been given it to look after by one of the Euro security men who are currently scouring the back of the cricket pavilion for Arab terrorists.

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