Newark England fan describes the mayhem backdrop of England v Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley
An England fan who was at Wembley last night has described the mayhem that marred what should have been a very special occasion.
Chris Wade said it was mayhem and that he was appalled by drunken loutish behaviour, the storming of the ground by fans without tickets and the subsequent racist abuse received by players who had exceeded a nation's expectations.
He described walking down a carpet of crumpled beer cans and broken glass on Wembley Way and said he would not look forward to another home tournament in the future.
"It was mayhem," said Chris, from Newark.
"Everyone now has seen the scenes of 'fans' bursting into the ground.
"Yes, there was the singing in the stands creating atmosphere but the whole thing was a tarnished experience.
"The stewards didn't seem to have a clue. They weren't in sufficient numbers, adequately trained or able to deal with what they were faced with.
"They were young men, paid maybe £10 an hour, faced with several thousand drunken idiots.
"It was quiet unpleasant to see all of those drunk and ticketless supporters."
Although he didn't himself see the barriers and the stewards overwhelmed, his experience of the covid checking station was unpleasant enough.
"This was two hours before kick off," he said. "I like to get there early. There was lots of jostling and it was starting to get unpleasant at that time.
"By the end they were just letting people through without really checking.
"There were lads who were becoming agitated.
"You could tell things were bubbling.
"Because of coronavirus, nobody could go to the pubs so they brought their own. It was a full day of drinking for many. There were too many idiots yesterday.
"My memory of walking down Wembley Way, and it will sadly likely be my lasting memory, is of walking on a carpet of squashed cans and broken glass. It was everywhere.
"It was not a nice experience all round and can't have been for all of the families with children who were there.
"I don't want to see anything like it ever again."
Of the game itself, Chris, who is part of the England Supporters' Travel Club, said: "It was a fantastic start. The place was rocking.
"The first half seemed to take a very long time. I looked at the faces of the Italian fans on the screen and they were frustrated because it looked like their team didn't have a clue.
"Then I saw the stats and Italy had the possession and the shots. I wondered if it was the game that I'd been watching.
"The second half seemed to go really quickly and they'd scored that weird goal.
"It seemed Sterling had used up all his luck.
"We could have been that bit more creative. Grealish could have come on earlier.
"Hefty challenges went unpunished, although I'm not blaming the referee.
"I think we really should have won it in the second period of extra time.
"Then it was penalties and they really are just the luck of the draw."
Of the unforgivable racist abuse, that the England players who failed to score their penalties received, Chris, who is chairman of Newark Town Football Club, said: "Players were deliberately put on because they were confident to take those penalties and Southgate believed in them.
"One of them was a 19-year-old and fair play to him for having the self-confidence to be up for it. Hat's off.
"The abuse they have received since is appalling and has no place in football or in life itself."
Chris said he had confidence in the manager and the team going forward with the World Cup less than 18 months away.
"They exceeded everyone's expectations and that is what some people have been too quick to forget," he said.
"They are young players but they have self belief and great ability, as well as a manager who believes in them.
"I believe they can go that one step further.
"What I would not look forward to is another Wembley home tournament."