Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

20 Years Ago, Euro 96 Stops off in Toon; NOSTALGIA DAVE MORTON Recalls the People and Places of the North East EMAIL: David.Morton.Editorial@ncjmedia.Co.UK TELEPHONE: 0191 2016437 WRITE TO: Dave Morton, Nostalgia Editor, the Chronicle, Groat Market, Newcastle, NE1 1ED @DaveSMorton Newcastle Chronicle - History ON THIS DAY 20 YEARS AGO, EURO 96 KICKED OFF IN ENGLAND

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

20 Years Ago, Euro 96 Stops off in Toon; NOSTALGIA DAVE MORTON Recalls the People and Places of the North East EMAIL: David.Morton.Editorial@ncjmedia.Co.UK TELEPHONE: 0191 2016437 WRITE TO: Dave Morton, Nostalgia Editor, the Chronicle, Groat Market, Newcastle, NE1 1ED @DaveSMorton Newcastle Chronicle - History ON THIS DAY 20 YEARS AGO, EURO 96 KICKED OFF IN ENGLAND

Article excerpt

HAT were you doing on this day 20 years ago? WEven if you weren't a football fan, you couldn't escape the Euro 96 football championships that were kicking off in England.

Three decades after Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup at Wembley, hopes were high across the nation that the 1996 'Three Lions' could emulate their 1960s predecessors on home soil.

As sales of England replica shirts went through the roof and every other car seemed to be adorned with miniature flags of St George, the whole country was bitten by the football bug.

The tournament began at Wembley Stadium on June 8 with England, earning a 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

And the scorer? A certain Alan Shearer who would sensationally join Newcastle United after the tournament in a world record PS15m move which would send Tyneside wild with excitement.

Meanwhile, Euro 96 would touch down in Newcastle - big-style.

St James' Park would host three matches in Group B of the tournament, featuring France, Bulgaria and Romania.

More than 20,000 foreign football fans were expected to fly into Newcastle Airport.

A Brown Ale Welcome Village was created - a nine-acre site between St James's Park and Scottish & Newcastle Breweries.

Its main focus was a huge tent with bars, food outlets and five large television screens providing live coverage of all matches. It also boasted a funfair.

And, as the Chronicle reported on this day in 1996: "Whether you're a soccer nut or think a square ball is a dance for people in flares, Euro 96 is going to affect your life over the next couple of weeks.

"Today's kick-off marks the start of a frantic fortnight of football action - and Newcastle is one of the tournament's hosts.

"So the organisers have arranged Eurofest to coincide with the football so everyone can enjoy the tournament without ever having to know that most of the Bulgarian players' names end in ov. …

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