Football-mad Portsmouth family split down the middle as they watch England take on Scotland
BITTERSWEET rivalries will be reignited between this family of die-hard football fans from Portsmouth as they watch their two national teams clash at England and Scotland’s Euro showdown.
‘Football mad’ Darren Archer and his wife Careen will be on opposite sides when their teams clash in the crunch match between the British nations today.
Darren, a proud Englishman, will be sporting the red and white of the St George’s flag to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s men, alongside his lads Cody, 15, Reece, 14, and Troy, 12.
But Careen will be chanting for Scotland with her Scottish dad, Cliff Williams, as they watch the grudge match unfold at her home in Hollam Road, Milton.
The last time the teams clashed in a major championship was Euro ‘96, when England stormed to a 2-0 victory.
And it’s a match Darren, Careen and Cliff remember well – they were watching it together in Portsmouth.
Darren, 42, said: ‘We can’t wait for the game. We’re football mad. We’re all Pompey fans and season ticket holders and we’ve missed football like you wouldn’t believe
‘The rivalry between the family is friendly. My three boys all support England and they do give my wife and father-in-law a bit a stick for it.
‘But it’s all friendly banter. That’s what football is all about.’
Clive – who was born just days before England romped to World Cup victory in 1966 – is hoping Scotland can pull it out of the bag.
He said: ‘This is the best Scotland football team we have had in a long, long time. I’m just so hopeful.
‘But I’m not under any illusions. I’ve got fingers, legs and toes – everything will be crossed.
‘It would be nice to get a win finally because for over 30 years now, it’s not been in my favour.’
The family is just one of many split down the middle across the Portsmouth area ahead of the match.
Toni Batten has travelled from Fratton with her partner Sean McConnachie to watch the game with Sean’s family in Glasgow.
Speaking of the friendly rivalry between them Toni, a 21-year-old warehouse operative at Amazon, said: ‘My partner thinks Scotland are going to win and won’t stop going on about it.’
Sean, a sailor in the Royal Navy, added this was the first time he had been able to watch his national team compete in a major tournament.
He said: ‘This is something I have never witnessed in my life before. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.’
It’s a rivalry that’ll be on display between husband and wife duo David and Lorna Eves, of Selsey Avenue, in Gosport.
David will be sporting his England shirt while Lorna, who was born in Scotland, will be backing her national side.
David, 59, said: ‘There’s always a bitter rivalry. It’s something we use to wind each other up. But we’re really looking forward to the match.’
Pubs packed ahead of Euros match
Meanwhile, pubs across Portsmouth are bracing themselves for a bumper night day of trade.
Meg Groves, general manager of the Star and Garter in Copnor Road, Copnor, has been fully booked for days.
She said: ‘The Euros are a fantastic opportunity for us to try and galvanise and just feel good. Hopefully England will have another win.
‘We’re only a small pub but we’re fully booked, which is great news. It’s been so humbled to see how the community has supported us.
‘Tonight is going to be a great night for football, for England and for pubs.’
Sean Muns, landlord at The Kings, in Albert Road, Southsea, said tonight’s action was going would be memorable
‘We’ve all been working our socks off to prepare and make everything safe for people,’ he said. ‘There’s a real buzz coming back to Albert Road, which is brilliant to see.’
He added he was eager to watch the match with the punters in the pub.
‘I’m dating a Scottish girl so that’s going to be interesting,’ he said. ‘The banter is non-stop when it comes to football.
‘I don’t think it’s a shoe in that England are going to win. Scotland are fiesty and have that inner Braveheart. It’s going to be great to watch.’
England and Scotland will kick off at 8pm.