From 11am onwards, fans of both England and Portugal congregated at the Jardim Manuel Bivar in Faro to drink beer, watch the entertainment and enjoy the build-up to the match. England’s Football Supporters Federation was on hand to distribute a free guide and advice to visiting fans. “We’re here to be a friendly voice to the fans. We have an opportunity to present the best possible image of ourselves in the knowledge that, if we do, it could pay dividends in the summer,” explained Deputy Chairman Alan Bloore.
In a separate bid to foster better relations between the England and Portugal the British Council in Portugal had organised several events in the region – a fans’ forum, a five-a-side tournament at a local school and a fundraiser for the Refúgio Aboim de Ascenção in Faro. Rosemary Hilhorst, the new British Council director, and comedian Jimmy Tarbuck were on hand to help present the cheque to Refúgio Director Dr Luis Villas Boas. ‘The comedy legend’, as he was introduced, would not be pressed on which team he would be cheering on. “I’ll be supporting football,” he quipped.
Mark Perryman was one of the England fans who had taken the time to organise the charity evening and raise 500 euros for the orphanage. “We know we need to go that extra mile to change our reputation,” he explained. “In England, there is a football chant at Millwall FC that goes – ‘Everybody hates us and we don’t care’ – we’re trying to change that to ‘everybody likes us and we do care’.
Two Brits arrested: Despite the all-day drinking and the low key policing, there were only two arrests throughout the event. A PSP police agent suffered a cut to the eyebrow after two English ‘fans’ attacked him. The incident occurred at 8pm when the officer approached the rowdy pair to calm them down before they boarded the free coach to the stadium. Both spent the night in jail. There were no other disturbances reported, apart from the odd fan who ‘forgot’ to pay for beer.