It takes some listening, but they are there. In the bays of the Rotherham stadium, the “go the Blues” have been going down sparingly since the start of the competition. Because the French supporters have invested very little in the city of Yorkshire for this Euro (6-31 July).
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In the first game against Italy they were just under five hundred and barely more against Belgium, this Thursday in a sparse stadium. Near the New York Stadium, before the kick-off of the game against the Red Flames, some had braved the hundreds of miles separating them from France to cheer on the Habs.
This is the case of Amandine and Laura, two thirty-year-old football players from the north. “We paid almost 500 euros each to see this match against Belgium. Between the ticket, transport and accommodation it quickly adds up to a considerable amount,” the two French women say before pointing out that it is difficult to get there. A problem raised by others. “The price and the location in the north of England don’t help,” says Nicolas, who came with Léa, his 6-year-old daughter.
A Scarf Seller: “It’s Hard”
In defense of the fans, the general enthusiasm is not folichon. Walking through the Rotherham fan zone there is little to no excitement. The arteries ring hollow despite some activities available for children. Red Flames fans are scattered here and there, but we’re a long way from the hordes of supporters that swarm and sometimes get drunk during international men’s competitions. A street vendor tries to get the public to sell his scarves. In vain. “It’s hard,” he adds, a little disillusioned. Performances with the French are sometimes even misleading.
When we see supporters in the distance dressed in blue with jerseys bearing the names of Kanté and Hernandez, we tell ourselves that the irreducible is there. But in the end we draw a blank. They are… Swiss from Lucerne and fans of Corinne Deacon’s herd. “We love the French team and they have a better chance of winning than our national team,” the couple laughed. A good note that proves that the love of Les Bleues goes beyond borders, even for some foreigners.