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England expects: Great Barr residents proud to live on Southgate Road

By Alex Ross | Great Barr | Football | Published:

Here we go again!

Christian Williams in Southgate Road ready for tonight's semi-final clash

The eyes of the national again turn on eleven England players from 7pm for the biggest football game for this country since 1990.

No-one will have been able to escape the build-up with communities going into a World Cup frenzy following the victory over Sweden on Saturday.

The St George's flag has proudly returned to our streets, flying from cars and homes, some even painted on roundabouts.

Football anthem It's Coming Home is constantly on the airwaves and pubs are packing in a boost in trade.

Thumbs up for Southgate

Waistcoats are also back in fashion with manager Gareth Southgate their new model.

A polls has also found 75 per cent of parents believe the name 'Gareth' will make a comeback for baby names.

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Stanley Field is ready!

One street where people are getting especially excited is Southgate Road, in Great Barr.

The road is a quarter of a mile long and is lined with semi-detached homes, some displaying St George's flags.

Mark Holder, aged 49, said "It hadn't even crossed my mind, but now I can see the irony of living on Southgate Road.

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"I said we'd win it before it started, so maybe it's meant to be.

Cheering for England! Mark Holder in Southgate Road

"The country has definitely come together, this will put us back on the map and put another star on our shirt."

Stanley Field, 84, said: "Gareth Southgate has been a bit of a revelation hasn't he? It's brought everyone together.

Kristian Williams, 38, said: "We've done better than expected and at this stage we have every chance to win it.

"Southgate has been our best manager in a very long time, the best in my time and the best team England team I've seen play.

Brian Botterill giving Gareth the thumbs up in Southgate Road

"I've never even though about the fact I live on Southgate Road, it's funny now I think about it."

Brian Botterill, 52, said: "Quite a few people have already brought it up to me that I live on Southgate Road, it's normally the kids going on about it.

"Even people at work have mentioned it, everyone seems to be talking about it but me."

Bev Mountford with grandson Liam Moutford ,aged 9, in Southgate Road

Bev Mountford, 52, said: "It's nice to be proud of Southgate and proud to live on Southgate Road. Football is absolutely coming home."

Optimism can also be found in front and behind pub counters in the region.

World Cup boost for boozers

While hundreds more are going to their local for the games, the pubs are getting a 33 per cent boost whenever England is playing.

The British Beer and Pub Association predicts ten million pints will be bought during tonight's game.

The Royal London pub in Wolverhampton city centre is just one of the pubs in the region preparing for a bumper night of sales tonight.

Deputy manager David Morris, of Wolverhampton, and head chef Harry Palmer, of Bilston, at The Royal London

Deputy manager David Morris said: "Our trade has probably doubled, it would normally be quiet without the students here but it's been so busy with the World Cup and how well England are doing.

"Everyone's doing really well around her with the games being on, the whole World Cup has been good and all the games have been great.

"It's absolutely mental in here on a match day, people go crazy as soon as the goals go in, the place erupts and it takes you back how loud everyone can get, there are celebrations for hours after."

Other businesses are getting in the act.

Commercial Waste Recycling, based in Middlemore Road, Smethwick, has plastered an England sticker on the side of one of its waste trucks, costing £1,000.

Colin Smith, centre, who is director of Commercial Waste in Smethwick, with refuse drivers Tony Fowler and Dave Ross, who are ready to cheer on England

Fourteen people are employed at the company.

Director Colin Smith said: "I think we’re going to win the World Cup and show everyone we’re not rubbish.

“We've just one with the sticker, but hopefully we’ll look at some more - we’ll see what happens on Wednesday.

“This one is our lucky omen.”

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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