Euro 2020: Scarborough councillor Neil Heritage cheers England on to semi-final victory at Wembley

A Scarborough councillor was one of some 66,000 fans at Wembley who watched England reach the first men's Euros final and first men's major tournament final since 1966.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 4:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 8:18 pm

Cllr Neil Heritage, of the Yorkshire Coast Independents Alliance, who represents the Newby Ward, has spoken of his "outstanding" experience witnessing England reach the Euro 2020 final.

Cllr Heritage said: “It was outstanding, absolutely outstanding. The atmosphere along Olympic Way was incredible. It was a bit nervy to start with inside the stadium but still a great atmosphere and obviously, we got the result that we wanted - we didn’t want penalties!"

After securing tickets to the match as a member of the official England Supporters' Club Cllr Heritage went along to the match with a friend.

Scarborough councillor Neil Heritage, left, represented the town with a custom St George's flag. (Photo: Neil Heritage)
Scarborough councillor Neil Heritage, left, represented the town with a custom St George's flag. (Photo: Neil Heritage)

“I’ve actually had tickets right from the start and I’ve missed out on the group games because of the reduced capacity," he said.

Denmark took the lead at the half-hour mark when Mikkel Damsgaard placed a free-kick in the top left corner of Jordan Pickford's net - the first goal he has conceded at the tournament.

“I was gutted when we went 1-0 down, I thought ‘oh no, no, no’ it’s not happening again! crumbling at the semi-finals," Cllr Heritage said.

"I knew we had the quality, it was pretty early on with plenty of the game left. There was something inside me, I had a feeling we’d get back into it and I wasn’t panicking."

Cllr Heritage's view down Olympic Way at full-time. (Photo: Neil Heritage)

England replied just nine minutes later as Denmark captain Simon Kjaer turned Bukayo Saka's threatening cross into his own goal.

Cllr Heritage said the game's atmosphere was "electric" and at times he was overcome with emotion.

“Just all the togetherness and it has brought the whole country together the atmosphere was electric with everyone cheering on one team.

“I go to quite a few England games and these Euros are normally quite divided but this one everyone is cheering on the team and I think the player’s response as well at the ground and on TV, coming to the crowd and thanking them [has been great]. The players have a ‘we’re all together attitude’."

Putting Scarborough on the map at Wembley Stadium. (Photo: Neil Heritage)

Harry Kane secured the win after knocking in the rebound from his saved penalty in extra-time.

Cllr Heritage has been proudly representing Scarborough on his trip to Wembley sporting a custom Scarborough St George's Cross flag.

“I got the flag made for the Euros to represent Scarborough and I’m ex-forces so it has ‘lest we forget’ in the corner and the Union Jack.

Describing the moment the final whistle blew, Cllr Heritage, who also has tickets for the final, said: "Relief! I was actually in tears, tears of joy. All the emotions it all came out. Relief, joy and disbelief all rolled into one, and now I have to do it all over again on Sunday!"

Jubilant scenes at full-time down Olympic Way. (Photo: Neil Heritage)

England face Italy at Wembley on Sunday night to see if they can win a men's major tournament trophy for the first time since 1966.

Cllr Heritage's prediction? "It's going to be a cagey one! 2-0 England late on."