England barbecue jinx

COME tomorrow evening, the collective fingers and toes of the nation will be crossed as armies of football fans gather in front of their TV sets for England's vital clash with Portugal in Euro 2004.

COME tomorrow evening, the collective fingers and toes of the nation will be crossed as armies of football fans gather in front of their TV sets for England's vital clash with Portugal in Euro 2004.

But while many will be dusting off their lucky talismans and ensuring long-running superstitions are followed, one Suffolk man will be banishing himself from checking the scores.

For keen fan Terry Buckle, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, feels he may have become a jinx for Sven's boys, having witnessed nothing but all four goals conceded by those flying the flag for the nation.

Mr Buckle has run a barbecue to feed the legions of supporters gathered in the Moreton Hall Community Centre to enjoy England's group games on a big screen TV.


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But whenever the willing volunteer left his station by the griddle to check on the action inside the hall, England would concede - be it in the nation's opener against France, or on Monday in the crucial game against Croatia.

Now Mr Buckle has pledged to enter a self-enforced exile tomorrow night when Beckham and the boys take on host nation Portugal in the quarter finals of the contest.

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"I was doing a barbecue outside the community centre, and every time I walked into the building Croatia would score. I ended up banished, having to watch the rest from outside the door," said Mr Buckle, who also serves on St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

"I am very patriotic and wanted England to win, but seemed to be an omen against them. I dare not go inside anymore, and think its best to keep away from the place as it's better safe than sorry.

"I will be running another barbecue for the Portugal game, but will stay outside all the time. I just hope it doesn't rain."

And although Mr Buckle, who supports Ipswich Town, is predicting a 2-1 victory for England against the hosts, he is determined not to influence the score in any way.

"I will only be going into the community centre to get change and petty cash, and may even send someone else in to collect it instead," he added.

"I think we have got a 60 or 70% chance of winning the whole competition at the moment. We certainly should have given France a good hiding, but again I walked in thinking the game was safe because we were into injury time and they scored two goals.

"I am a jinx, and had to make sure I stayed outside during the Switzerland game, just in case."

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