Former ITFC and England players celebrate World Cup quarter-final win in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 22:50 07 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:36 08 July 2018
Two football legends who hosted a special screening of the England World Cup quarter-final in Suffolk have spoken of their pride for the team.
Simon Milton and Russell Osman were joined by hundreds of fans at Greshams Ipswich this afternoon where the momentous match was shown on a big screen.
The two former Ipswich Town Football Club stars rallied support and gave match analysis.
Among those in the crowd was fellow retired footballer Keiron Dyer, who played for the Blues and represented England on 33 occasions.
Mr Milton and Mr Osman spoke to this newspaper after the game, in which England beat Sweden 2-0.
“The game tonight was brilliant, I thought England played well under difficult circumstances,” said Mr Osman, who holds 11 England caps.
“Sweden were always going to make it as difficult as possible. They’re a big, strong, physical side, little bit more defensive than some of the other teams that England have played lately but England came out on top, scored two fanatic goals, managed to keep a clean sheet, and now they’re in the semi-final.”
Mr Osman described the atmosphere at Greshams as “absolutely fantastic” .
When asked why the public should get out and support their country, Mr Osman said: “I think it’s very important especially in these days we have enough problems.
“You talk about race, religion, fighting, stabbings, all these things that keep hitting the press at the moment – we can forget about those for a while.
“Sport crosses all boundaries and when you have a successful team like England are showing at moment it’s a very, very good thing.
“You see the diversity of players we have, they are from different backgrounds, different races, and they are an unbelievable squad of players. They look very happy and they are making the public who are supporting them very happy so it’s a nice reciprocal arrangement we have got going at the moment. And the manger has been magnificent.”
Mr Osman is now hoping to see England lift the World Cup trophy.
“It’s 1966 when we won it last time, the only time we have won it, and I was seven years old, I am 59 years old, so 52 years later it would be lovely if we could do it in my lifetime again and I think this might be best and only chance we have,” he said.
Mr Milton, who made more than 300 appearances for ITFC, said Gareth Southgate’s management of the England team had been “amazing”.
He expected Southgate and the squad to be watching the Russia vs Croatia game carefully tonight to create a game plan for the next match.
“The good thing about England is they have just let one game come along, deal with that one, then move on to the next one and that’s the way they will deal with it now,” Mr Milton said.
Questioned on what advice he would give to the players ahead of the semi-final, Mr Milton said: “I would just say do exactly what you are doing.”
He added: “They are a team, they work for each other, they are good on the field, they are good off the field. Gareth has got a good plan, they are listening to Gareth’s plan, they are carrying out the plan and they are not getting too carried away like we are off the field!
“I think they are doing everything right so they have just got to keep it going.”