Footie on the curriculum in Ipswich
SPONTANEOUS cheering could be heard down the road from Springfield Junior School as England qualified for the second round.And pubs, schools and offices celebrated across Ipswich as England emerged alive and kicking from what had been called the Group of Death.
SPONTANEOUS cheering could be heard down the road from Springfield Junior School as England qualified for the second round.
And pubs, schools and offices celebrated across Ipswich as England emerged alive and kicking from what had been called the Group of Death. Instead, it was old enemies Argentina who were buried.
Even deafening school discos at Springfield had never produced such decibels, as 180 pupils arrived at the Ipswich school hall at 7.20am, desperate not to miss the game which saw town streets virtually empty of traffic.
"They cheer every time the ball crosses the halfway line," said delighted head teacher Mike Garland, as children in red uniforms, England shirts, waving flags and balloons jumped out of their seats and punched the air.
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Mr Garland said a staff room joke saying teachers might as well invite the whole school in early for such an event, had quickly snowballed.
Letters were sent home to parents and more than half the 330 strong school took up the offer while another 60 were away on a school trip.
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Mr Garland added: "There has been a lot of community spirit over the past couple of weeks so it is nice to tap into that a bit.
"Even if the children are not football fans, it is nice for them to have breakfast and watch TV together."
A half-time breakfast of sandwiches, milk and a cereal bar was donated by Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons with a wide screen TV provided by Matthews.
Balfour News and the Estate Stores also helped, after mum Margaret Bean volunteered for the catering challenge.
Ten-year-olds Sarah Lambert of Rosecroft Road and Annabel Webb of Kitchener Road watched the match and Annabel said: "I love watching the football."
Bradley Canham, nine, of Springfield Lane and friend Jason Nunn, eight, of Bramford Lane cheered hero Michael Owen on.
Gryphen Ford, eight, of Westbourne Road sported a blonde Beckham hairstyle and said: "I watched the Argentina match – it was the best so far because England scored."
Friend Kyle Richardson, seven, of Eustace Road added: "I have watched all the England matches."
Excitement rose as the game drew to a close, with commentary drowned out by constant chanting and lessons starting slightly later than usual.
At Pals Bar in Ipswich town centre, the black stuff was flowing – but it was coffee and coke rather than Guinness going down.
Opening time was brought forward by four hours, but there were more bacon butties than beer in evidence.
But the lack of booze made no difference to the lively early morning crowd wiping sleep out of their eyes as the match kicked off at 7.30am.
Chris Drewery, 21, of Stockmakers End, Capel summed it up. He said: "You don't need booze, football's the only drug you need.
"I didn't even drink during the Argentina game, although I must admit I had a few afterwards."
Chris and his mate Lee Smith, from Copdock, led the cheering from the back of the bar. Although the dull draw before them left little to shout about.
Perhaps the biggest cheer – apart from the final whistle – of the day was for Sweden's goal against Argentina.
There were oohs and aahs for Paul Scholes' rasping shot against the post. And hair tugged as Teddy Sheringham missed a sitter.
But the general feeling was that the game was always likely to be an anti-climax after the stunning win over the Argies.
Pals day manager Brady Vince was happy enough. She said: "I think the kitchens have been busier than the bar, we've served a lot of breakfasts.
"We decided it would be silly for people to start drinking at seven, so we didn't apply for a licence. We'll let other people do that if they want."
There were smiles all round as the bore draw finished. As people left to continue normal life, the bar resounded to the tune "You're going home with the French" as Argentina's result meant they were eliminated.