United nations in Ipswich road

ENGLAND may not have qualified for Euro 2008 but this Ipswich street certainly isn't short of teams to support.Broom Hill Road, off Norwich Road, is a true example of the town's melting pot, with no less than six qualifying nations represented in the European Football Championship.

ENGLAND may not have qualified for Euro 2008 but this Ipswich street certainly isn't short of teams to support.

Broom Hill Road, off Norwich Road, is a true example of the town's melting pot, with no less than six qualifying nations represented in the European Football Championship.

The neighbours talk about a sense of community in the street, which has developed into friendly rivalry as their own teams play against each other.

In the one road there are residents from Italy, Spain, Croatia, Poland and Sweden. There are also two youngsters who are half-Greek.

Croat Mirta Sadler and her family plan watched her team play Turkey with their Turkish friends working at Quality Dry Cleaners in Norwich Road.

Though she is not the biggest football fan, she is happy to get involved in the fun.

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Mrs Sadler, who came from Croatia's capital Zagreb to England in 1959, said: “Usually football is like a sleeping pill for me but when there is something big on like this, we will watch a bit.

“When my children were small my husband used to take them to see Ipswich Town.”

Her grandson, Petros Parisis, 18, whose father is Greek, said: “When Greece won four years ago, there were great celebrations around here and we had flags on the car.

“I am half English so if England had got through, I might have supported them.”

Mrs Sadler's husband, Peter, 68, said: “There are only 70 houses in this road and as it is a dead end, it means there is very little traffic and people seem to walk about and talk to each other. It does feel like a community here.

“I have lived here for 17 years but I definitely haven't been here the longest. I suppose people stay because they like living here.”

Aside from those in Euro 2008, there are also residents from Ireland, Finland, Bangladesh and the Caribbean.

To find such a mix of cultures from all around the world in one street is rare to say the least but Mr Sadler believes it is a “fluke”.

The road is also unusual in the fact that all the houses on the south side were built in 1904 as part of a builders' exhibition to demonstrate different styles of construction, meaning that all the designs vary.

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Ascension Prentice, 47, from Madrid in Spain, becomes passionate about her team when she watches them play her husband's team - England.

Mrs Prentice came to England in 1987 as an au-pair and ended up meeting her husband, Christopher, having two children, and has stayed here ever since.

She said: “I love it here in Ipswich and I love the people. At first people don't really open up but when they do, they are very friendly.

“I am quite confident about Spain's chances but whenever everyone thinks they are going to do it, it comes to nothing.

“There are all sorts of nationalities in this street. It is unreal. If England were in this competition, I would be supporting them and Spain-half and half. If Spain and England are playing against each other, my husband and I cannot have anyone watching it with us because it can cause tension.”

Mia Brestner, 56, from Gothenburg, Sweden, came to England in 1975 because her elder sister was here.

The mother of two has displayed a flag in her house to show support to her nation during the competition - although the team made a disappointingly early return after failing to progress through the group stage.

She said: “I have been watching it. At least they were in it, which is better than England.

“I put up a flag to show support. This is a lovely road. There is a nice community here.”

Did you know?

The European Championships began in 1960 and has been held every four years since.