Renaming Eckington road to 'Sir Gareth Southgate Way' will have to wait until Qatar 2022
Gutted but proud.
That was how I felt when the final whistle blew at Wembley Stadium on Sunday night following England’s defeat to Italy on penalties in the final of Euro 2020.
The 55-year wait for the Three Lions to win a major tournament goes on, and of course it had to end in heartache from 12-yards didn’t it.
But overall this was a tournament which brought us a lot of joy - and boy did we need it after the last year.
Families and friends were reunited again in living rooms, gardens and pubs as Gareth Southgate’s men gave us a summer to remember for all the right reasons.
After a torrid 2020 we all needed a release and something to smile about and we certainly got that.
Sometimes the silliest and smallest of jokes can result in the biggest laughs.
And that is what happened near me in Eckington when three England fans added the word ‘Gareth’ to the road sign ‘Southgate’.
Chris Woolhouse, his step-son Jake Tindale and Jake’s mum’s Katie Woolhouse carried out the cheeky stunt after England’s extra-time win against Denmark in the semi-final and it attracted the attention of some of the national media. It is not often you get Sky Sports in Eckington let me tell you!
Two small England flags have since been added to the sign and whenever I drive past there are people having their picture taken next to it.
There were many heroes for England during the Euros including former Chesterfield schoolboy Harry Maguire who was brought up in Mosborough.
He was named man of the match against Germany, he scored against Ukraine and he showed ice-cool veins to absolutely thump his penalty in the shootout against Italy into the top corner.
Out of all the players to take a penalty for England, I really did not want him to miss given his local connections.
Missing a penalty for the Three Lions in a major tournament is never forgotten, just ask Southgate himself. But thankfully Maguire walloped it home and I am sure he and his temmates have inspired the next crop of youngsters.
And who knows, if we win the World Cup in Qatar next year, we could get the road in Eckington renamed permanently to Sir Gareth Southgate Way. Keep smiling.