Euro 2024: How did we go from England fans wearing Southgate waistcoats to beer cups being hurled towards him?

How did we go from fans adopting Gareth Southgate's waistcoats to plastic beer cups being hurled towards him?

From singing "Southgate you're the one" to being turned off by him?

The relationship between the England faithful and their manager has become strained to the point of fracturing during these Euros.

"We've had different problems to solve as a team over the last few weeks," Southgate said.

"And I'm the leader trying to connect all of that and keep the juggernaut that is the England football team on the right path."

But it will be the end of the road for Southgate and England on Sunday night if England are knocked out of Euro 2024 by Slovakia.

A 99th game after eight transformative but ultimately, trophyless years in charge. So far.

'Ultimate challenge'

"Every day I wake up and think what we need to do," he said. "It's the ultimate challenge."

They made it here to the tournament - unlike Steve McClaren's England in 2008 - and have not gone home at the group stage - as Roy Hodgson's England did without winning a game at the 2014 World Cup.

Southgate made fans - and even many players - fall in love with the England team again.

It's the manner of reaching the last 16 here, with just one win and two dreary draws, fuelling discontent.

There is certainly a lack of perspective. How often do England entertain in group stages? Even the 1966 World Cup win started with points dropped early on.

The reduced jeopardy in this 24-team Euros format gives a strong certainty of making the knockout phase where the tournament gets going.

Remember, Spain were the only team to qualify from their group with three wins.

The last two winners of the trophy - Portugal and Italy - both lost games. Even hosts Germany dropped points.

Italy, who beat England in the final three years out, were the first team sent packing in the last 16.

'Desperate to do well'

Southgate has become increasingly exacerbated by strife in sessions with the media, while careful to avoid widening the schism with supporters.

The groans after the tepid 0-0 draw with Slovenia prompted Southgate to say: "I've not seen any other team qualify and receive similar."

That is as close as we have seen to the 53-year-old snapping.

It can seem he would relish the chance to say - be careful what you wish for. Don't you have short memories?

Dial back six years and Southgate was credited with re-energising the team and reconnecting them with the fans at the 2018 World Cup.

There were murmurs of frustration that England could not find a way past Croatia to reach the World Cup final. But at least they had made it to a first men's semi-final since Euro '96 and actually won a penalty shootout on the way in Russia.

This was the summer of Southgate, lifting the mood of the nation, as a unifying figure for a country riven by Brexit division.

"I'm just desperate to do well for my country," said Southgate, remembering the pain and near-misses as a defender himself for England.

The modesty, humility and decency Southgate brought to the job made him the perfect antidote to the tumult.

Remember he was the accidental manager who never sought this status.

Bold calls

Think back to Euro 2016, the humiliating last-16 exit to Iceland and Roy Hodgson complaining after being forced to face the media in his last act as manager: "I don't know why I'm here."

This was the nadir for England.

Back then, Southgate was at the tournament as a UEFA technical observer.

But on Euro 2016 final day he held talks with the then-FA boss in a Paris hotel before rejecting the chance to step up from the U21s manager's role, believing he lacked experience for the top job.

How many others would be as self-deprecating when presented with the opportunity of a lifetime?

The job did unexpectedly come up again quickly thanks to Sam Allardyce's unguarded bar talk to undercover reporters - ending his reign at one match with a 100% record by beating Slovakia.

That brings England full circle to playing Slovakia again on Sunday night in Gelsenkirchen with a Euro 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland up for grabs.

"We still sing about him," 34-year-old fan Brad Day said in a Cologne bar. "We have had the best six years of English football I can remember."

Luke Buxton, who has come from Barnsley to attend every England match in Germany, feels England have fallen short.

"I think he is underappreciated," he said. "But I can see why people are upset because you have so much attacking talent, so much ability across the squad, you look at what the players are doing for their clubs and it's fair enough to question why they are not replicating it at an international level."

As a national team manager, Southgate has little time to tactically influence the players through the year.

The task is to blend the best talent available into a team and take the bold selection calls.

But despite their fatigue, Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham seem undroppable given the potential for them to provide the scoring spark needed.

'Shouldn't have fear of losing'

Can Southgate find solutions?

To some he's not charismatic enough and too boring. The source of social media derision and mocking memes.

What were endearing characteristics when results were going their way - fans adopting the Southgate waistcoats at the 2018 World Cup - are now held against him for reflecting a style of football seen as too unambitious.

Just not daring enough. Not taking enough risks.

Being erudite is now seen as dull.

But he has tried to show this should not be the "Impossible Job". It is one that predecessors have felt carries as much pressure as leading the country.

In a week that could see a change of prime ministers, Southgate will hope his reign will still be going all the way through the final in Berlin on 14 July.

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"We shouldn't have a fear of losing," he said.

But for the manager whose love letter to fans was turned into the West End play Dear England, he is preparing to say Goodbye England.

It can still end in a trophy parade.