Kent football fan has spent £15k following England across Europe since 1981 - watching 177 games

-Credit: (Image: SWNS)
-Credit: (Image: SWNS)

A diehard footy fan has spent more than £15k following England across Europe - watching 177 games over the past 45 years.

Eddie Allcorn, 56, from Canterbury in Kent, first watched the Three Lions in action on a school trip in 1981. Since then he has journeyed as far as western Russia to support the men's team in international tournaments - cheering his country on in at least 15 countries.

Now in Germany for his tenth tournament - which could see his match tally exceed 180 games if England reach the quarter-finals - Mr Allcorn hopes Gareth Southgate's team can finally go all the way and win the first silverware of his lifetime.

Born the year after England's World Cup win in 1966, Mr Allcorn, has dedicated his life to following both the Three Lions and his beloved Gillingham FC.

Eddie in Russia for the 2018 World Cup. -Credit:SWNS
Eddie in Russia for the 2018 World Cup. -Credit:SWNS

He pays around £75 every two years for his England Supporters Travel Club membership, which gains him discount tickets costing just £25 for home matches at Wembley and access to away and tournament tickets.

Mr Allcorn has tickets to all of England's group stage matches at Euro 2024 - which cost him €30 each - as well as tickets to any latter-stage matches they will go on to play.

The price of the tickets for this year's tournament in Germany isn't bad at all, he says, adding: "It costs that much to go and see Gillingham away sometimes.

"I first went to a home game against Spain at the old Wembley on a school trip in 1981. I didn't go to an away game until 1998, when we beat Tunisia 2-0 in the World Cup in Marseille. I've now been to seven Euros and three World Cups, but I haven't been outside of Europe for matches. The Slovenia game will be my 41st away game, and on average we spend around £300 per game if you add it all together."

Eddie sporting his Gillingham shirt at Turkiye vs Portugal at Euro 2024 in Dortmund. -Credit:SWNS
Eddie sporting his Gillingham shirt at Turkiye vs Portugal at Euro 2024 in Dortmund. -Credit:SWNS

Mr Allcorn explained that he and his friends try to keep costs down by staying in cheap hotels and sometimes getting indirect flights to cities where matches are being held. He also travels the UK following Gillingham around the UK, writing three columns in The Gills' matchday programme.

"It's dedication," he admits, "especially when you lose 2-0 away to Barrow on a Tuesday night. It seems further to Barrow than it is to Cologne!"

But despite his impressive dedication to his national and local teams, Mr Allcorn concedes that a lifetime supporting England and Gillingham has left him unoptimistic about the Three Lions' chances of winning this year's Euros.

"I never think it's 'our year'," he admits. "I was born 18 months after the World Cup in 1966 and I don't think we will win anything else in my lifetime.

"We never have any luck when we play big teams and we haven't quite got the balance of this team right yet. Maybe we will grow into the tournament - it's only the group stage.

"If you watch England live for 45 years you turn into a bit of an Eeyore; a bit cynical and assuming the worst. I would hope that we'd win the group but I never take anything for granted... I was at the Iceland game in 2016. I was also at all the games for the Covid Euros in 2021.

"That was heartbreaking: finally getting to a final and going out on penalties, but it was amazing to be there despite what happened in the end. If all goes to plan, England could have France in the semi-finals and maybe, with Mbappe having his nose rearranged, that could even it up.

"The dream final would be England Vs Germany, but I think it could be Portugal Vs France." Mr Allcorn also believes England fans get a bad rap abroad; saying that, in his eyes, they're frequently provoked.

"One of the reasons I didn't go to away games before 1998 was because I was swerving some of the stuff that used to happen," he said. "Nowadays it's so rare that it doesn't really cross your mind.

"The behaviour of England fans has been pretty good over the last 20 years. Everyone out here in Germany is mingling together and having a good time. The two occasions when it was hairy were both in Marseille. We were aware of it at the '98 World Cup, but the only time it was really horrible was in 2016.

Eddie (right) and a friend hold a Gillingham flag in Ukraine during the 2012 Euros. -Credit:SWNS
Eddie (right) and a friend hold a Gillingham flag in Ukraine during the 2012 Euros. -Credit:SWNS

"It was a combination of the Russian hooligans being very active and the French riot police doing nothing to stop them. They were a disgrace. The German police have been exemplary in comparison. You always have to be careful in Italy, France and Spain."

But Mr Allcorn described the transport away from Gelsenkirchen, where England played their first match of Euro 2024 - beating Serbia 1-0 in a tight contest - as 'chaotic'.

"We queued for an hour and a half for a tram and there was no help from stewards or anything," he said. "We were on a tram for an hour, then the train station was chaos; people were close to fainting. But no one kicked off, we just helped each other and got on with it. There is some provocation sometimes, but most fans just enjoy themselves.

On why he continues to follow England across Europe - despite his cynical views on their chances in major tournaments - Mr Allcorn explained: "It's like going to Glastonbury for a music fan.

"You meet people from all over the world and the thing we all have in common is football. The atmosphere is brilliant. It's not just about your team, it's about the whole experience and exploring new places."

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