THE European Championship has so far been tarnished by the behaviour of violent gangs of fans, who have succeeded in making the beautiful game seem anything but.
Now, supporters are being slated left, right and centre for being a rowdy, unpleasant bunch – but while the behaviour of some thugs is indefensible, most football fans deserve better.
In honour of the beautiful game, and the fans who make it so, we’ve rounded up some recent moments when fans stole the show for all the right reasons.
Whether it’s a singalong which makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, or some supremely sharp banter in the stands, these moments will restore your faith in the fans who make football so special.
This is the moment Welsh fans at the Euros honoured their fellow countryman, Darren Crandon, who had just proposed to his English girlfriend, Emma White.
He had planned to hold for a few more days to pop the question during the Wales v England game, but “the moment felt right” in the fan zone before Wales’ historic match against Slovakia.
The big moment was celebrated as cheers rang out around for the happy couple, from supporters who truly represent the best of football fans.
And Darren and Emma aren’t the only couple who’ve received the Welsh fans’ blessing – as one unsuspecting newlywed French couple were met by a Welsh guard of honour of their own, lining the streets of Bordeaux.
The bride and groom enjoyed ecstatic applause from the football fans as they made their way from their ceremony – it’s no wonder that the French media have praised the Welsh supporters as “magnificent”.
It’s not just the Welsh doing Great Britain proud at the Euros – Northern Ireland are at it too.
In their first game at a major tournament in 30 years, Northern Ireland faced Poland – and charming footage of both sets of fans enjoying a sing-off has emerged.
In the clip, fans show off their best chants – including the Northern Irish anthem “Will Grigg’s On Fire” – before coming together to hug it out afterwards.
And singing seems to be a preferred pastime of football fans in general – as amusing footage surfaced of Sweden fans leading an ABBA singalong with Ireland supporters.
In the video, a Swedish man can be seen holding up a speaker, while surrounding fans belt out the classic hit “Dancing Queen” – with no hint of unfriendliness, unpleasant rivalry or tension in sight.
When they’re not taking part in ABBA singalongs, the Irish are busy giving the British Isles a good name in France – as their behaviour and gestures have been exemplary during the tournament so far.
And one selfless supporter in particular proved the power of good karma – after helping to save a fellow fan’s life before a match.
Jay Keating performed CPR on an elderly man who has collapsed near the Stade de France before Ireland’s match against Sweden.
But after performing the good deed, he realised he’d lost his ticket to the game – a gift from his wife.
Luckily, however, four fellow Irishmen were so impressed by his heroic actions that they clubbed together to buy Jay a new ticket outside the ground.
One of the men, Brian Kerrigan, told the Irish Mirror: “He’s the real hero, that’s a much bigger deal than what we did.”
It’s easy to get frustrated and angry when your team just can’t score – and pin all the blame on the players. But one set of fans in Germany decided instead to come together, taking matters into their own hands.
Good-humoured supporters of FC Magdeburg – who at the time played in Germany’s fourth divison, but have now moved up to the third – fashioned gigantic fluorescent arrows to point at the goal, after their team failed to score in 558 minutes of play.
It didn’t help, as they lost 2-1 to Berliner AK 07, but it’s the thought that counts.
Back to the Euros, and the Irish are at it again – this time showing themselves to be on their best behaviour on the continent.
While we’ve seen plenty of clips of fans throwing drinks and bottles at the Euros, new video footage, widely circulated on social media, shows Ireland supporters cleaning up after themselves following hours of celebrations – all while chanting “clean up for the boys in green”.
Meanwhile, closer to home, football fans online came together to help when a father and son were left behind by the coach that was meant to take them to Wembley.
Everton fan Dan and his five-year-old little boy were let down by their ticket seller for Everton’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.
But the pair’s luck hadn’t quite run out – as Twitter users managed to patch together a last-minute rescue plan, which included free train travel from Virgin Trains, two tickets waiting for them at the ground an invitation onto Everton’s FanZone stage.
Following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, England fans at the friendly match against France just a few days later were invited to join in with the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. With the lyrics emblazoned on a giant screen, both sets of fans sang their hearts out during the moving rendition – sending a strong message of unity and solidarity.
When Portsmouth became the first Premier League club to go into administration in 2010, it emerged that they owed £119 million to hundreds of groups, businesses and individuals.
But upon learning that first aid charity St John Ambulance was owed money by the club, generous lifelong fan Tom Purnell set up an online fundraising page to raise the money needed to pay the charity back.
Within just one day, the page had reached its target, eventually raising a whopping £3796.
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