WITH England’s key semi-final clash against Croatia looming, Redditch Blues have provided an update from Russia on what it’s been like to follow England in the World Cup.
The Redditch Blues, who are currently in Moscow, are the Redditch branch of Birmingham City FC Supporters Club.
Every member has official tickets for all the England games leading up to, and including, the final.
You can read about their journey so far – here.
Peter Courts, a long-term member of the Redditch Blues, has been with the rest of the group in Russia since before the start of the tournament.
He has been away from wife, Lynda, for the entire time.
After watching England beat Colombia, she decided to join him and the rest of the group for England’s quarter-final win over Sweden on June 7.
“I arrived in Samara at 12.30pm, local time.
“As soon as I landed I was greeted by Russian journalists who wanted to know why I was coming so late, and why I hadn’t flown out with Pete from the start.
“I explained about my hesitation following the troubles in Marseille two years ago.
“They were asking about Pete’s impressions of the Russians now, which honestly, has been very positive since he arrived.
“They were very happy to know Pete appreciated their hospitality.”
After reuniting with her hubby, Lynda made her way to the FIFA ticketing office to pick up her official match tickets.
“When we got to the stadium for the Sweden game we had to split into two groups.
“Pete and I were sat together just to the left of the goal, whereas the others were slightly further back.”
Regardless, the Redditch Blues still managed to get their now, well-known, flag into another prime position near the goal posts.
It could be seen on TV as Harry Maguire put England in control with the first goal of the game.
Lynda said: “The beer came in special World Cup plastic cups which had flashing red lights on the bottom.
“When we scored it was like having a shower – beer absolutely everywhere.
“The atmosphere was amazing and when the second goal went in the place erupted.
“People were falling all over each other, crying and screaming but it was a fantastic feeling being involved in it all.
“Everyone wanted to be seen with our flag and we were more than happy to pose for photos.”
After the final whistle, the group stayed in the Samara Arena for a while to sing patriotic songs to the England players who remained on the pitch to thank fans for their support.
With England through to the semi-final of the competition, the group will now be heading to the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow for the huge game against Croatia.