In London, the HLM City Kirby Estate, with its 700 English flags and immense confidence in success

In London, the HLM City Kirby Estate, with its 700 English flags and immense confidence in success

If faith is measured by the number of flags displayed in support of their team, then Chris Doves and Alan Batman fall into the category of semi-religious faith. Since 2012, at every major football match, two residents of Kirby Garden have covered this low-cost home garden in south-east London with English flags. Everywhere, the crosses of St. George – red on a white background – are hung from balconies and ditches, which are suspended from one side of the building to the other.

Chris and Allen estimate about four hundred. A group of young scouts who came to the place recently proved them wrong: there are seven hundred of them, counting the flag a little. British newspapers speak “The Most Patriotic Street” From the UK. Chris, in the sunlight in his little garden chair, and Allen, who wore the England team jersey, do not hide their pride.

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Following a clear victory over Germany (2-0) in the previous round, England will face Ukraine in Rome in the quarterfinals of Euro 2021 on Saturday, July 3. The hereditary enemy, who had won many victories that still shocked the English supporters, was finally attacked. Suddenly, all hope is allowed.

“Portugal, Germany, France removed, Chris recalled. At our table, we have Ukraine, Denmark … we have a real chance to win. Even better: We did not reach any goal in this match. This last happened to us in 1966. ” The index date, a true English talisman, signifies England’s last and only victory in a major international competition, in this case the World Cup.

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Four days to decorate everything

Masters in self-mockery, the English made their main cry for a song written in the 1990s “Thirty Years of Pain” From their last victory. “It needs to be renewed in fifty-five years”, Chris laughs and laughs about it more than he triggers previous defeats: his childhood tears at the penalty shoot-out defeat in the 1990 World Cup semi-final against Germany; His cold-backed anger after the humiliating defeat (1-2) against Iceland in a match of the 2016 European Cup in Nice, where he made the trip.

Former amateur footballer Chris Doves insists: “The country shows that we are proud of where we come from.”

The history of the Kirby Gardens is a nationalist homage to the rest of the world. French, Scottish and Portuguese flags slide between the crosses of St. George … “If you are in a competition, you can put up your flag”, Chris explains. Former amateur footballer, goalkeeper who came close to a professional career and played with Rio Ferdinand at a young age, is interested in: “It is to show that we are proud of where we come from, no matter where the country is.”

The idea of ​​decorating the Kirby Garden gradually arose from a few residents, who displayed a few more flags at each match in a friendly match. In 2012, Chris, Allen and a third neighbor decided to take this seriously. Since then, with each match, the presentation gets a little more complete. This year, it took four days to decorate everything.

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The initiative brought together residents. In 2018, the whole community will gather outside to watch the UK-Columbia Games globally, with one satellite dish plugging in from the other, using another giant screen and stretching large tarpaulins to avoid glare from the sun. Two Colombian families in the building danced to Latin music with the English in the courtyard of the building despite losing fines. “This is where the true spirit of football lives”, Promise Allen.

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Follow live on Ukraine-England, Saturday, July 3 at 9pm, at the Rome Olympic Stadium, and on Lemonde.fr

Selection of our articles on Euro 2021

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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