IT’S one of the oldest international football rivalries - and there are divided loyalties among England and Scotland fans in Bradford.
Tonight England plays Scotland for the first time in 25 years, in Euro 2021. The last time was in Euro 96, when England won 2-0.
In homes across the district there will be split loyalties with families divided between the Three Lions and the Auld Enemy when people sit down to watch the match from Wembley this evening, while some Bradfordians are behind enemy lines for the fixture.
Born in Edinburgh but an adopted Bradfordian, Bradford Council’s chief executive Kersten England said she’ll be watching “from behind a cushion” later today.
She said: “It’s never an easy watch as a Scotland fan, I’ll be watching from behind a cushion or just making cuppas to ease the nerves!
“I’m looking forward to it and it’s going to be a great spectacle having a ‘local derby’ in the Euros.
“I’d say never underestimate Scotland, we’re the underdogs and capable of an upset; if we play with confidence we’ll give England a run for their money.
“My husband is English but I’m Scottish and so are my kids despite being born in Bradford, hopefully they can join me to back me up otherwise it might be a bit lonely for me!”
Will Frew, from Ayrshire, played semi-professional football in Scotland for 15 years. He will be watching tonight’s match with his wife, Gemma, a diehard England fan.
“For Scotland to get to the Euros is fantastic. I’m just hoping for a good game,” said Will. “I’m getting very nervous. Realistically, I think it might be 2-0 or 3-0 to England, but you never know.
“After the year we’ve all had, it’s just great to be able to watch football again. Football brings everyone together.
Will and Gemma, of Wibsey, will be watching the match in a pub in Blackpool. “We’d already booked the trip, with some friends. I’ll be wearing my Scotland shirt for the match,” he added.
“My wife is Bradford born and bred. She’ll be cheering England on. There’s no way I can turn her.
“This is the first England vs Scotland game we’ve watched together. I remember the Euro 96 match - heartbreaking for Scotland, but that goal from Gazza was incredible. He was on a different level.
"I watched England and Scotland play at Wembley in the 1980s. It was an unbelievable experience."
Matt Zina, from Idle, will be cheering for England in a pub in Scotland.
“I booked a holiday to Scotland for this weekend. I realised a few weeks back that I’d be watching the match on foreign soil,” said Matt.
“So I may be a bit quieter than usual - unless one of our boys pulls off a Gazza-type piece of magic, then I may be in trouble!
“I remember when Gazza scored that goal in 96, I ran outside screaming. I could hear all the other households doing the same thing!”
Also watching tonight’s match will be Matt’s six-year-old son, Sebastian.
“He plays for Manchester City and Manchester United Youth Academies. Hopefully he’ll be playing for England one day,” said proud dad Matt. “I reckon the score could be 3-0 and my bet is on Harry Kane to do the business this time. Come on England! It’s coming home.”