Flying the flag for England

Chasing a World Cup dream can’t come quickly enough for Andy.

Friday can’t come quickly enough for Andy Coates. That evening he flies off in pursuit of a dream.

In a month’s time he hopes to see a jubilant England team lift the World Cup.

Andy, who is 28 and has lived in Stevenage for most of his life, is off to South Africa with his girlfriend, Emma Sproat.

He had been planning on going since failing to get any tickets for the World Cup 2006 in Germany.

This time round he has tickets for every game involving England including the final if the team reaches the ultimate challenge.

Andy and Emma have booked six weeks off work for their trip of a lifetime. She will accompany Andy to games for the first two weeks, combining that with getting in as much sight-seeing as possible, and then fly on to Australia to visit her uncle.

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Andy will stay on for as long as England is in the competition and then rejoin Emma to continue their adventure Down Under.

He has regularly supported Stevenage FC since he was 13. His first England game was home to Italy in 2002 when the home side lost 2-1. It was played at Elland Road which was local to him at the time as he was a student at Leeds University.

Since 2005 he has been at nearly every home game and about 10 away games.

Assessing England’s chances, Andy said: I personally think that the quarter finals are ‘par’ really. We should make them. Anything less that that will be an under-performance, and anything better than that will be great.”

If England and France both win their groups, they should meet in the quarter finals.

“They’re not as good as they used to be, and if we have the majority of our first XI available we should beat them.

“So a semi against Brazil, which unless we get a lot of luck/amazing performance/they’re below par we will probably lose.”

But he intends to enjoy himself for as long as it lasts.

* Are you also going to support England in South Africa? Let us know your plans and how you get on out there by emailing us at