England vs Slovakia: Fans chant 'Vardy's on fire' in streets of St Etienne before Group B clash

20 Jun

It’s the craze sweeping the nation – sticking the two-syllable name of a striker into Gala’s 1997 hit ‘Freed from Desire’ and chanting the refrain – and now, England fans have taken it to France.

The chant, popularised by Wigan Athletic fans in tribute to their free-scoring frontman Will Grigg, has previously been before both of England’s opening games against Russia and Wales.

In St Etienne, however, prior to the final group match against Slovakia, it was given the proper shirts-off, lager-spilling, ‘let’s pretend we’ve lost our minds in a town square’ treatment.

Jamie Vardy is the man who has the honour of replacing Grigg in the England fans’ version and he will be hoping to repay them on Thursday night.

For the first time in this tournament, Vardy will start from the off, having scored off the bench in Thursday’s dramatic late win over Wales in Lens.

Grigg himself is, of course, at Euro 2016 with Northern Ireland, but is yet to play a single minute of football.

The scenes in St Etienne were welcomed by many of the reporters present, having witnessed violence in both Marseille and Lille prior to England’s previous games.

There have been few reports of trouble in St Etienne prior to the Slovakia game but French police had to step in to stop local hooligans’ attacking on Sunday night.

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