Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Wembley crowd urged to pay respect to England and Republic of Ireland anthems

15 FEB 1995: England fans, many displaying the Nazi salute, on the terraces at Lansdowne Road during the violence that saw the Republic of Ireland v England friendly abandoned
15 FEB 1995: England fans, many displaying the Nazi salute, on the terraces at Lansdowne Road during the violence that saw the Republic of Ireland v England friendly abandoned

Ireland goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly has called on fans to respect the national anthems at Wembley tomorrow in order to help the process of avoiding trouble in the first meeting with England since 1995.

Kelly was in goal for Ireland at Lansdowne Road that night, a game that was marred by the disgraceful behaviour of the visiting fans.

Tensions were increased when both anthems were booed and, while Kelly is confident that better segregation and a more developed attitude will ensure there is no difficulty, he feels it's important the crowd sounds the right note from the outset.

"We're hoping that, on this occasion, the anthems are respected," said Kelly. "So everybody thinks, 'well, come on, this is a game of football'. Let's start off on the right foot.

"Now, whether that happens, I don't know. I'm hoping and praying that it does."

England manager Roy Hodgson has already called on his team's supporters to avoid the 'No Surrender To the IRA' chants that were sung on a recent trip to San Marino, amid concerns that a miscreant element were planning to target this fixture.

However, the respective associations believe that the seating arrangements should avoid tensions from flaring if the offensive chants are aired.

"You're not going to get that overlap of the English/Irish fans like there was then," continued Kelly.

"I just think what our fans bring and how they embrace the game will overshadow everything."

Ireland skipper Robbie Keane is expected to train today after arriving from California where he scored a hat-trick for LA Galaxy against Seattle Sounderson Sunday night.

Assistant boss Marco Tardelli confirmed that Keane will start once he confirms his fitness.

Marc Wilson is the only major doubt, with Tardelli stating they will take no risks on his calf with next week's qualifier against the Faroe Islands in mind.

David Meyler is in contention for a midfield role next to James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan if Giovanni Trapattoni switches to a 4-5-1 formation.

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