An England fan living in Germany will miss “a real chance in a lifetime” to watch England play at Euro 2020 after returning a positive Covid test before he was due to travel to Italy.
Gary Wills, 49, was born in Atherstone in the UK before moving to Hamburg in 2003, where he has lived ever since.
The Stoke City fan, a market researcher, had received his second coronavirus vaccine on Monday and after England’s victory against Germany, he secured a ticket, flight and accommodation to go to Rome for the quarter-final against Ukraine.
He experienced headaches and a dry throat during the week, which he believed to be side effects of the vaccine – by Friday however he had returned two positive Covid tests.
“I was quite nonchalant when taking (the test),” he told the PA news agency. “Never considering the prospect of what was about to happen.
“And then I was called in and told it was positive, totally gutted.
“For me, it was a real chance in a lifetime thing, a real blow.
“Now I even have to face the fact that if we get to the final I can’t watch with other England fans even in the pub because of two weeks’ quarantine.”
Mr Wills had spent almost £600 on the trip – he said he was able to get a refund on his accommodation, but the ticket was non-transferable and he could only rebook the flight.
He will instead watch the game from his living room in Hamburg, but encouraged those who have made it to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to make the most of the occasion.
“Just get behind them, be as vociferous as you can,” he said.
“For the first time this tournament they haven’t got the comfort of Wembley and I don’t buy (that) this is going to be an easy game – there aren’t any.
“They might really need you tonight – really enjoy it like it’s your last game. These opportunities don’t come along that often.”