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Kirby Estate: Bermondsey’s biggest England fans show support for Christian Eriksen

Kirby Estate residents in Bermondsey have made special t-shirts to show their support for Christian Eriksen, the Danish captain who collapsed on the pitch last Saturday in his team’s opening match of Euro 2020.

People living on the estate, which as we have reported has a long-running tradition of showing its support for the England team at international tournaments with a huge display of St George’s Crosses, said they were “hanging on every word” as news came through about Eriksen’s condition.

The attacking midfielder, who moved to Inter Milan last year after a six-and-a-half season stint at Tottenham Hotspur, suffered a heart attack and collapsed unconscious just before half-time in Denmark’s match against Finland. He was given urgent medical attention and taken to hospital, where Danish football authorities later confirmed his condition was stable.

Chris Dowse, one of the organisers of the flag display, said he was listening to the match on the radio as he was driving to Salisbury on Saturday afternoon.

“I was hanging on every word they were saying,” Chris told the News. “I knew he wasn’t dead because they would surely just have evacuated the whole stadium, but it was shocking to see.”

“When we found out he was going to be okay, there was just a sheer sense of relief.”

Chris is a Liverpool fan but said club allegiance goes out of the window in times like this.

“It’s not about any team, it’s about football itself,” he added. “If it happened to a young guy like that, it shows it could happen to anyone at any time. And if it’s not your time it’s not your time.”

Chris and the two other organisers on the estate decided to make t-shirts to support Eriksen. They bought the t-shirts and Chris’ partner – “the costume department” added the slogans herself on Saturday evening after the game. “It was just a nice touch,” he said.

The t-shirts read ‘Get Well Soon Christian Eriksen’ but Chris said if there was room he would have added praise for the speed and attention of everyone involved in keeping the Dane alive.

“The quickness of it, how fast the doctors got out there, the English referee Anthony Taylor waving them on, the players surrounding them. They all deserve a lot of credit, it was unbelievable really.”

Although the Danish TV operator was providing the feed, the BBC has been criticised in some quarters for cutting back to the studio quick enough and continuing to show the footage of Eriksen as he was on the ground getting treatment in the aftermath of his heart attack.

“Look how quickly they can cut away to a different angle when a streaker runs onto the pitch,” Chris said. “I completely agree with the criticism to be fair. Especially when they zoomed in on Eriksen’s wife as she was being comforted.”

Chris was more positive about the England team’s 1-0 victory over Croatia on Sunday. “We looked frightening going forward, if we had taken the chances early on I think it would have been an even better result.”


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