Wearside woman living in Italy predicts 2-1 win and says Italian TV presenters are praising England
A former Sunderland couple has described life in the soccer hotbed of Italy as the nation gets ready for the Euro final.
Temperatures have soared to a sweltering 38 degrees in Cingoli where Sandra Perry, nee Laws, and husband Greg live.
But that’s nothing compared to the football fever which is gripping the nation ahead of Sunday’s match with England
There’s a special link to the Italian team in the area where Greg and Sandra live and it is all to do with the manager Roberto Mancini.
Sandra said: “Roberto was born in Jesi which is around 20 minutes drive from here and also is in the same region of Le Marche as ourselves (Cingoli).
"Jesi is very chic with ancient palazzos and some very expensive designer shops. We would anticipate the bars and restaurants in Jesi will be full with supporters endorsing his dream.”
But Sandra and Greg are just as passionate about England’s team and Sandra said: “We watched the match against Denmark and it was a real nail biter.
"It was great seeing the Sunderland AFC banner proudly displayed behind the goalpost.”
Italian commentators were very complimentary about the English team.
"The two presenters kept repeating that the English team were tired and very brave. At the end of the match a couple of guests said how well the English had played.
“We could just detect that two presenters who will also be at Wembley on Sunday wanted England to win and although they want Italy to win we’re unsure how the match will finish.”
Sandra, from Farringdon and husband Greg run a small bed and breakfast and olive oil business in Cingoli.
Sandra was the daughter of the late Arthur and Ada Laws. Arthur, a former telephone engineer, is fondly remembered as one of the founders of Farringdon Social Club.
Later, she met a Business Studies undergraduate from Sunderland University (then Sunderland Polytechnic) and eventually married Greg.
Greg spent one year working at Haskel Energy Systems on North Hylton Road and returned to complete his final university year. Sandra worked in Pallion for Bonas Machine Co eventually becoming responsible for shipping the firm’s looms throughout the world.
They moved to Lincolnshire where Sandra soon became employed using her legal skills.
Greg worked in sales and marketing and had the chance to visit Bologna and Milan on business. He took along Sandra and now they call it home.
However Sunday’s match finishes, Sandra is confident they will be well received by the locals.
Older Italians have ‘lots of cuddles and stories’ for their Wearside friend and Sandra explained that some of them were ex-prisoners of war who were sent to England.
“Many young ones too have a natural affection for England so we should be safe if England win....which we hope they do.”
Sandra previously told the Echo: “Supermarkets in Italy have been offering huge discounts on beer and snacks which are ‘essential items for football fans watching the action on their televisions at home’.
And Sandra’s prediction for the game? “It will be very close and hopefully 2-1 to England and I just hope it doesn't go to penalties.”