Here we go! Hartlepool footie fans off to the Euros

England fans Ian Hendry (white shirt) and Richard Boddy set of to support England during Euro 2016. Photograph by FRANK REID

England fans Ian Hendry (white shirt) and Richard Boddy set of to support England during Euro 2016. Photograph by FRANK REID

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England fans from Hartlepool have left for France to cheer on the Three Lions at Euro 2016.

The tournament kicks off today and thousands of England fans have made the trip to support Roy Hodgson’s men.

England fans Ian Hendry (white shirt) and Richard Boddy set of to support England during Euro 2016. Photograph by FRANK REID

England fans Ian Hendry (white shirt) and Richard Boddy set of to support England during Euro 2016. Photograph by FRANK REID

Among them will be pals Ian Hendry, 47, and Richard Boddy, 36, from Hartlepool.

The pair have tickets to all three of England’s group games and hope to cheer England all the way to the final.

For Ian, a plumbing and heating engineer, it could be his last time supporting the national side at a major tournament.

He said: “I have been travelling with England for 18 years. The first tournament I went to was the World Cup in France in 1998.

This might be my last tournament so it would be nice to finish where I started

England fan Ian Hendry

“This might be my last tournament so it would be nice to finish where I started.”

It was during France 98 that Ian appeared in the Mail after he was pictured at an England game wearing a Hartlepool United top.

He has also followed the team away in the Ukraine, Portugal and Switzerland.

Ian and Richard set off yesterday and are due to meet up with another six supporters from town including brothers Danny and Andrew Sanderson.

England fan Ian Hendry of to support England during Euro 2016. Photograph by FRANK REID

England fan Ian Hendry of to support England during Euro 2016. Photograph by FRANK REID

The fans all hail from Greatham and are avid Pools supporters.

They are heading to Marseille for England’s opening game on Saturday night against Russia.

And Ian, a dad-of-three, who is married to Tracey, is confident that England can make a deep run in the tournament after the World Cup disappointment two years ago.

He added: “We have got the best attacking squad we have had for a long time so I’m confident.

“I’m always confident, but you have to be being an England fan!”

Richard, who works offshore and is dad to Grace, 11, and Zak, six, is also feeling positive.

“I think we will get to the semi-finals and who knows after that,” he said.

And they have not let warnings of terrorism stop them from cheering the lads on.

Richard, married to Claire, added: “It is a risk and we are aware of it. We are not dismissing the threat but hasn’t deterred us in any way.”