For years after his infamous penalty miss at Euro 96, Gareth Southgate was abused in the street and admitted just a fortnight ago that it was ‘always going to hurt’.
The now-England manager was even accused of ‘cashing in’ on the incident after starring in a Pizza Hut advert making fun of it just five months later.
Some 25 years later, Southgate faced more penalty heartache with England after three of his young stars missed spot kicks of their own in last night’s Euro 2020 final.
In the aftermath of the shootout at Wembley, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka were all subject to vile racist abuse before fans rallied around the trio and began flooding them with messages of support.
Southgate, 50, has spoken at length over the years about the dramatic miss which came at the end of the semi-final of Euro 96 against Germany at the same stadium.
England manager Gareth Southgate leaves the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire this morning
Southgate consoles Bukayo Saka after his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final last night
He has made clear that he felt responsible for ending the feel-good factor sweeping England at that tournament, which was the last held in England before this summer.
Most recently he said nothing could get rid of the pain, after being asked about the miss following England’s win over Germany in the second round of Euro 2020.
Fans support England stars amid racist slurs
England fans have been showing their support for Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka after all three missed penalties in last night’s Euro 2020 final against England.
The trio have suffered abhorrent racist abuse on social media in the hours since the match ended. The Met Police condemned this as ‘unacceptable’ and said they were investigating.
And fans rallied round the stars this morning, posting messages of support to Saka such as ‘Keep your head up mate’ and ‘We’re all behind you’.
The English FA said it was ‘appalled’ by the ‘disgusting behaviour’.
He also admitted that the sight of his former England team-mates celebrating the 2-0 victory on June 29 at the same stadium caused a bit of sadness in him.
Southgate told the BBC: ‘I was looking at the big screen and I saw David Seaman up there. The team-mates that played with me, I can’t change that, so that’s always going to hurt.
‘But what’s lovely is we’ve given people another day to remember.’
He also revealed in 2012 how his initial thought when he missed the penalty in 1996 was for his team-mates because ‘it was a great chance for them to win something’.
Speaking to FourFourTwo magazine, Southgate added: ‘It affected me massively afterwards and it still does to this day. Every single day now, when I walk down the street, it is always mentioned to me.
‘Of course, it is annoying. When you have played for 20 years and that is the first thing people think about you, it is a bit of a downer. Some people still abuse me about it in the street.’
In November 1996, Southgate took part in a comical Pizza Hut advert alongside Chris Waddle and Stuart Pearce who had also missed penalties for England against Germany at the 1990 World Cup.
The advert made fun of all three for their penalty misses, with Southgate initially wearing a paper bag over his head with eye holes cut out.
Pearce tells a waitress: ‘Miss, Pizza Hut pan pizzas, unless I’m miss-taken. Thank you, miss. Come on Gareth, it only took me six years to get over it – have some pan pizza.’
Southgate then takes the bag off his head, saying: ‘Thanks a lot boys, I feel much better now’ – before walking into a wall as Pearce says: ‘Ooh, this time he’s hit the post.’
He later said in 2012: ‘I wish I hadn’t done it, people thought I was cashing in on it.’
Southgate missed the winning penalty in the semi-finals of the competition held in England
Pearce (right) received intense criticism for missing, just like Southgate (left) did six years later
And Pearce revealed in an interview with the Daily Mail in November 2019 that he and Waddle persuaded Southgate to take part.
Southgate with his wife Alison at Wimbledon in July 2019
Pearce said: ‘Gareth didn’t want to do it but we persuaded him and said it would be good for his image. The truth is that it couldn’t happen without him and me and Chris wanted the money.’
Another of Southgate’s team-mates, David Seaman, told TalkSPORT last week that Tony Adams mocked him when they went to a bar after the game.
Seaman said: ‘Gareth walked in and Tony was like, ‘Boooo, that was a s*** penalty!”
Southgate was also made fun of by punk group The Business who wrote a song about him called Southgate (Euro 96), with the chorus saying: ‘Southgate’s going home, he’s going – oh no, he’s missed the bus (you c***!)’
His mother also famously said to him after the match in 1996: ‘Why didn’t you just belt it?’
He was also spoken to by then prime minister John Major following the game, who called him ‘Gary’ and asked: ‘How are you feeling’, before adding: ‘Oh no, I shouldn’t ask you that.’
Speaking to the media after the match, Southgate simply said: ‘I feel I’ve let the whole country down.’
In November 1996, Southgate took part in a comical Pizza Hut advert alongside Chris Waddle and Stuart Pearce who had also missed penalties for England against Germany, in 1990
To get away from England before Germany had even won the final, he went on holiday to Bali with his future wife Alison, whom he married one year later.
However when they were halfway up a volcano in the country, he was stopped by a local man who asked him if he was English. Southgate nodded and the man laughed, saying: ‘Aha, you penalty drama!’
Southgate told the Telegraph in July 1996, one month after his miss: ‘I was absolutely in the middle of nowhere. I looked at Alison, my girlfriend, and said, ‘That’s the way things have changed now’.’
In that interview, he added: ‘I don’t think you ever get that sort of thing out of your system. I’m sure people will always say, ‘He was the idiot who missed the penalty’.
‘But hopefully I’ve got enough time in my career to do other things. I’ve got the ambition and the ability to make people remember me in other ways.’
Southgate celebrates England beating Colombia on penalties at World Cup 2018 in Moscow
This is something Southgate has certainly achieved, having led England to a World Cup semi-final in 2018 and now a final at the European Championships.
He also oversaw penalty shootout wins in matches at both World Cup 2018 against Colombia and the Nations League against Switzerland one year later.
And in August last year, Southgate revealed a conversation with Pearce was ‘invaluable’ in helping him deal with his Euro 96 penalty miss.
He said: ‘I remember going back to the hotel and sitting having dinner with Stuart Pearce, who’d lived through what I was going to live through.’
‘He was able to immediately give me some information about what the next few months might look like and the things I might experience. Looking back that was invaluable really.’
The England boss spoke with the Duke of Cambridge – who attended last night’s game – as part of the Heads Up campaign’s #SoundofSupport series.
Southgate with England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson (centre) and team-mates David Beckham (left) and David Seaman (back right) after a meeting with Tony Blair at Downing Street in 2002
Southgate with his wife Alison after their marriage in Crawley, West Sussex, in July 1997
Another England player who suffered abuse was David Beckham after he got sent off at the 1998 World Cup for kicking out at Argentina’s Diego Simone
Southgate also admitted in that interview that the penalty miss in the semi-final against Germany was the toughest moment in his professional life.
‘You’re in probably the biggest game the team have had for 30 years at that time, the country was on a tidal wave of emotion and good feeling, and then you walk away from the stadium feeling you’re the person who is ultimately responsible for that finishing,’ he said.
‘I never felt anger, I just felt regret, remorse, responsibility. To a small degree that still lives with me. To have failed under pressure under that huge spotlight is hard professionally to take.’
The abuse suffered by Southgate was also felt by England’s David Beckham after he got sent off at the 1998 World Cup for kicking out at Argentina’s Diego Simone.
Reflecting on it last year, Beckham said: ‘I made a mistake in ’98 and the reaction at the time was pretty brutal.’ But he added: ”If social media was around when I was going through that time in ’98 it would have been a whole different story.’