The Euros is a funny old time. As our home turf becomes embroiled in Anglomania, people across the country suddenly become experts in defence and set pieces. St. George’s flags hang from your neighbour’s window (does Keith even like football?) and, most importantly, every man and his dog sets to work on hosting a boozy soiree to mark the first England kick-off.
Planning a party with a Waitrose spread and a bottle of Brut? Yeah, no chance – it’s the Euros, and people want a raucous time, not a regal one. If you want top trumps on a summer party to remember (or inadvertently forget), read on for our expertly curated and not-at-all-tacky must-haves.
England Till I Die
Aside from the World Cup and BNP rallies, the Euros is probably the only time you’ll see such a blanket outpouring of national pride. And no one’s exempt: even if you’re more au fait with pedicures than the Premier League, getting kitted out in support of our lads is mandatory.
On the more affordable end of the scale, Tu Clothing has released the Admiral White England Polo Shirt at just £16 – plain, simple and a shoo-in for any weekend five-a-sides or gym sessions.
But, if you’re England through and through, Nike’s official away shirt is available for £50 in a glorious shade of red.
Been saving your three-grill gas-powered BBQ beauty for just this occasion? Don’t bother – it’s not worth risking in the presence of pint-swishing, accident-prone compatriots.
But that doesn’t mean you should fire up a sad disposable either. This all-natural barbecue (£10) is made entirely from alder wood and alder charcoal complete with a natural vegetable oil lighting wick; no gross chemicals and you can bin it in the knowledge that you’re not harming the planet as much.
There’s nothing more woeful than warm cans of crap lager – not only does it taste like Portaloo swill, it’ll be as refreshing as a familiar chant about 10 German Bombers. To that end, get yourself a decent drink cooler akin to the VonShef Litre Drinks Dispenser Infuser (£19.99).
Not to be confused with a ghastly cap brand from the early 2000s, the VonShef’s multi-use nature means it can be dusted off for more civil affairs – so you can chill whatever booze you fancy. And, at a 14-pint capacity, there’s no excuse for sobriety.
You’re Not Singing Anymore
With all the chanting/slurring, it’s easy for a pundit’s commentary to get drowned out – which makes a decent set of speakers essential.
The Sony GTK-X1BT (£220.37) is a sound investment for any rowdy carousal and once hooked up to your flat-screen TV, will make your living room seem a lot like Marseilles. It boasts Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a massive 500W audio output – perfect for amplifying any celebration (or drowning out losers’ sobs).
Just please don’t play the official David Guetta Euro 2016 track – really, don’t.
The good thing about a Euros party is the lack of pretence – you don’t necessarily need carafes of a respectable red wine, you don’t need a formal dress code and you certainly don’t need a scented candle that will only double as a serious fire hazard. So don’t take things too seriously.
At any other point in the year, smearing your face in St. George’s flag may seem crass and imperialist, but at the Euros? A face-painting kit (£1.49) is compulsory.
You’re nothing but an ardent football fan for all of 90 minutes. If your guests have any sort of manners, they’ll be sure to bring a few beers – and hopefully some spirits – that won’t fit in the fridge. No problem. Bang them in your giant inflatable football drinks cooler (£9.99), of course.
And as for all the greasy BBQ morsels? A paper plate that is the height of tastefulness, shaped in a replica football stadium (£4.97 for 8).