THOUSANDS of dapper England fans have donned a waistcoat today in tribute to Gareth Southgate who has been wearing the garment throughout the World Cup.
Three Lions supporters both home and abroad have turned on the style to celebrate “Waistcoat Wednesday.”
Marks & Spencer revealed yesterday that its waistcoat sales had doubled since the start of the World Cup thanks to the Southgate effect.
But the England boss has played down his status as a fashion trend setter.
He said: "I was not a renowned fashion icon through my playing career, so it's rather strange to be one now.
“We’re really proud of the support we’re receiving. Our country has had a long time of suffering in terms of football."
In Russia, England Supports band drummer Steve Holmes, from Sheffield, was dressed in a £35 M&S version of the garment.
He said: “The fit is a little snug but I’ll look likely a proper gent as we sail into the World Cup final.
“Gareth is our hero and if we all have his style, we’ll go all the way and bring it home.”
Martyn Olds, 63, who runs a cardboard box firm in Bristol said: “I love this new Southgate look and I’ll be dressed to the nines at the game.
“Southgate has been nothing short of a genius after we suffered so long under idiots like McClaren, Capello and Hodgson.
“Gareth not only looks smart, he thinks smart and that’s why we’re going to win the World Cup.”
Retired HR consultant Stuart Mackenzie, 67, from London said: “I’ve never felt smarter - it’s how a true English gentleman should look at a football match.
“This World Cup has been an incredible experience and just keeps getting better and better.
“And now we look the part as well!”
50,000 BEERS IN THE AIR
FANS will throw an estimated 50,000 pints in the air for each goal England get tonight.
The British Beer and Pub Association made the claim after watching the BBC’s footage of fans celebrating Saturday’s two quarter-final goals against Sweden.
Up to 20 million pints are expected to be sold during tonight’s clash.
England have reached the semi-finals at the World Cup for the first time since 1990, and confidence among supporters is growing that the national team will win the title for the first time since 1966.
Fans are expected to neck 18 million pints - while 30 million will tune in to watch tonight's game.
Southgate said: "We've had the chance to make a difference. Our supporters, our country has had a long time of suffering in terms of football, and the enthusiasm they have for these players, because of the way they've not only the way they've played, but the way they're conducted themselves, they've been brilliant ambassadors for our country, and I think everybody can see that they're proud to wear the shirt."
Kevin Miles of the Football Supporters Federation expects between 5,000 and 7,000 fans for tonight’s clash against Croatia, but admits "a lot of people are doing it last minute, so it's very difficult to put numbers on it."
Airlines have offered extra places on flights to Moscow and some Russians have sold their tickets after their team lost to Croatia.
But Miles admitted high prices “have put a lot of people off” who were thinking of travelling at short notice.