Express & Star

Mark Andrews: Tips for travelling England fans, flattening towns, and don't drink the water

The Foreign Office has issued important advice for football fans travelling to Germany for Euro 24: some German beers may be stronger than domestic ones.

England fans are being warned to beware of German beer

"Beer can be stronger than in the UK, so drink responsibly, know your limits and respect local laws," said the official guidance.

I'm pretty sure that if I were in charge, I would have come up with some more practical advice than that. Something along the lines of: "People in Germany tend not to drink proper beer, just that horrible lager stuff, so travellers may wish to consider stuffing their suitcases with real ales from their local off licence before heading out."

Or how about: "Any more than five plates of schnitzel can cause stomach cramps." Or "It is advisable to ensure you are not outnumbered by home supporters before chanting 'Two world wars and one world cup' in a crowded bar. Particularly if they have been drinking the strong German beers."

It might also be useful to point out that a German five-pint stein will hold considerably more of the stronger German beer than a British pint glass. Always happy to help.

The Foreign Office guidance advises fans that they may not be allowed to attend matches if they are too inebriated. Perhaps it should also include some warnings about the potential pitfalls of what may happen if they are admitted into the stadium. Something like: "Some supporters experience feelings of frustration by Mr Southgate's perceived caution, and many feel disappointed that Jordan Henderson is not as quick as he was a few years ago. And that if England find themselves in a penalty shoot-out with the Jerries, it tends not to end very well."

* * *

Talking of official guidance, participants in today's Oxford-Cambridge boat race have been told 'Don't throw your cox in the water' once the action is over. Which I think is pretty good advice on any occasion.

Apparently, there are concerns that the River Thames may be contaminated with substances that are not necessarily conducive to good health. Human faeces, e.coli, stuff like that. I guess that's Generation Snowflake for you, they don't know what's good for them.

Meanwhile, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has advised people not to panic about the financial difficulties of the water company that serves that neck of the woods.

"Thames Water is still solvent," he assured folk. Yes Jeremy, we know Thames water is a solvent. It is what it is a solvent to that is worrying people.

* * *

Sir Keir Starmer was in Dudley this week, questioning whether the Government had delivered on its 'levelling up' pledges for the town.

Helpfully, the Conservatives have produced a leaflet outlining a number of schemes which have benefited from levelling-up cash. It is just unfortunate most of these projects have, so far at least, involved knocking things down rather than building them up: the flattening of the eyesore Cavendish House office, block, the demolition of the Hippodrome theatre, and the imminent demolition of the bus station and a neighbouring supermarket. Which sounds not so much 'levelling up Dudley', as 'levelling Dudley'.