LONDON – London’s transport bosses temporarily renamed an underground station in honor of England soccer team manager Gareth Southgate after the team flew home following their run to the last four of the World Cup.
England enjoyed their best World Cup performance in 28 years under Southgate’s leadership, reaching the semi-finals and narrowly missing a spot in the final, losing to Croatia after extra-time.
Southgate proved popular with England’s fans for helping create a renewed sense of optimism and after the team returned home on Sunday Transport for London (TfL) rebranded Southgate underground station in North London as the “Gareth Southgate” station for 48 hours.
“We have to celebrate the achievement, it’s important,” said Patricia Gomez, 44, who traveled from Morden in south London on her day off on Monday to get a photograph with the new sign.
“(Gareth) was awesome, he gave the team motivation, he made them work as a family.”
After winning the tournament on Sunday, France also saw similar tributes on the Paris Metro, where six stops have been temporarily renamed.
Southgate’s popularity led many fans to copy his fashion style during matches of wearing a waistcoat as he watched from the dugout. One retailer said sales of waistcoats had soared during the tournament while the day of the semi-final clash with Croatia was dubbed “Waistcoat Wednesday”.
“Maybe we’ll get a statue next,” said Steve Ingall from TfL.