England beat Italy 2-1 in Napoli to start the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a bang and got some revenge for the Euro 2020 final in the process. England fans surely feel proud of their team. But probably not as proud of themselves, or at least one of them. A 27-year-old Englishman lifted a vile flag celebrating Diego Armando Maradona’s death in the city he is worshipped as much as Naples’ patron saint, San Gennaro. The fact that he has a controversial history should not come as a surprise.
Jake Hepple picture in a train in Naples holding a banner reading “Diego’s in a box.” His ticket to the game of Italy vs England was cancelled and he was banned from entering the stadium. The “Stadio Diego Armando Maradona,” to be exact.
Yes, there are English fans that never liked Diego, after the “Hand of God” goal against their national team back in 1986 (when Hepple wasn’t yet born). But there is so much space between not liking a footballer, one of the greatest to ever play the game, and celebrating his death. Especially when this comes in the place where he is treated as a local hero.
This is not the first time Jack Hepple has caused such controversy. The Burley fan first came to the news in 2020, when he hired a plane to fly over the Etihad Stadium ahead of a Burnley vs Manchester City clash. The banner carried by the airplane read “White Lives Matter Burnley.” His then-employer immediately fired him.
Allegedly a member of The Suicide Squad, Burley’s hooligan firm, he has in the past been pictured with far-right politician Tommy Robinson, leader of the xenophobic English Defence League, and Andy Frain (commonly known as “Andy the Nightmare”), convicted Chelsea hooligan and ex-KuKluxKlan member.
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