Gareth Southgate blamed for England fan being jailed after Euro 1996 penalty

Gareth Southgate was sent a letter by a man blaming him for being in prison – because he got locked up for rioting when he missed his infamous penalty for England.

England boss Southgate, 50, says he was sent the angry note by a lag who told him it was his fault he was locked up.

The convict had apparently been nicked when Gareth missed a crucial spot kick against Germany – sending England crashing out of Euro 96.

He revealed getting the letter on the latest episode of Ferne Cotton's Happy Place Podcast – saying it came among hundreds he was sent after the game.

Southgate said: "Some of the letters I had, although the negative comments always register more prominently in your mind, they were far outweighed by the positive letters and messages that I received.

"There were people who had suffered massive events in their life, the loss of close family, people who had disabled children, people who had lost their jobs.

"There was a guy in jail, he partly blamed me for getting arrested because he was rioting on the night that I missed the penalty!

"I'm prepared to take responsibility for a lot of things but not that."

He added that he gained a little perspective after the ordeal, and the positive messages far outweighed the negative ones.

He said: "There were people who had suffered massive events in heir life – loss of really close family, people who had disabled children, people who'd lost their jobs," he added.

"Those things give you a little perspective that ultimately this is a game of football. I desperately wanted it to go well but my whole life has sadly been dedicated to winning games of football which is really of no importance."

"But football has a chance to change other people's lives and professionally you want it to be perfect."

Cotton added that football can be a very "harsh", "critical" and "mean-spirited" industry.

Southgate's penalty miss is a sore subject this day and the ex-Villa and Middlesbrough defender has struggled to shake off the feelings of disappointment.

He said: "I felt very heavily that I'd let down those that had worked so hard with me.

"Walking down the street and lads poking their head out the van and shouting abuse at you and that's hard to take.

"You go to away grounds and fans are chanting and of course that's quite an ordeal and although I wanted to battle against that and prove that I could play against them inside that's of course hurting you because part of paying for the national is that you represent all those people.

"You can see the feelings of negatively against you and that's hard to take. So it took me a long time, I saw sports psychologists a couple of times."

Southgate said he refuses to engage with social media around the time of football matches, but commended the likes of Marcus Rashford for using such platforms to make a positive impact on the footballing community.

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