Mystery of unused Euro 96 tickets found in suitcase solved

Euro 96 tickets Image copyright Chris Salt
Image caption Chris Salt was 16 when his mother gave him the tickets in 1996

A football fan has solved the mystery behind the discovery of a set of unused tickets for every match of the Euro 96 football championship.

The 31 tickets, which have a face value of £1,680, were found in an old suitcase in Stoke-on-Trent and are set to be auctioned in Derbyshire.

Chris Salt read about the discovery and remembered that his mother had given him an almost identical set of tickets.

She worked for Synchro, which distributed tickets for the tournament.

"I was 16 at the time and I was a big football fan so my mum thought she would give me some," said Mr Salt, who is from Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, where Synchro was based.

"The tickets I have are in an envelope from The Portman Group head office in London, who were responsible for the printing. It seems they printed them off for staff on request."

Image copyright Chris Salt
Image caption Chris Salt's tickets are printed with the same seat numbers as the ones found in Stoke-on-Trent
Image copyright Hansons Auctioneers
Image caption The only other difference is they have "Chris Salt" on them, while the others say "Ben Edwards"

The tournament was held in England in June 1996 and had the slogan "Football Comes Home".

Both sets of tickets have numbers on them which suggest they were printed on different dates in November 1996, long after the tournament ended.

Mr Salt's tickets are printed with the same seat numbers as the ones found in Stoke-on-Trent.

The only other difference is they have "Chris Salt" printed on them, while the other set say "Ben Edwards".

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"My mum thinks Ben Edwards was the son of her boss," said Mr Salt, who supports Stoke City.

The "Ben Edwards" tickets are due to be sold by Hansons on 23 May and have an estimate of £100-£150.

Alistair Lofley, sports valuer at Hansons Auctioneers, said: "I was baffled, particularly as some matches were on the same day.

"If they were printed as a souvenir just after the tournament in 1996 that would make sense, and football collectors will still be fascinated by them.

"It will be interesting to see if more people come forward to say they have a full set of Euro 96 tickets."

When football came home...

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Paul Gascoigne celebrates scoring for England against Scotland in a group stage match
  • Euro 96 was the first major football tournament to be held in England since the 1966 World Cup
  • Sixteen teams played in eight English cities, including Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham
  • England, after a draw against Switzerland, beat Scotland 2-0 and thrashed the Netherlands 4-1
  • A penalty shoot-out followed in the quarter-final match with Spain
  • England were then beaten on penalties by Germany, at Wembley, in front of 75,862 people
  • Germany went on to win the tournament, beating the Czech Republic courtesy of a "golden goal" in extra time

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