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England fans ambassador tells trouble-makers to stay away

Written by: Staff

BUHLERTAL, Germany, June 29 (Reuters) Trouble-makers should stay away from England's World Cup quarter-final with Portugal, the FA's fans' ambassador said today.

Actor Ray Winstone said the behaviour of the travelling England fans was improving but the mass arrests in Stuttgart last weekend were a warning to potential hooligans.

More than 500 fans were detained in the Schlossplatz after England supporters descended on the city for Sunday's second round match against Ecuador, which their team won 1-0.

Police are now braced for the arrival of more than 60,000 England fans in the former mining city of Gelsenkirchen --population 274,000 -- for Saturday's game with Portugal.

''I think we've had 500 arrests overall out of 40, 50 or 60,000 people which is fantastic,'' said the shaven-headed film star who often plays violent thugs in soaps and movies.

''The fans that were arrested have had that reminder and you can't put that on 40,000 fans, when 200 of them misbehave.'' THE MESSAGE ''I think they've got the message. They were locked up for the night and told not to come back to the area gain. We don't want them if they behave like that,'' added Winstone.

''And that's exactly how it should be. Why spoil it for another 30 or 40,000 England fans, who are here? ''Everyone is having a party. And that goes for German fans and the Portuguese fans, too.'' Winstone, who supports West Ham United and has followed England for years, said swift police action prevented far more serious problems in Stuttgart but he played down the trouble.

''The disturbances the other night were pocketed over two nights and were in the same places, the same bar and literally 100 yards away there were families having dinner. It was one incident and we've got to look at that properly.

''I think it (the World Cup) has been a great success and there has been a festival atmosphere so I'm very pleased with that and I've played a small part in that and the FA and the police have played an even bigger part.'' Questioned by the British media on whether he should be a fans' ambassador, given his tough on-screen image, he said his job as an actor should not be confused with his FA duties.

''Yeah, I played violent people in films and it doesn't necessarily mean anything. Maybe, it is a good thing that I am the one who is here and against it.'' REUTERS DH KP1747

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