Peterlee Welsh supporter 'getting some stick' ahead of World Cup clash

Graeme Batten said he is so proud that Wales have actually made it to the World Cup finals. Credit: Family Handout

A former England supporter will be following in the footsteps of his dad and grandad when he cheers on Wales in tonight's World Cup clash.

Graeme Batten, from Peterlee in County Durham, has been supporting the Welsh side since 2003 after becoming "fed up" with England's team.

The 52-year-old, alongside his dad David Batten, support Wales because of his grandfather, who was from Rhondda Valley, a coal mining area in the county of Glamorgan, in Wales.

Graeme said: "In about 2003 I got a bit fed up of England and I said to my dad, shall we just go to the Wales games because we'll have better enjoyment.

"It's taken over how I used to feel about England back in the day."

Graeme has his Welsh flag ready. Credit: Graeme Batten

However, Graeme said that his support of Wales, being an Englishman himself, has not come without criticism.

He said: "I've had a little bit of jip today because I posted on my local social media, saying it's a bit nerve-wracking for this match day today and some people saying 'who are you supporting tonight?' because they know that obviously I do support Wales, but back in the day I used to support England.

"We have a bit of banter me and my friends about whether it's Wales or England.

"But my dad has always supported Wales and everyone knows this so he doesn't get as much stick as as I do.

"I just take it on the chin."

Graeme and his dad went to watch Wales in the Euro championships in France, 2016.

He said it was the first time they had seen the dragon's qualify for anything.

Graeme added: "We thought we're never going to see them qualify for the world cup, its never going to happen in our lifetime and it was just a proud moment, just to see it happen

"It was like the most wonderful feeling that we've ever had.

"I'm just so proud that Wales have actually made it to the World Cup finals."

Looking ahead to Wales' match against England on Tuesday 29 November, Graeme is hopeful for a win.

He said: "May the best team win, which is obviously Wales.

"Lechyd da to the Welsh team."

England and Wales will go head to head their final World Cup group stage match and with neither nation yet qualified for the knockouts, it is still all to play for.

The so-called 'Battle of Britain' kicks off at 7pm on Tuesday at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium for the last matchday of Group B.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...