World Cup 2018: England fans' premature tattoos

By Bethan Bell
BBC News

image copyrightTeddy Allen

Imagine being so certain of England's footballing greatness you decided to get a permanent tattoo celebrating the Three Lions winning the World Cup.

So confident were you, you scorned the idea of tattooing the visage of an admired player or a patriotic trio of lions. No, you decided to have the date added, along with the proclamation: "World Cup Winners".

And then it all went wrong. What now?

The left thigh of Teddy Allen currently sports a drawing of Harry Kane's delighted and slightly-shocked face.

Crowned with the words "Sir Harry", it is cradled in the sentence: "World Cup Winners 2018".

The 30-year-old, whose wrist also bears the slogan "Its [sic] coming home", decided to get the tattoo after watching England beat Sweden in the quarter finals.

Is he planning to get rid of it now his heroes fell against Croatia?


image captionTeddy Allen said his partner thought he was a "bit daft" for having the Harry Kane tattoo
image copyrightTeddy Allen
image captionHis wrist tattoo is less specific about when England will win the World Cup

"It is staying for good," Mr Allen, from Biddulph, Staffordshire, said.

"England have done us proud and if you can't see that then you're not worthy of the Three Lions."

Another confident supporter was Jamie Richardson from Leeds.

He had a 8in (20cm) design of the World Cup and the legend "England 2018 World Cup winners" tattooed on his tummy while watching England's 6-1 win against Panama.

He was so sure of England's eventual success he decided at half time to get a tattoo to commemorate their winning the trophy.

"I rang about 10 tattoo shops trying to find someone to do it so early in the competition and eventually one in Castleford agreed," he says.

"For me it was like a premonition, as if someone said 'get that tattoo Jamie lad and they'll bring that cup home'.

"I had no doubts whatsoever."

media captionJamie Richardson says he does not regret his tattoo

And now? Mr Richardson is a man with no regrets.

"Of course I'm going to keep it. When I'm 70 years old and retired and in the working men's club with my old mates and we're skint and ordering half-a-lagers they'll say 'Jamie - remember when you got that tattoo all them years ago?'

"They'll say 'let's have one more look' and I'll remember it for the rest of my life.

image captionMr Richardson said he would "never, ever, ever" get the tattoo removed

"I have had the best two weeks of my life. I have been so proud to be English and nothing will change that.

"I will never, ever, ever get this tattoo removed."

Although Messrs Allen and Richardson are unlikely to change their minds, a study published by the British Association of Dermatology indicated about a third of people with a tattoo regretted having it.

But tattoo removal can be painful, expensive and time consuming.

A laser is used to break down the ink into tiny fragments, which are eventually absorbed into the bloodstream and safely passed out of the body.

In the UK, private clinics charge about £150 a session to remove a small tattoo and up to £800 for a larger one - and the costs mount up. According to the NHS, it can take 10 or more sessions to remove the image and many tattoos cannot be entirely removed. Three out of 100 people will be left with a permanent scar.

People can minimise the risk of getting a tattoo they will later rue by going to a reputable studio that is registered with the British Tattoo Artists Federation or is endorsed by the Tattooing and Piercing Industry Union, Public Health England or the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Most tattoo studios will also insist on identity documents and refuse to work on somebody they believe to be drunk or under the influence of drugs.

image copyrightGetty Images

Maisie Llewellyn, of Cookies Custom Tattooing Studio in Worcester, says they also consider their clients' futures.

"We get a lot of young people coming in wanting tattoos on their hands or fingers. We won't do a tattoo on the hands, fingers or neck unless the client already has tattoos there, just because they're so visible and could have a bad impact on job prospects etc.

"We also refuse to do anything offensive - some people still come in wanting Nazi symbols, that sort of thing, and we won't do that."

What about people who are over-optimistic?

"So long as the client is happy with the design, and it's not offensive, then yes.

"If they are that sure they want 'England: 2018 World Cup Winners', that's absolutely fine."

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