NEARLY 1,000 people forgot the football for an evening to fight a cause more important to their hearts - the resting place of loved ones.
While England renewed old grudges with Germany last night (Wednesday) crowds were packing into Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, in Botwell Lane, Hayes.
The reason was the second meeting of the Cherry Lane Against Development (CLAD) group which was created to save the cemetery, in Shepiston Lane, Harlington, from a dual carriageway.
The plan was one of at least 10 options for new road layouts being considered by Heathrow owner BAA in preparation for a Government announcement on expansion at the airport.
The Spanish-owned company had attempted to diffuse the row by announcing ahead of the meeting it was withdrawing the cemetery option from the list.
Mike Forster, BAA's strategy and regulation director, had come in person to deliver the statement and take questions from the passionate and charged audience.
He found himself bombarded as angry residents demanded to know if he had relatives in the cemetery (he didn't) and what his feelings would be if someone tried to do what his company was proposing to a cemetery where his loved ones were.
Other questions included Labour group leader Anthony Way asking why anyone should believe anything BAA said after promises were broken on Terminal 5 and a third runway and one man demanding to know if the fact the road was being planned at all meant a third runway was a done deal.
One man claimed to have been told by a friend at the airport BAA never had any intention of building the road in the cemetery and simply made the announcement so they could back down and win public support. This would clear the way for them to push through their real plans.
Finally Geraldine Nicholson, chairwoman of No Third Runway Action Group (NoTRAG) stood up and said: "We don't simply want to hear there will not be a road through the cemetery.
"We want an assurance from BAA that any development associated with a third runway will not have a detrimental effect on the cemetery.
"It is all very well saying the road won't happen, but if you build right up to the boundary of Cherry Lane then you will still end up destroying it.
"We want this guarantee in writing and we want it legally binding."
Mr Forster's statement at the start echoed the one given to the media ahead of the meeting which read: "I regret any distress caused to local residents during this period of uncertainty and hope that ruling out any option that affects Cherry Lane cemetery will provide a firm guarantee to local people and put the minds of local people at ease."
In answering the questions he referred back to the statement on several occasions and kept insisting all plans had been indicative only and full consultations with the public would have taken place.
He added: "I wanted to come here in person to meet you all and make the commitment to you that we will not put a road through Cherry Lane.
"If we get a positive outcome from the Government next month on expansion at Heathrow there will be a lot of issues we need to work together on to minimise impact on the local communities.
"We are not asking you to give us your trust, we know we will have to earn it."
After Mr Forster left the subject turned to the more overreaching issue of the fight against the third runway itself - with residents seeking reassurances the battle could be won.
They got the most encouraging responses from Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington John McDonnell and Hillingdon Council leader Ray Puddifoot (Con) who both pledged expansion would be fought at every turn.
Mr Puddifoot said: "We will fight it first in Parliament, if that fails we will take it to the High Court, if that fails we will take it to the European Court. At no stage must we think this is a done deal. BAA went away from here tonight with a clear message of what we think.
"As politicians we will do our jobs, you expect that of us, but it is the public who have the real power and they will ultimately make the difference in defeating this plan."