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Saturday, September 02, 2006

CULTURAL EXCAHNGE WITH CZECH REPUBLIC: Football, beer, absinth and anti-fascism

Gathering in prague, ready for the trip to Teplice

The last time I went to watch Wales playing away it was in Poland. We stayed in Krakow, and could not be bothered to travel the 500 miles to Warsaw, where the game was actually being played, so watched it in a pub near the hotel. This time, for the game against the Czech Republic, we stayed in Prague, even though the game was in Teplice. On this occasion though we had transport sorted and virtually the entire 2,000 welsh fans that had gone out for the game hopped onto busses for the 90-minute journey to the ground.

Snowy, gawd bless him, the RAMS international trip organiser, was looking after our bus, and had gone to the effort of taking a cool box all the way from Pontypridd to Prague to make sure our free beers on the bus were chilled, so it was luxury all the way (apart from the lack of a toilet).

Valley boys never leave home without thier sheep!

When we got to Teplice the nearest pub to the ground was packed, which was to be expected but with beer costing £1.50 for four pints, the bar was chaos. Amongst the crowd, we found some lads from Oakdale; 3,000 miles from home and you just cant get away from the Valleys!

An explanation of who the Soul Crew are

Just down the road there was another pub in the town square. This was the scene of a massive discussion between the Cardiff Soul Crew and a local mob. After the Soul crew had ‘explained’ to the locals who they were the police actually shook the hands of the City fans, it turns out that they were not a football firm but a gang of neo-nazis that are a headache for the police and all the locals, so they were quite happy to see them put in their place. I don’t normally condone football hooliganism, but on this occasion I will let them off.

A small selection of the Welsh flags on display

Wales on the attack, but a last minute goal scuppered the celebrations.

In the ground the Welsh support was incredible, only 2,000 of us, but we certainly made our presence felt with singing all the way through, even when we went down a goal. When we equalised we went nuts, but it was not to last and they put the winner in with one minute to go.

Final Score at teplice

Final three Absinths in Prague, complete with flaming sugar spoons

At the end, loads of Czech fans came across to applaud us for making the journey and for making so much noise. That is how footy fans are supposed to treat each other!

Then it was back to our favourite pub in Prague for more Absinth, happy in the knowledge that CITY ARE STILL TOP OF THE LEAGUE!


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