Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Football with the Fanatics :- Eng Vs France match June 14 2004

Tottenham, Central London :-
Euro Cup 2004 was on and I was in London. A process Migration Project from my company. Being in the homeland of Football when their team is participating in such an important tournament was an umatchable experience. Like being in Mumbai when India is playing in the World Cup. So much josh; absolute fanatism!!!England flags on every car, England merchandise in all shops..

We had thot we'll watch the much awaited Eng-France match at an English pub ....Just for the 100% experience. We were desperate to find one as the match had already started.........only sounds in the the deserted Oxford street was from the occasional pub which was all full with England shirts singing , cheering....
Finally slightly off the road found a pub with a spare table and the sign outside "Yeah, we show the footie in our telly"
Was the same ambience as everywhere but I noticed it was not a very young crowd ; some oldies in England shirts, another group all in England shirts and weird lookin big England hats ..After we took our places at the table noticed 3 more guys..One a thin skinhead like youngster with tattoos all over ...but (Somehow girls found him cute than menacing as the ones we'd heard stories of) .., and 2 blacks; one quite lookin like Laurence Fishburne; sitting at the bar ..
"Daat izzz a dangerous color to wear today " Mr Fishburne told my friend who was wearing a dark blue tshirt ...He pointed to his own tshirt which had a Union Jack...and winked .His accent gave it away..He was French !! And so was the skinhead n the other guy...three Frenchmen in the midst a very patriotic English crowd
Match goes on..Ooohs and aahs ..England attacks......Beckham curves in one ;Lampard scores.......... Gooooooaaaalll !! The pub exploded..Red and white all over ...People started singing ........"Born eeeeeeeeeeeen Eng-Land" theme song for the team this year ..More beer for everyone.
Skinhead is really disappointed ........"Sheeeeeeiiittt"

French tries to attack but are not even testing James the English keeper...........
Half time !!! Pub started playing the current rage ;England football songs..The Englishmen sing along...A surge in Patriotism.

I'd always wondered if they had a Brit equivalent for those Rok Sake to Rok Lo sort of songs which become a hit in India when World Cup Cricket is on. Not quite so but there was this one.....
"Three Lions on your shirt,
Jules Rimet still gleaming ,
30 years of hurt,
couldnt stop u dreaming.... "


They're referring to the 1966 controversial World Cup win for England ( they say there were 14 Englishmen on the field; 11 Players, referree & linesmen) still much like we keep nostalgically talking about 1983 in cricketing terms.Well at least we won on our own; not with the umpires' help.
A couple of 'em taunts Skinhead; one puts an arm around his shoulder n says "Too bad Frenchie Boy " ..pats him on the back mockingly and singing along the English songs in his face ...

"Peeeessss Offf" ...........Frenchie boy shows the Middle finger ............

Fishburne is in a mood to talk to us....may be coz we 're the only non English looking and comparitively sober group around.. "Barthezzz ..getting old, Anelka wazzz goood..Zidaane old now....U know Thierry Henry ??"he asks..He's my Frriend "I know heeem very welll" .....

But he's given up on his team.."No use today ..England will win"

Match starts again..France keeps attacking..But then Wayne Rooney takes the ball and goes into the French penalty area..he gets crudely hacked down by Mikael Silvestre, who was fortunate to receive only a caution, and England are duly awarded a penalty....Our 3 French Musketeers cant bear to watch..Beckham takes the kick , Barthez dives right .................. Penalty Saved !!!! Englishmen cant believe this ...................."

"Yeahhhhh " ..Skinhead raises his arms more in relief than truimph ........ But match is nearing finish....The singing starts again .. Frenchie boy cant sit down anymore..starts walkin around with hands on his head.."Non non non"............Singing becomes louder
Just a minute odd of injury time to go..France gets a freekick..Zidane takes it and curls aorund Goal keeper James............. "Gooooaaallll" Skinhead starts jumpin about........Fishburne also pumps his fist and does a High five with the Skinhead...
Englishmen bang their fists on the table "Dammmmmmmmmmn!" But its not over yet ...a minute later James brings down Henry and France is given a penalty..Englishmen are dumbfounded now..
Zidaane come fwd to take the kick .."He cant miss it , he cant miss it" Fishburne is muttering.. Now Zidane doesn't miss such opportunities..not like Beckham (with haircuts and Posh Spice to distract him) ..........he kicks it in to the right of the Goalkeeper who dives the wrong way...

"Gooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllll " Its 2-1 France

Pub goes all silent but for the Skinhead and the other 2 Frenchmen who are now dancing embracing each other...Even the reserved Mr Fishburne cannot hide his delight...
Skinhead now launched into a new dance routine...which basically involved Middle fingers extended in both hands and raising above his head and jumping around..
And he started a different song "Aaaallez .....................allez allez ohh aaaahh, Aaaaaalllezzz" .................. Fishburne and the other French men join in ..."Aaaaaaalllez ...."
"Y'all better learn some French now !!!" Fishburne shouts at all ..."Bonjour , Comment allez vous.." And then he joined in with the other two "Aaaaallez, allez allez Ohh aaaaaaaaaaaahhh" ................

No comments: