Thursday 8 December 2016

'We're very good at "proving" we're the best fans in the world, but we're going overboard' - veteran Irish fan in France

'Young lads passed out on the sidewalk in between broken bottles, vomit, urine and trash'

Steven Krijger

Published 17/06/2016 | 10:14

Rubbish in Montmartre on the night and inset Steven Krijger
Rubbish in Montmartre on the night and inset Steven Krijger

TRAVELLING abroad to follow the Boys in Green is quite possibly the best hobby anyone can have. And over the last 12 plus years of travelling to most of the away games, I'm hoping to keep doing this for many years to come.

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You get to enjoy the fun, camaraderie, up, downs, highs & lows, and all whilst hanging out with all the friends and acquaintances that are your fellow fans.

Over the years the Irish fans have been dubbed the 'Best fans in the World' by many different sources and media and it is with great pride that so many of us fans travel the world over to support Ireland

Euro 2016 has been no exception, and the sheer volume of tickets requested for our three games here in France show the immense popularity of travelling to a major tournament and give it loads for our Boys.

But bigger support does not necessarily mean better. Whilst the vast majority of our boys and girls of the Green Army have been absolutely fantastic in their support and behaviour, there is a element creeping into our support that we can hopefully nip in the bud.

Arriving late into Paris on Sunday night myself and my friends headed to Place de Clichy and the Pigalle area of Montmartre, where the Irish army had taken over the streets.

Getting there I was stunned at the incredible scenes of young men trying to outdo one another in terms of drinking and bravado. While initially this must all have been great fun, as the night had progressed, their behaviour had digressed.

Some of our support thought it fun to start jumping on the roof of a parked van in front of Corcoran's Irish pub. Needless to say the van was heavily damaged within the minute or so it took to get them off by other fans that did not agree with their idea of fun.

But that's not what we do as Irish fans. That's something that could've happened in Marseille earlier this week.

Part of this is of course due to social media in which everyone wants to have that video or photo go viral of their antics and silliness. But in outdoing each other in bravado, normal ethics and common sense are often thrown to the wind in the heat of the moment.

Young lads passed out on the sidewalk in between broken bottles, vomit, urine and trash from a day long session. Rows of men standing urinating against window fronts, doors and walls.

The amount of injured faces with scrapes and bruises from an earlier drunken tumble were numerous. Not to mention the huge number of fans staggering from side to side, oblivious as to where they were and where they were perhaps going.

I hope they all made it home to their hotel eventually. And then there were the verbal arguments and fights between fans themselves after a drunken row. We saw two lads battered and bruised on the street with a pool of blood next to one.

Something you don't encounter often on trips I can assure you.

It was like a scene from a movie at times.

A new crowd and a new generation are joining the ranks of the travelling army, and that is great of course. But it seems the newer generation have a different view on what is 'fun' stuff.

Or maybe I'm just getting old....

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