Saturday 16 December 2017

World Cup Diary: Charming English fans

I overheard an interesting discussion in the queue to board the 4.0am flight to Port Elizabeth, packed full of English fans. One of the travelling contingent was discussing watching South Africa's win over France in a crowded Johannesburg viewing area earlier that day.

"And then the goal went in," he exclaimed, his counterparts hanging on his every word. "The chefs came running out from behind the counter. They was all celebrating. And I thought, 'if I could have dropped a bomb anywhere at that point, it would have been there'." His companions heartily agreed. Charming.

It's a bit late now, STAN

The media centre on the day of an England game is packed with recognisable names from across the water. Future England and Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson sitting at a table with the BBC team, various perma-tanned presenters from the respective broadcast networks, Graham Taylor, loyal Irish servants Mark Lawrenson and Andy Townsend and, of course, Stan Collymore -- representing Talksport.

Before England's opener with the USA, Stan was boasting about how he'd recently lost a stone in weight. He then turned up in Port Elizabeth yesterday wearing a red England jersey.

A shame really -- if Stan can apply himself so well when there's no pressure to do so, then imagine if he had done the same during his playing career. He could have worn the shirt in a World Cup for real, rather than being forced to hang around with the 'ne'er do wells' in the press tent.

Vuvuzela a sorry sight

Overheard before the 4am flight to Port Elizabeth No 2: A drunken 20-something England fan, with the flag of St George painted on his face, blows his vuvuzela in the terminal.

He is admonished by a middle-aged couple. "Oh, please, young man, don't blow that anymore," says the lady of the party. The crowd around fear confrontation. Instead, his head immediately drops. "I'm sorry," he confesses. "I don't even like them anyway."

Irish Independent

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