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On tour: Becoming Poland fans for the night

“Me? I’ve woken up wearing a Polish football jersey and I haven’t the slightest idea where I got it.”
Jun 17th 2012, 2:03 PM 1,060 0

WHEN YOU HEAD away on an Irish trip it’s always a wonder what your hosts will be like; will they be friendly, will they be a bit stand-offish, will they be out to take you for a ride?

Well I must say the Poles have been absolutely first-class top-notch hosts – we couldn’t have asked for any more from them, save for arranging a couple of more favourable results on the pitch.

You can drink in the streets, sing all night long, kiss their women and be as merry as can be; once you’re not aggressive or disrespectful you can party as much as you want and anywhere you like.

The police maintain a watchful presence but from what I’ve seen they’ve had no need to take up issue with any of the Irish fans. And it’s just as well for the Irish really because to a man they are huge!

So with Poland’s crucial final group game last night all the Green Army still in Gdansk became Poland fans for the night, cheering them on, singing their songs and willing them to win.

Part of the main square was once again filled with Irish for the few hours of the game, the many Polish passing by on their way to the Fanzone to watch the game wondering why the hell these few hundred Irish were decked out in their colours and singing out loud all afternoon long.

Yet again it bucketed down from the heavens, ensuring the fans got another good soaking but it produced a pretty good chant that goes to the song ‘Just singing in the rain”:

“We’re singing in the rain
Against the Croats we felt some pain
Got spanked by the mighty Spain
But we’ll beat Italy the next game”.

Another personal favourite got a good airing yesterday too that goes to the song “Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you”;

“Everywhere you go, always take St. Ledger with you.”

Basic but effective in my book anyway!

The spirit and the passion shown by the Polish fans for their team was very impressive, everyone seemed confident that their team was going to win, that their own party was not going to end nearly as early as ours.

As the home side dominated early on it looked like they were going to get the goal they needed but as the game wore on and the slick Czechs gradually took control, the anxiety amongst the Poles became clear.

And when the Czechs scored to all but end the hosts’ hopes of getting the necessary win, the Poles responded in a way that would have Keano’s blood boiling back home; they started singing louder and longer than before and carried on right until the end of the game even with their premature exit from the tournament inevitable.

(By the way, I’ve seen Keano having a right pop at some of the players again today – just what is the lad’s problem? I’d agree with his attitude that we should strive to be the best we can be rather than just settle for being okay, but you have to be realistic – we don’t have any players at top clubs, a good few play in the Championship and we’ve two unemployed footballers in our squad for Christ’s sake! Compare this to the Spanish, the Italian and the Croat squads and that’s the end of that argument. Keano, you’re a legend but please give it a rest before more fans turn against you!)

After the game a huge crowd descended once again on the main square in Gdansk where the Poles drowned their sorrows all night long, singing their hearts out and showing great pride in their team and their country.

They have adopted the ‘Sit down for the Boys in Green’ and ‘Shoes off for the Boys in Green’ as their own songs now too which is always a great sight when you get a few hundred people doing it.

The vodka salesmen made an absolute killing last night and there will be many a Pole waking this morning with a sore head. Me? I’ve woken up wearing a Polish football jersey and I haven’t the slightest idea where I got it.

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Cian O'Callaghan


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