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Destination Grimsby
Destination Grimsby

Over Land and Sea - Part 2

By: Chris Smith
Date: 02/12/2009 (Last updated: 19/12/2009)

MY own favourite story to come out of the principality before I crack on, and shows discrimination is alive and kicking in every other country, was from Gary B when he went to their Parliament’s Christmas party.

Having indulged a fair bit, he sang the Chelsea version of Band Aid’s Feed the World, which comes over as Feed the Scousers. He was asked why he sang these words by a baffled employee who looked suddenly enlightened when Gary described economic reality on Merseyside. "Ahahaha, you mean the Poles!" he exclaimed. Perhaps our humour isn't as far removed from our continental friends as we think.

European fans are fascinated by English fan culture and immerse themselves in it when possible. A Schalke 04 fan has come to some of Town’s bigger games and though I didn't actually know him myself, he was more than welcome on the minibus. I was too pissed in those days anyway to wonder or care who was with us half the time. Hamburg took a large group to Brentford once. I like that assumed inclusion and long may it continue.

You might have spotted that visitors to England who want to experience proper fandom prefer to go to lower league grounds. Any t*** can support the big four and happily and coincidentally, anyone who does so is just that.

Next up for the intrepid travellers was Notts County away a few months later with an impressive support from Town including the "Alan Buckley’s Baaarraarmy G-T-F-C" chant again featuring prominently. It had to as Lucky wasn't taking prisoners when we flagged at times. A touching moment for me was being introduced to Pauli by Rich who presented me as the "bloke who drank three bottles of scotch a day equivalent" I received a wordless handshake and a look of admiration which I shamefully treasured despite being a reformed character (sort of). I was pleased to see that the lads were integrating into English culture though. They also did their bit for the Nottingham economy by dedicating themselves to drinking the away bar dry. Now I've moved on, I like to see others make a day or weekend of it.

A repeat trip to Nottingham came the day after our home defeat by Bratfuh last year. Forest were playing Cardiff and hopefully the burger sellers have recovered from their vans being visited and asked repeatedly "Do you have any burgers left?" and the affirmative responded to with "You shouldn't have made so many then". All with a mid European deadpan delivery. This exercising of the vocal chords during said persecution led to the inevitable thirst and...

The Bratfuh game, of course, was a bad one for them to pick, where we lost three one to a team with only ten men. Up for this one were Lucky, Pauli, Rudi (Pauli’s brother) and Hatsch. Nice to see the Austrians have a sense of territoriality as some Bratfuh fans were bewildered (and it doesn't take much to confuse a Bratfuh fan does it?) by being told what they could do as they tried to large it up in a Cleethorpes pub by Town fans even they must have recognised as having foreign accents. They took the advice though. It also went down well with some locals, who equally had no idea who they were. I also liked the summary of one of the lads after about 30 minutes of the game "This is s***".

It’s good to see that hasn't put them off. Despite following a team that has won 23 championships and 26 cups and has played in the Cup Winners Cup Final in 1978, they retain a real enthusiasm for coming over here. I saw Lucky at Cheltenham on the first day of the season with a Town flag he thanks Big Dave for. His brother, a doctor back in Austria, came over as well, and a good drinking day was had with Town fans including Nottingham Dave, a really good lad despite the real ale aficionado stuff and a loud Town diehard.

The article continues in Part 3

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