A father pushed his two daughters hurriedly onto the footpath and immediately sploshed his left foot into a puddle. With a sigh, he followed his children to a 50cm strip of concrete beneath an overhanging shop front, accepting the dark patch now a quarter of the way up his denim jeans. I caught his eye as I shuffled up slightly to provide room, sharing a defiant “that’s how it is sometimes” type of smile with him as his family squeezed in beside me. Now all we could do was hope the shower would soon cease. They had their weekly shopping to complete. I had 30 minutes to locate this damn stadium.
For most people, 2020 has offered little cheer. But the year does mark a noteworthy anniversary for Football fans from one nation that has contributed extensively to the global game. This year citizens from Seville to Santander can celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Spanish international Football.
At 22:55 on the dot, the distant sounds of car horns and deep whooping confirmed the result that half the city had been waiting for. A man in his fifties dressed fully in red staggered out from a tavern to my left, cheering his team on to the smiles and polite applause of four young women sat in the open-air plaza. Though the evening breeze still Continue reading
Originally constructed in bonnie Newcastle in 1915, the HMS Malaya had been of service both in World War I and II in places as varied as Denmark, Anatolia, Malta, Genoa, Cape Verde and the Caribbean. She gallantly ended her service as target bouncing bomb practice in Loch Striven in Scotland in 1944, but where Football is concerned, the HMS Malaya made her most important trip in 1921 – to the land after which she was named. Continue reading
This weekend would have marked the beginning of the Feria de Jerez; the annual celebration of the various traditions that collectively define the intoxicating Flamenco culture of Spain’s south. Horsemanship, Sevillana dancing, delicate guitar playing, melancholy singing and – of course – sherry are all consumed in abundance by locals eager to revel in the cultural vibrancy of their ville. Coincidentally, today marks two months since the FBTG team last attended a Football game, which happened to be the biggest game of the 2019/2020 season played in Jerez de la Frontera. Though it may seem Continue reading
It isn’t often the FBTG boys wake up on a Saturday morning in the Netherlands. But when we do, we are seldom in a state to drive.
On our first Football-culture trip to the Netherlands, stadium tours in Alkmaar and Amsterdam were pleasant, but ultimately outdone by a rain-soaked yet brilliant Friday evening contest between SC Telstar and FC Twente and the Rabobank IJmond Stadion in IJmuiden. Mercifully Continue reading
For part I of Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer, please click here.
It is easy to make the mental leap that Indonesia is “more Muslim” than its sibling Malaysia is. But if that is the case, why are Koranic prayers read at before Football matches in Malaysia and not in Indonesia? The answer perhaps lies in the path to independence of both modern nation states.
It is something of a sour point to the Chinese and Indian Malaysians that Islam, a faith that is entirely foreign to them, has been chosen as their state religion. In a country where ethnicity is a factor that influences your legal rights and civil status, the Chinese and Indian Malaysians are somewhat used to playing second fiddle.
The British facilitated the migration of their ancestors from Canton and Kerala into their Southeast Asian territories in Continue reading
A gruff voice boomed across the ground, magnified to ensure absolute clarity. The chatter of noise from the terraces stopped abruptly. All spectators shuffled to their feet. On the ground floor, I was already on mine, but to my left a handful of young men in one of the media boxes end their conversation and put their smartphones away in haste before bowing their heads. The exact message of the announcement was lost on me, but I Continue reading