Thursday, 9 June 2016

The best fans in the world

Unless you've been living under a rock or you're not a football fan, the Euros are starting tomorrow.

There is something quite paradoxal with the Irish and football. The national league doesn't have a great following, and yet,  when it comes to international competitions, Ireland comes to a standstill and an army of fans travels to whatever country the tournament is happening in.

Staff will more than likely be allowed to go home early to watch the game, and don't worry, if you're not Irish I'm pretty sure many companies will have screens in the office for their international workers. Back in 2002, the call-centre I was working in installed a TV in the break room and employees could watch their home country games at work, provided they made up for the time later.

It is often said that the Irish are the best fans in the world, and I couldn't agree more. Let's not fool ourselves here: we all know that Ireland has very little chance to get through the first round, and yet, the whole country is behind its team.

Irish fans are also very inventive when it comes to banners, always adding the extra "Irish humour" to the situation.

The famous banner of the Euros 2012

Irish fans just put a great atmosphere wherever they go, be it the local pub or a 70,000 seats stadium. I always had fun watching games in the pub, even if I was the only one dressed in blue amongst an ocean of green... And every time France won against Ireland, the Irish were very gracious.

Except that night. Oh you know what I'm talking about. Thankfully I was at home, watching the match with my Irish neighbours. When the Thierry Henry's "incident" happened, my first thought was "They're going to KILL me at work tomorrow". Ringing in sick even crossed my mind, not that it would have changed anything... And I was right. I never got that much slagging in a day than in my entire time in Ireland. The Irish have been very rancorous about that one...and even after 7 years, I still get slagged over it.

I'm not a big football fan, but I'll watch the French and Irish games and the great thing about living in another country is being able to cheer for two teams!