The World Cup....!
I am having a great time.
I am really enjoying the city of Volgograd and the warmth and friendliness of the Russian people. As I’ve stated previously, they are very proud to be hosting the World Cup and they love the fact that they have England coming to play in their city.
The last few days have seen me wandering around Volgograd looking for any sign that I wasn’t the only Englishman here. I’ve listened to people speaking in the hope of hearing an English accent and have been on the lookout for a St Georges flag or an England badge on a shirt….it all seemed to be to no avail?
The World Cup finally arrived and I was in the Volgograd fan zone for the opening ceremony and to watch the Russian team trounce Saudi Arabia. It’s always best if the host nation goes as far as possible in the competition, as it keeps the country interested and buzzing. It was a great crowd watching the game on the Banks of the river Volga and the atmosphere was good ….but it wasn’t England! I went into the fan zone again for the second days round of games and, as I was sat on the steps, I picked up a couple of English accents sat behind me. This is how I met Troopz & Robbie: I got chatting with the guys, who are both ‘Gooners’, but as it turns out they are also celebrities. Robbie runs a YouTube site called “ArsenalfanTV” and he is making a very nice living from it, thank you very much, and has just been given a show on channel 4.
It was weird to watch people coming up to them during the day wanting selfies etc taken with them. I have to give Robbie thanks as he did a quick video about me and my trip and must have put it out, as later in the day I had people coming up to me saying ‘hey you that guy going around the world?’….a very strange experience!!!
As the day progressed our little group grew as we put out the England mating call, by singing “Don’t take me home..please don’t take me home” etc…each time we did it would attract another fan or two, who would then join the group. This also drew fans of other nations as well, who would come over wanting to meet ‘England’ and watch how the professionals do it ;o)
The video above is from ArsenalfanTV
I have to give a special mention to a fellow lunatic called ‘Henry Duckworth’, who has cycled all the way out to Volgorgrad and will also follow England throughout their whole campaign……nice one H, top draw mate.
By the end of the game between Spain & Portugal we had a group of about 20 England fans, which although not a big number, was certainly the most vocal group and which left anyone in the fanzone in no doubt that The English were in town. There are 4 big games on today and I expect a lot of English fans to roll in, which will make the atmosphere really get going.
One final point…there have been a couple of English press sniffing around and all they are asking questions about is how much trouble have we had getting here and are we scarred to be English in Russia etc. I had a sports reporter from the Guardian sit with myself and a couple of brothers I was talking to. She again started the negative story seeking questions and I left her in no doubt whatsoever about what I thought of her, her profession and the organisation she worked for…..i think it is fair to say I wont be getting a mention in that rag!
2 days to Englands first game…..