Nogomet! Football with London's Slovenian fans

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I said the Slovenes were elusive, and they were. Until Saturday noon, I had nothing more than 'go to Sports Bar; hope to see a Slovene'. Then, Mox (great name!) of the London-Slovene facebook and Yahoo! groups came to the rescue with the Famous 3 Kings in West Kensington.

The bar turned out to be full of fans - Russian fans, German fans, French fans, Czech fans, Polish fans, Italian fans, Ukrainian fans, and, yes, Slovene fans!

Many screens showed several matches, with fan groups spread out all over. To begin with, just three were watching the Slovenia game. One bloke on his own. Another bloke on his own. And me. On my own. The atmosphere was not electric.

So I bounced off to watch the Czech-Polish match. The Poles were very excited to be winning. The Czechs all had crazy hair - dreadlocks, long red streaked hair, long hair.

Czech football fans, Famous 3 Kings, London
Finally, I saw two Slovenian blokes. It's safe to say they weren't all that interested. One played with his phone, and then looked at the menu. Later, they were chatting animatedly. They even discussed the air conditioning at one point. There were no flags.

Frankly, I don't blame them. It was a boring match. My highlight was seeing a sign saying "Brkini Za Slovenijo" because Slovenijo is an ace word.

When Slovenia scored two flukey goals near the end to win the match, another man celebrated quietly with a smile.

The Russians and Germans were much more excited. The Russians were a mix of trendy types (Dolce & Gabanna hats, coiffed hair) and total hardnuts. The Russians cheered a lot. They even cheered when they lost.

Russian & German football fans, Famous 3 Kings, London
The Germans were giving their "Aus auf Deutschland, something is a doora!" song and the Russians retaliated with "Russ-ki-ja! Russ-ki-ja!". This made up for my not being able to find Russians during Euro 2008.

Later, I stopped off in Piccadilly to take a peek at Kazakh football fans waiting to go into a match after party.

Kazakh football fans, London
It was £20 to get in, so I gave it a skip. Here's what I (most likely) missed - my favourite Kazakh-pop-tune.

Next up! - I was thinking the Belarussians, but I may have a tip for Norwegians on Wednesday, so it'll probably be them.