футбол! Football with London's Bulgarian fans

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Last night, I watched the Ireland -v- Bulgaria football match with Bulgarian fans, and pretended not to be Irish (bit like Lorraine from The Apprentice).

I went to two venues. Starting in Arda2, a restaurant in Finsbury Park, I joined 5 Bulgarian football fans to watch the match.

Bulgarian football fans in London

Two screens showed the match - one with Irish TV, and the other with Bulgarian TV. Oddly, the sound came from the Irish channel.

I began to question whether these guys actually were Bulgarian. Some of them seemed quite happy to see Ireland take the lead. Then, they were equally happy to see Bulgaria equalise. Add to that, they were speaking to each other in a mixture of English and another language (I can only assume it was Bulgarian).

It was, it's fair to say, a sedate affair - mainly as they sat drinking Coke & J2O and staring out the window.

At half time, I decided to leave the maybe-Bulgarians, and hot-footed it to Green Lanes to Juliana99. If Arda2 was sedate, Juliana99 was comatose. Two men sat inside watching the match in dead silence. The Bulgarian tv commentary was deadpan with a ridiculously low volume.

An old woman sat in the corner clucking and sucking her teeth.

Eventually a few more men arrived. I noted they were all snappy dressers with trendy jeans, designer jackets and t-shirts. The bar owner - in a loud Hawaiian shirt - rather let the side down.

The (boring) match ended in a draw, with the Bulgarians on TV barely cracking a smile. I hung around afterwards, hoping to hear some Bulgari-pop. But there was none. The bar just emptied out, leaving me to wonder where all London's Bulgarians are. Maybe they've been credit crunched?