That's right, football.
I'd say that football has been mentioned...oh...about....NEVER on this blog. To the extent that I had to make a new Sport label for this post. However, with the World Cup fast approaching, everyone's getting into a frenzy with predictions for the final and which team they drew in the office sweepstakes (I got Serbia and Cameroon. Sake.) and after reading NotRuairi's great retrospective on where he was for each World Cup, I've decided to share the tale of how I once got to attend an ACTUAL WORLD CUP MATCH.
In 1998, I spent one month of the summer in Lyon in France with my family, as my Dad was insistent on me and my brother having spectacular French, as well as wanting to improve his own. (I actually did have pretty kickass French once the Leaving Cert came around, but sadly most of it has escaped from my brain since then.) One evening, in the midst of all the Word Cup goings-on, there was a free outdoor concert on featuring a Belgian singer called Axelle Red and Chris Rea, of all people. Anyway, after we'd had enough of the songs in French and Rea singing stuff that wasn't Driving Home For Christmas, we retired to McDonald's for a go of their deadly brand new ice cream dessert, the McFlurry. It was all rather exciting to my thirteen year old self. Actually, considering how excited I still am by those milkshake shops that can make any flavour you want, it's safe to say not much has changed in that respect.
So there we were, happily making our way through every available variety of our futuristic ice cream and trying to figure out how the hell we'd go about getting to see one of the matches. It was at this point that a man I could only describe as shady leaned over from the next table and asked where we were from.
"You are Irish!? I like the Irish. I know how to get World Cup tickets..."
He proceeded to tell us how all we had to do was drive to a tiny post office in a tiny village and be there at 7 in the morning the next day. And in that very post office there would be tickets for sale at the counter. Now, while the guy himself seemed shady as fuck, the actual instructions seemed reasonable enough. So off we went the next morning in our rented car to the little Postman Pat village, and in that very post office we managed to buy four tickets to a match in Saint-Étienne...
IRAN vs YUGOSLAVIA
Boom. You may laugh, but it was Yugoslavia's first time in the World Cup, and for all anyone knew they could have been a superstar team of players (whose names ALL ended in "-vic"). Because they were the relative underdogs, we joined in the chants of "YU-GO-SLAVIA!" that reverberated around the stadium. It was fecking brilliant, there were at least three Mexican waves and the ball soared out from the pitch right towards me and my brother, but then some old guy in front of us stood up and managed to punch the ball directly back where it came from. The cunt. Anyway, Yugoslavia won 1-0 and we were at the end where the goal was scored in the second half. And it was only brilliant.
So concludes what is likely the only post that will ever mention football on this blog.