Dave's World Cup Blog IV - Henry Le Cheat and Fan FestDave’s World Cup Blog IV – Henry Le Cheat & the packed Fan Fest.
Having watch Bafanna get a creditable draw we made our way across to the brand new Green Point Stadium and it is a site to behold, literally touching the water and right beside the main entertainment quarter.
This was a big match for me as it would be an opportunity to come face to face (almost) with Ireland’s public enemy number 1.
Even though I have lived in Sydney for over 13 years, I was born in Ireland and I still support them, particularly the Soccer and Rugby teams.
With a few glasses of Red wine under my belt, courtesy of the Australian High Commission in Cape Town, I was ready to take out the anger and frustration of the entire Irish population on the “Hand of Frog” himself and to my great joy he was named on the bench – more chance to deliver a message to him directly.
Inside the stadium there were between 7-10 Irish flags, one which read “Henry Le Cheat” – it was eventually removed by the stadium authorities.
And so into the second half and my moment of cathartic release arrived – Mr. Henry (and I use the term Mr. loosely) was directed to warm up for is impending introduction to the fray and he was sent down to my end of the Stadium – I was off to face him down.
As I went down the steps of the stadium, to get closer to him, someone shouted from the crowd for me to stop, I turned around hoping it wasn’t security asking me to return to my seat but it was in fact another member of the fanatics party attending the game.
“You might want to bring this” an Australian lady said, as she handed me an Irish tri-colour flag from her bag – I’m Irish too!!
So down the steps I went, Tri-colour in hand and Irish jersey shining Green in the Cape Town night – get ready for the onslaught Thierry.
Note: It probably wasn’t quite as heroic as I’m describing but indulge me…
I got within about 20 metres of him and called out for him to look up – I probably called his name about 10 times but he didn’t look up once – I guess he was too ashamed to face the reality of his actions.
Eventually a steward asked me to return to my seat, which I did quickly, waving my Irish flag as I went and to the cheers of the entire bay and high fives of people in the seats beside the walkway.
I’d sent my message to Henry Le Cheat and I guess now its time to forget about the whole sorry incident and move on.
Day two of the tournament and were looking forward to the first England match later that night.
The two guests on the daily World Cup panel that I am hosting, Frank Arok and Stan Lazaridis were pretty excited about seeing England for the first time so we decided to have an early dinner and head to the Fan Fest that has been set up in our hotel for the 830 kick off.
The set up in the Hotel is brilliant, they have two bars with a choice of about 10 different beers, a Brai (local word for BBQ) going all day with Steak sandwiches, BBQ Chicken Rolls and South African Boorevorst available two big screens set up and two other plasmas with couches and seats in front of them and then another 200 or so seats set up in terraced fashion.
We decided against dinner and said we’ll get to the fan fest early and just have the BBQ food so we went down at about 730 to secure a good seat….
There must have been about, it’s hard to estimate but as many as 3 possibly 4 people at the fan fest and all of them were staff!
So we sat down on the lounges, just the 3 amigos, and had a BBQ and a few beers to watch the England match in a room that could hold over a thousand.
That was our crazy first Saturday night here in South Africa – I am sure World Cup fever was evident in all other pubs and clubs across Cape Town but we managed to pick the quietest spot on the planet.
If it wasn’t for Robert Green the night would have been a total write off :-)
So next up it’s the Day trip to Durban and the opening Australian game – the expectation is huge, not just for the game but for the entire day.
The Fanatics await, can the Socceroos deliver the draw we are hoping for to give us a chance to meet England, or possibly now USA, in the second phase.
Bye for now.
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