Saturday, August 9, 2008
Curse of the Irish soccer fan
In 1999 Ireland's Euro 2000 qualifier against Yugoslavia was cancelled due to Slobadan Milosevic's exploits in Kosovo. In November 2001 when post 9/11 tension was at its highest Ireland's soccer team were drawn in a world cup play off against Iran. In March 2005 the green army traveled to Tel Aviv for a World Cup qualifier against Israel despite a suicide bomb at a beachfront Nightclub a mere two weeks before the game. And now Giovanni Trappatoni's first competitive game in charge of the Irish is under definite threat due to yesterdays invasion by Russian troops of Georgia's northern province of South Ossetia. Above, Georgian troops fighting in South Ossetia yesterday
An Irish soccer fan being interviewed at the wailing wall in Jerusalem. We do not know if this game, scheduled for September 6th, will go ahead. The Football Association of Ireland are leaving it up to the Department of Foreign Affairs to decide whether or not it is safe to travel. However I know my Irish fans and if the game goes ahead they will travel in large number just as they did to Tehran and Tel Aviv. Whether or not the game goes ahead is obviously a trivial issue. The real issue is Russia's aggression toward its tiny southern neighbour. I will post about this latest event and the background to the conflict in detail over the next couple of days.