Bk 2 ..chapter 3..ohoh 7 – Chapter 3..a. …Living the Dream..
So, the REDS had beaten Chelski in the champions league for the 2nd time to qualify for the title..and I was having a "pause" from JD , I told the "Lunatics" that I would LOVE to play for them ( a team led by Nico that he and others, mostly LFC fans had formed 15 years before in Ekeren, a suburb of Antwerpen) – as I hadn’t trained or played since the "international mean-machine super-stars of JVA freiburg" at tennenbacher strasse "U-haft") and they usually filled up the summer months playing in fun tournaments all over Europe. I was also hoping to connect witht he "Hillsborough Justice Campaign(HJC)r the 96 REds killed by police neglect in 1989) who had a 5-a-side tournament in May (with a mix of "Lunatics & Alsinners" but only Nico and I "made it" there spending virtually all the day in the bar! ) and I told ALSIN chairman to invite the HJC cup winners to the tournament in Rotterdam. (which later developed into the "Not without me Cup" that I later organised in different places around europe for footy, fun friendship and ..charity) …and agreed with Nico to join the "Lunatics for the Rotterdam (9th June) ..and all the "Lunatics summer tour"…
this is the "final" report (short version) ;-0
18th – 25th May 007
in the final …Aegean (again) so I took the train from Zwolle to Schipol, expecting a boring start but the DB train to schipol (Amsterdam90..had a bar! …met young would-be actress Tess ,telling her jokes, talking of dreams and drinking RED wine and other "reasons to be cheerful" , then Bert
from Berlin, the barman waited until she got off he said LFC fans "are the best" ) with check in for Athens at 03.25 it was all night at the airport (nothing new) = but nothing to do there, no lounge, or restaurant , no disco (even though I invited the info-desk girl to dance on the coffee bar table..)😉
someone checked in their baggage, but didn’t turn up at the gate, causing delay to everyone (cant think why anyone could get delayed inside an airport, unless he was a lunatic occupying the bar ,smile>) ….flight late…but the transfer driver was waiting at "venizelos airport" …really
freindly taxi driver ("belo Pilo") informed me all the way, and said, if we win he would take me to a bar where the girls outnumber the guys 5-1 …hmmmmm what you mean I only get 5 times as many headaches <smile> ?)
(note: bus from airpoprt to Piraeus N 69? only costs 3 euros)
he left me outside the port gates and I caught a hydrofoil "flying dolphin" ( which run every 30 mins 07h – 19/20h) Hellenic hydro n.15 costs e10 …or e11 by aegean seaways (see below for ferry schedule) my initials "CRS " are on the Hellenic ticket, maybe I have a "possibility" here….another taxi (bus schedule below) to Ag. Marina to set up the "advanced commando HQ "007" at "anna’s" (studio apart.)
Friday – after a short siesta – went to Big Banana for a fresh fish dinner, and just as I started to get into sampling the local wine – Scouser Danny walked past the restaurant …anyway after 2 litres each we went off "for a drink" during whuich we tested every bar on the right side of the street, the highlight being when some cockney took exception to us (me?) flirting with 2 swedish women at their table the "fight" didnt really happen, peace was restored by local Tom who seemed to understand that we only wanted to PARTY (but I lost my reading glasses, and having also lost my power cable HQ was soon"out of touch")
banged off a quick sms:
"having a b-ouzo on the aegean
& supporting the best reds you ever se-en"
our HQ is a compact Marina – village with a small port and lots of tavernas & bars, hotels & studios within 5 minutes walking distance (there was even Carra ‘s hotel (emailed pic of "elvis" outside Carra’s to the kop magazine)
Saturday, I think it was PM when I got out of bed..and had almost an early night having agreed to meet Nico ("elvis") coming from Antwerp (via Brussels/Athens) the next day,
On SUNDAY morning, with beautiful blue skies, sea and sunshine I got on the ferry from Marina and had a little chat with polish ann-a (who works at c…….hotel) …she looked at me as though I was going to be her "dish of the day" (or perhaps she just had dodgy contact lenses in?) and having arranged to meet "Nico the greek elvis" at the shelter, was worried when I noticed there were 4 of them at Piraeus port (for the Aegina hydro/ferries) but after meeting many of the REDS advanced occupation forces , including Nick (Warrington) and Ahmid (from Atlanta!) Dave told me he saw someone of Nico’s description near the jvc cafe (not at the shelter) …ans soon we were on our way back on the ferry to Ag Marina
nutty-anna" (pic with elvis)
after a siesta, and a meal, and some more wine , and a few drinks with "nutty-anna" (pic with elvis) we were off to the "Barracuda beach bar" where some idiot was already p*ssed and shouting at the (owner) barman because he didnt know about J4the 96…the owner asked Us (Nico & myself) what to do, and I said "dont call the police, stop serving him and we sort our own problems out" , so after attempting to get the message into him,Danny and I took him outside to calm him down… which it did for a while (but apparently he got attacked afterwards by non-Liverpool lads we dont know anyway…not surprised! …as the owners (jenny & Nico ) realised ; we are NOT english! we are (euro-)scousers anyway we had a great party with good singing with young Adam, Les, Danny Nico and myself leading …(I had told the barman/owners,.to divorce then I could marry Jenny and co-manager the beach bar, hotel & boat (although its not really big enough…I mean the boat, Jenny <smile>
Elvis slept at the bar, and I took him back to his bed at 3 am and spent the next few hours drinking myself sober and discussing philosophy with nutty Anna in Mikes bar (basically my message to her was dont be ANOTHER modern female a**hole) until 07hrs
….also there were the swedish 4-letter members Erik(birthday 26th May!) , Mike and Tomm(!)
Monday….the idea of checking out the Island was delayed as we got up in the PM. anyway I booked with Yannis = the car being RED punto s… .colour good and open top..but condition was crap…(Yannis )told me about final ticket prices already @ e250-300 going up to e1000 and more!…)
(hire 13-22 h hire, inc insurance e45) so we go with the italian herbie mountian climbing, ending up in someones back garden (thanks to Elvis the navigator ignoring Yannis saying dont go down those roads….) Nico confronting the big alsation , agreed to turn round on the side of a thin mountian track….(Nico should be FINED for saying "its all greek to me THREE times and …his short cuts"..anyway before returning the car we had been down all the island routes had a good meal at the bottom corner (by Moni island) saw and given a lift to the Candadian mother & daughter Genevieve & Lisbeth who were waiting for a ferryboat that was asleep and "peekaboo buses"….<smile>
tuesday – Elvis took the 17h ferry (not across the mersey) to Piraeus, whilst I stayed at the Marina to "chill out" and told any lady listening that I was "Elvis re-born” s manager and (@ big banana restaurant ..trying to convince girls that they would have to sleep with me to get a date with "Elvis" and saw genevieuve & lisbeth again…I had a few drinks at Mikes (with Mike who I gave a final T-shirt) and at the Barracuda with the owners until moving up to Annas Studio pool bar with the Swedes and Danny for a pre-birthday drink (wish LFC could organise a final on every one of my
birthdays!) and went to bed !
wednesday – 23rd MAY 007 = MY birthday and 50 thousands guests arrived!
so the Marina ferry company (soronic sound) arranged a couple of "specials" …we took the 12.30,
ferry direct from the Marina, as the captain was so friendly as we decked it out in banners ("smashing people, smashing records, smashing plates" and Kaka=Malaka) singing "ring of fire ,campioni" etc,,…..I had to smile when the LIver-birds told me that they had painted that banner "kaka = Malaka" (w*nker) with red paint on floor outside their apartment in aghia marina, and its still printed on the floor there! <smile> ..a warship “shadowed us"
Nico & Bert met me at jvc cafe…with the news that I had a ticket (wind-up Nico???? got a e3 ticket for 24 hrs metro) and on the train to the city out-singing the milanese rossignori and when we met Marc, Stefan (team tournament-2 boys) Dirk Ruth & wacker? and ("cola") Kurt ….Marc presented me with the ticket (a birthday present from the Flemish lads) I was MADE UP and almost in tears when I read their birthday card, only Angie (living in OZ) and Alsin (email) had got any messages through to me… THIS is my "LIVERPOOL family" …
when Nico and I saw the REDS supporters at the "champions festival" (suitably named!) there seemed to be more REDS than ever…so we had some special coffeeeeeeee (pic?) and I sung "Chris has got his birthday..na na na na")😉
(add extracts from b’day card?) (note Stefan Haselt , team tournament-has 2 boys, = reds!)
after going through several ridiculous (and ineffective) "security checks" we saw the stadium was full with 75% REDS… I had a go at the exec. Box "corp sponsored fans "sitting immediately behind our seats, mostly clapping Milan! of course, probably got their tickets from Parry?)
I just knew the "Kaka – Malaka" diving for the free kick would get them a goal after we had mostly controlled the first half would hurt us…but when Stevie made and missed a great chance, a GERMAN referee who gave us nothing and time seemed to be going double quick, that sinking feeling came…..at least Kuyt got his first goal CL…
(no other match comments, this time they had the luck) WE Walked to the nearest bars, (metro= raki) and the Milanese fams we saw looked like THEY had lost, whilst many of the 50k LFC supporters & fans done their best to lift spirits despite going down (at least our teams youth means we are likely to be going back to CL finals, whilst AC looked tired and feared us!) so we sat outside, drinking ouzos, bad mataxa (Bert the best singer!) all night – singing songs with Marc, Nico, Stefan Bert & checkmate Peter…until Elvis & myself took the first ferry back , had brekkie at Aegina town and met Peter (Sullivan) who came over to console me..
later on after a siesta, a swim and another ouzo, a romantic dinner (thanks Nico!) on the rocks..with Elvis..<smile> had a few more ouzos with Peter, (S)watched the game again on tv in Mikes bar and a not so early night meant I had to shout ….get up nico at 6am ! …the island was "crying"
(raining) at our departure Friday morning and he fell on his ar*se like a beetle (not a Beatle!) with his big back-pack …if I hadnt been so tired I would have left him like it and took a pic!….<smile> so the taxi- got us to town early and we took an early hydro-dolphin ferry, the early taxi transferred me to the airport but we were a bit late as 2 hrs at the Transavia checkin for Amsterdam took the edge off my start to the day…(including one Dutch tourist blaming the delay on "Liverpool transfers causing delay!"when he heard my voice)
good flight, slept a bit, and had a late champagne brekkie on board….meeting a very sweet Marie (from north of Stockholm/Sundsvall) whose boyfriend Graeme from aberdeen is at Groningen, so inmvited them onthe ALSIN Rotterdam tournament weekend (8-10th June) and crashed out at my
"shoebox penthouse in Zwolle…..back to "reality"…?
(afterwards I wrote to UEFA chairman Platini.
CS>"Monsieur Platini, Its probably pointless making any protest concerning tickets to UEFA when your org. make such a blatantly biased decision to Alienate LIVERPOOL fans ; OUR supporters have the BIGGEST away support in EUROPE, some 50,000 went to Athens, and we saw not one incident of bad behaviour, and lets not forget that in the last 3 seasons we have probabaly played more Champions league matches (inc. qualifying rounds) than any other club…reaction?"
ChriS SMITH (a LIVERPOOL supporter)
–answer ; none!
So, the next “event”was the Lunis friendly weekend in Freiburg…exactly a year after my departure from the region (dreyeckland) and a chance to look for a meeting with my ESTRANGED children; Leon and Noela – again best described via the “grass ROUTES emailing”;;;
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2007 11:22 AM
Subject: Chris 70709 EuRED Knock out weekend in Freiburg (Lunatics on tour!)
Chris>my personal reflection on a "knock-out weekend of footy & …….
(Lun-AT-ics-on tour : Freiburg)”
………..I spent 13 years in the "dreyeckland" around Freiburg, Baden and in nearby Geiswasser (Alsace) until summer 2006 when I moved to Zwolle (NL) as a short term step until i make my next/last "move"……my 2 surviving (estranged) children (Leon 10, & Noela 5) born in that region…..but when I met Marc from Mechelen (Be) last august I had no idea that the introduction to Nico & the "Lunatics" would bring me back…Nico was in Istanbul when the REDS played in the CL there last December, and when he told me of the "attitude" of his Lunatics I decided to go there one weekend, and told him I was "available" as sub/squad player on this years summer fun-footy tournaments, which in fact began with playing in ALSIN (dutch-LIVERPOOL supporters club) in Rotterdam, which I was a member of until then, but was "selected" by default😉 to play for the "Lunatics" (that, and the following tournament at the "Stefans skilful scousers" are seperate stories) …and when he said "and we are going to FREIBURG" it seemed surreal….as did this (knock-out)weekend…
it began with difficulties with the train tickets.. I wanted to check the return w/end ticket price & schedule to Ekeren (to meet up with Nicos car) after 15mins looking blankly at the computer the NS employee looked at me with a sorry expression so I bought one at the machine…(no wonder machines are taking over!) …however when I was on my way (left at 07.50) from Zwolle (via Nijmegen) to Rosendaal that the inspector told me that it was only valid friday NIGHT…and then on the "stoptrein" from Ros -> Ekeren, the border police checked that ticket 3 times! – with one guard asking me "are you carrying drugs" i just smiled and said check my bag, which he did aided by a snoopy-dog…the guy just looked so …..
apart from a bit of traffic in Lux & through Strasbourg the journey was fine and the other guys (Andy & Chris) were kind enough to let Nico make a small diversion after we crossed the frontier from Alsace, but my son Leon was not at home (so I left his birthday pressie; the new LFC away shirt with a neighbour)….
the sky was blue when we arrived at the nearby park (ironically situated between the last residential addresses of my 2 children) near Freiburg-Gundelfngen/March…nice friendly atmosphere, music playing from the "fighting hearts" club hut, food/drink tents, and small vans & camping scattered around the main playing area, and the surrounding "schwarzwald" (of course our old nickname for Freiburg was "Schwarzwald-city" (and was voted Eco-capital of Europe not so many years ago) I also went to the Freiburg FC "dreisamme stadion" to watch them about 10 years ago when they
famously thrashed Bayern 4-2 and qualifyied for the UEFA cup…but surprisingly, although I had organised summer footy tournaments & teams; the only english-speaking (Free) radio programme in the region, and knew the "alternative scene" having produced a journal, got involved in demos;
for unemployed, left-wing students, exposed the Mayors corruption, organised concerts; inc a famous woodstock/eclipse event, (I was arrested the following day) i didnt know of the tournament we played THIS weekend!
not long after arriving the LFC fan Patrick & Sabina welcomed us with a beer, and the rest of the lads arrived ("chemical wally", "laughing Jan" ; Cis, Peter, and co) then I got involved in a long phone call (personal note; knocked out by JZ!) but I later caught up with the lads & player2coach FRED in the tent-bar, and by about 3am the following morning I was buying rounds for everyone & his dog (literally) ;-0
having not brought my own tent, Nico kindly shared his, but I didnt sleep and the early morning "muscial wake-up" wasnt really necessary as a Nico-sized hangover was kicking in, so I walked to nearby Gufi – to get some bretzels & stuff to wake myself up. in time for the first game, at 10h
which we won easily 3-0 with Fred & I at central defence..we beat the home club 1-0 in a tighter second game then FRED packed it in (no shots allowed against us….)
I was just getting my "match-fitness" back when I went in for a tackle and got clattered by a lads knee on the back of my head, OUCH! – I was really out (concussed) for a while, and just wanted to sleep, Cis & Jan (thanks) looked after me, and I wasnt sure whether the hangover or the the bang on
the head was worse! …but the lads let in a goal and drew 1-1 …still unbeaten though….I came on at the end of the next match (not that you would have noticed as my head was spinning and my passes too!) which we won 4-1…not a bad first days results 3 wins & a draw!…
I wanted to make the final, so I laid off the ale, and had apple-juice, water and just 1 Caipi all night, going to bed didnt help as the music sounded like it was next to my ear, (thanks Nico for letting me sleep alone!) then a dog barked and woke me up, and soon it was 07h and so I decided to try to find my little girls house
…but her mother had moved 2 months ago (no forwarding address) …and so I just walked a few kms to get my head straight…and ready for the quarter final "showdown" with main rivals "Easton cowboys" led by PunkySteve…bit like the LFC v Barca CL game
(well almost!)😉 …
on a personal note I had my best game,positionally perfect, sweeping up at the back & the occasional foray forward for a corner, not one missed pass and again (with Wally this time) not one shot on goal by the opposition, and with Nico (the Bear-Elvis) getting the opportunist winner in a tight game, we had time to sit it out until the semis & final…
(I also keep Noelas teddy-bear as symbolic "Lunatics mascot")
(on the) PO-em for Nico…
(as discussed with Andy & wife Jess of the Easton cowboys)
if you go down to the woods today
you may get a big surprise
his name is n
he looks like Elvis (well at least his hair!)
but the POO part is what he does
in every wood
but if the hunter is about
you wonder if he should
one day he who sh*ts
might get shot
and what a surprise
like it, he will not
mounted on a wall
looking rather small
a strange hairy elvis teddy-boy called …Nico…
(I hope the above needs no explanation!)
and so the semis, and the host teams again! – but unfortunately having been sitting around for a few hours, my muscles stiffened up and I pulled a hamstring muscle early on and had to let Jan take over (note; prospective managers; whilst I played in central defence, the opposing team had NOT one shot on goal in 3+ games!) …so I missed the final BUT (in good LFC style!) the LUNATICS won! – a penalty shoot-out against the hosts 3-0!…
(it was those wonderful team-talks by FRED, at each "important game"😉 that must have done it)
the Friendhip, warm atmosphere and wonderfully inventive trophies made by the host – club (and Freds speech) made for a heart-warming presentation ceremony, I had ONE beer, and we washed in the local stream before long goodbyes & the the trek back in Nicos car, a few hours on Nicos coach, and I was back in Zwolle Monday afternoon
(I would have liked to have taken in the Italian event and the LFC
friendles…but, insha’allah, there’s next year?) …and hopefully I will be
able to join the Easton cowboys event in August (?)
thanks to all concerned
Chris "euro-scouser & Alien"
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
p.s. Nico, please let me know about the coming events, and give Peter my email as he has a couple of bands that he thinks I might be able to support, and the info on t-shirt production?…
PunkySteve & the cowboys Good luck in Bologna!