Date:Wednesday June 13 2012
Sorry I've not written before but we've had little time to ourselves.
We've probably had as many questions and/or problems as any trip I've been on. I'm glad to say that none of them have involved trouble in any form. Once again our media have painted a picture that you can't recognise when you get here. The locals are as friendly and helpful as any of the countries that we have previously visited; in fact better than most. After Panorama's 'every fan is racist' program, it's nice to meet locals that are coloured who have never experienced any problems here.
Although Donetsk is an old mining town it is sprinkled with parks that are full of roses and tree lined avenues that offer shade from the unremitting sun. The fans that are here can spend the days at pavement cafes or bars in these boulevards soaking up the sunshine and, if they wish, sampling the variety of locally brewed beverages.
Most of the hotels were grossly over-priced but people that arrive at our helpdesk can be pointed towards very acceptable hostel accommodation for £15 to £20 per night. Eating and drinking is cheap; even the poshest restaurants are a lot less than England.
All in all a great place to be (if you weren't working).
We fly tonight to Kiev to start work tomorrow, the day before the game, as usual. Hopefully we won't experience again the 5 hour delay in our flight here from Kiev when we came. Though being stranded in a departure lounge where the beer is less than £1.50 a pint is not too painful. The highlight was when they opened our departure gate after about 3 hours and the first bus full of passengers disappeared across the tarmac only to return about 15 minutes later having failed to find a plane.
Oh yes, and there was also a game to go to. I would have taken a draw against the French before kick-off but felt for a while that we might actually win it. Hodgson was always my choice for manager but I was disappointed with his rather negative substitutions. As a Pompey fan, it was good to see the Ox, born and bred in Portsmouth have such a good game - I think he has got a long International career in front of him.
One last anecdote whilst talking of Pompey - After getting to bed about 4.30 in the morning when we arrived (after that delay at Kiev) I was awoken by the telephone helpline at 8 o'clock by guys in a camper van that were driving across Ukraine and were basically lost. "Could I give them directions?" Not easy when you're 1000 miles away and do not know the country well. Anyway we got them sorted with the easiest route and heard know more until 8 the next day when I had a call from the same camper van now broken down about 60k form Donetsk. To cut a long story short, with the help of the interpreter on our team, we eventually got them and van to Donetsk in time for the game. Yes, you've guessed it, they were PFC fans. I won't embarrass them by naming them but they do owe me a beer to keep quiet!
I'll try to update you from Kiev but meantime, if you've got friends or loved ones out here, I can guarantee that so far they are having a great time.
Date:Wednesday June 13 2012
We'll Look Like Them, Can We Play Like Them! (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Underperforming 'Golden Generation' (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Rodwell Gets England Call (Tuesday May 21 2013)
England Wait On Cleverley (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Delfouneso Replaces McManaman (Monday May 20 2013)
Carroll Worthy Of Return (Monday May 20 2013)
McManaman Ruled Out (Saturday May 18 2013)
Captain Cole? (Saturday May 18 2013)
Dream Come True For McCarthy (Saturday May 18 2013)
Pearce On His Squad (Saturday May 18 2013)
|We'll Look Like Them, Can We Play Like Them!
» England : 21/05/2013 16:52:00
|Underperforming 'Golden Generation'
» England : 21/05/2013 16:41:00
|Rodwell Gets England Call
» England : 21/05/2013 16:26:00
|England Wait On Cleverley
» England : 21/05/2013 16:17:00
|Delfouneso Replaces McManaman
» England : 20/05/2013 11:49:00
|Carroll Worthy Of Return
» England : 20/05/2013 10:31:00
|McManaman Ruled Out
» England : 18/05/2013 14:05:00