Sunday, 15 July 2012

The beauty of football and its fans.

Supporters of Croatian outfit Hajduk Split.
As I wrote last week, I was lucky enough to attend a football match of FK Sarajevo and to experience the amazing atmosphere that their fans create.

In one-week-and-a-half, in the space of 48 hours, FK Sarajevo and its city rival, FK Zeljeznicar, will play their own respective European qualifying matches - FK Sarajevo up against Levski Sofia of Bulgaria in the second round of Europa League qualifying; Zeljeznicar in the second qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League against Slovenia's Maribor.

These two match-ups feature four Balkan football clubs each with rich histories, and each with amazing sets of supporters.

I should be in Sarajevo over those dates (24-26 July, for what it's worth), and, so, I am praying that I will manage to snare some tickets for each of these matches before they sell-out.

I can't even begin to describe to the average Joe what sort of atmosphere will be present at these matches. Something we could only dream about experiencing in Australia (regardless of sporting code), believe me.

Here are some videos of each of these clubs' supporters at their finest!

FK Zeljeznicar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
(As a side note, I was, in fact, present at this "match" -- it was abandoned before kick-off due to crowd unrest -- where this video was taken; Grbavica Stadion, Sarajevo, October 2011.)

NK Maribor (Slovenia)

FK Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

PFC Levski Sofia (Bulgaria)

As the great Bill Shankly famously once said:

'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.'

Perhaps only some will truly understand that, but, if you're not one of them, don't be left out completely. Open your eyes and open yourself to at least experience (even if it's only via the Internet!) this amazing world of football and, more particularly, its passionate supporters.

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