Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Maribor Redux

Two years ago myself and the Better Half spent a very pleasant week in Slovenia, ending up for a few days in Maribor. A swish apartment was rented, romantic walks along the river were made, delicious horse steaks and bottles of the local Chardonnay were dispatched. In fact the only dampeners on the whole week were that Northern Ireland was defeated 2-0 by the home nation and our recently appointed local ran out of beer about three hours before the game started.

Times change unfortunately and I'm soon heading off to the same destination with an overnight bag and nothing much more than a dozen ham baps, a Harp 4 pack and 100 euros to see me through to Saturday night, when hopefully I'll be arriving back home. Accommodation this time has been booked for what suspiciously looks like a university hostel where, if we're really lucky, we might be sharing a dorm with the tax dodgers hard working students of the QUBNISC...

Strangely enough, Ms has given this one a miss and I'll hazard a guess that Belgrade also won't be top of her "Places to See" list for 2011.

Re. the football, well...
I stick to my opinion that we are one campaign (and a change of manager) away from a decent enough team, one that would be capable of finishing 2nd or 3rd in whatever group it finds itself. But in this transitional (almost) post-Healy era, I genuinely think we'll be lucky to escape this group with ten, at the outside, twelve points. If we get a draw on Friday I'll be ecstatic; in the more likely case, we restrict Slovenia to a narrow victory, I'll be reasonably content.

Those wanting a more in depth coverage of the game should check out the new GAWA Blog here.


That was an unexpected couple of hours Friday evening.

Curiously enough as Friday afternoon wore on, having heard the team selected by Worthington, I became even more pessimistic about our chances. But in my own defence, part of my "analysis" has been proven true I think by the evening’s events- with a glimpse of a number of good younger players coming through to supplement the old(er) pros such as Davis, Clingan and (if he ever sorts his head out) Lafferty we have the base of an exciting few years ahead.

After 30 minutes, I couldn’t see us getting stuffed; at half time I was confident enough of a scoreless draw; after we scored, I honestly couldn’t see Slovenia getting back into the game. Having watched some of the highlights, I now think that probably the atmosphere-induced euphoria had clouded my more objective judgement but... who cares, three points from our first away match of the group and against World Cup finalists to boot will do nicely. To reiterate continuing reservations concerning how far we can progress this time and Worthington’s management would be churlish, so I won’t!

And those concerned with the damage inflicted on my well-being by the budgetness of the trip can rest easy. My match-day diet was improved greatly by the plate of roast hog(!) on offer at the prior fans’ game, our Slovenian hostel is equivalent in standard to a mid-price dUK hotel. And I was only joking about the Harp.


Johnny Guitar said...

Ham baps, four Harp and a €100? Jaysus, the recession really is taking its toll. Treat yourself to a horse steak after the hard fought nil-nil draw.

O'Neill said...

See the update JG... also came back with several (OK, 5) euros in my backpocket!