Continuing our A-Z Tour series, Eastern European football aficionado James Tambinho shares a mouth watering alphabetical football itinerary!….
My A-Z Tour of European Football:
I’m a 21 year old Leicester fan who’s done a fair share of travelling considering the somewhat limited chance of European travel I’ve had in the time I’ve been supporting them. But I have travelled to other cities following other teams to pursue my growing interest in groundhopping. So far I’ve been to Berlin, Seville, Brugge, and Copenhagen following Leicester and VFL Bochum. There are numerous other cities and grounds across Europe that I want to visit once I leave university and have enough money to do so, and this list will form my main choices that I’d like to visit per letter – some of course more obscure than others considering the limited choice that some letters of the alphabet present! Here’s my list:
A is for…AIK: The Scandinavian scene has exploded into the limelight in these last few years and with some incredible displays and pyro coupled with what I hear to be a lovely city of Stockholm made ‘A’ a fairly easy choice.
B is for Borac Banja Luca: A team in the Bosnian league from the Republika Srpska region in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As I am quite interested in Serbia and the Serbs in general I would like to go to a city and a ground in the majority orthodox Serb part of Bosnia.
C is for CSKA Sofia: Another team from the Balkans with a classic Balkan style stadium, the Bulgarska Armia Stadium. Sector G is the ultras section in this ground which produced the classic ‘Star Wars’ tifo display which became a story around the world, even in non football communities, and I would very much like to see them in action.
D is for Dynamo Dresden: Clubs from the former East Germany are all quite attractive to me to go and visit, but none more so than Dynamo Dresden. Their fans and the atmosphere created is in my opinion one of the strongest in Europe and it is a must for me at some point.
E is for Eintracht Frankfurt: Over to Eintracht Frankfurt, from the western side of Germany. This choice is purely because of the fans wonderful own rendition of ‘Pippi Langstrumpf’ which on occasion has got so many fans bouncing the floor can be seen bouncing too!
F is for Ferencvaros: Budapest is a city I really want to visit, not just as a general tourist and not only for Ferencvaros, but for a few teams. But Ferencvaros is the top of my list in terms of Budapest teams and the atmosphere created there is something I will experience sooner or later. My only disappointment is that they no longer play at their old ground the ‘Stadion Albert Flórián’.
G is for GKS Belchatow: Next up is a relatively smaller club from central Poland, but I desire to visit them as I like their small and fairly oddly designed ground. Secondly I wanted to see an industrial town belonging to one of the many mining based clubs in Central and Eastern Europe, I picked Bełchatów.
I is for Illichivets Mariupol: As you may have already noticed and will become even more apparent as this list continues, my preferences for European football lie in Central and Eastern Europe. This option was tough as there weren’t too many options for my liking, but Illichivets currently interest me with the possible danger factor thrown in too, considering they are based in Mariupol and the troubles in this area.
J is for Jagiellonia Bialystock: I keep track of the actions in Poland regarding the fans of different clubs and after the rather boringly named ‘Białystok City Stadium’ completed renovation in mid-late 2016 the main stand has often been packed to the rafters, and the ultras have made some excellent displays and pyro shows. Definitely one for me.
K is for Karpaty Lviv: A tough one for me but it came down to the fact that L’viv is located in my area of interest in Europe and the fairly frequent green pyro shows are something that enticed me into choosing Karpaty.
M is for Metalist Kharkiv: Back to Ukraine and there wasn’t much reasoning behind this selection other than the fact it’s a big city in Ukraine, of which I know a few people who I would enjoy to go to a match with!
N is for Nantes: Over to France now, a country I’ve been to on holiday many times but never been for football. While French football in general doesn’t really appeal to me, Nantes would be the exception! Their fans bouncing in one end curve of the ground all in yellow and green tempted me to include these in my list.
O is for Olimpique Lyonnais: Following on from my last choice now, Lyon are a club who recently moved to a new ground ‘Parc Olympique Lyonnais’ and have so far been making an impressive atmosphere which I want to witness personally.
Q is for Qarabag: Limited choice for Q understandably, but it gave me an opportunity to pick a club from a country I don’t know that much about and would be interested on visiting – Azerbaijan. Qarabag are arguably the biggest team here so I was drawn to this.
S is for Spartak Moscow: Russia is a country that I am absolutely fascinated by and I haven’t even been there yet, so going to see Russia’s most successful club in their new ground for me is a must. Not to mention the different flavours of vodka I can try in various different Moscow pubs!
T is for Tom Tomsk: While not technically in Europe it is a classic Siberian city which I plan on visiting anyway and while I’m there watching a Russian league match would be a lovely bonus at their nicely designed ‘Stadion Trud’.
U is for Udinese: Ever since seeing their stadium on telly when playing Arsenal a few years ago I’ve thought that I’d want to go there myself. A relatively boring choice as there wasn’t much options for my taste!
V is for Vfl Bochum: As a Leicester fan we have a growing friendship with Bochum fans, and whilst I have travelled away to Union Berlin and will hopefully be going to Munich with them, I have yet to go to their home ground – the ‘Ruhrstadion’ – and it will be one I do probably next season as soon as I can afford to!
Y is for Young Boys Bern: I think Swiss football is very underrated in terms of fans creating excellent atmospheres and great pyro shows, and Young Boys with their interesting name were an easy choice for me considering the lack of viable options for me with this letter.
Z is for Zenit St Petersburg: I have a very good mate who is a Zenit fan over in Russia and I will be visiting these hopefully before they leave the ‘Petrovsky Stadion’. I myself have a love for Zenit, probably third only to Leicester and Bochum, so I can’t wait to go to the beautiful city of St Petersburg to see them.
You can follow James on Twitter @Zenit_geezer
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Next up in our A-Z tour series, Ebbsfleet United fan and non league football writer Jason Button shares his A-Z itinerary!…