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DEBRECEN (English Version)

DEBRECEN (English Version)

It was arranged in the beginning of November to go to a return game of the 2nd round UEFA CUP between Debrecen and PAOK. At that time fans of PAOK, members of Neapoli and Sikies clubs, were in Belgrade. The occasion was game in the Champions League between Partizan and Real Madrid.

Arrangements concerning the organization of the trip to Hungary lasted about 20 days. However, number of fans who went to the game was considerably small from the one expected, considering the sympathies that Partizan fans have for orthodox brothers, PAOK fans. Perhaps the reason why many Grobari (Partizan fans) did not go was that at the same night was a basketball game in the Euro League, between Partizan and Cibona from Zagreb, champion of Croatia. Having known the rivalry between these two clubs, as well as the nations (Serbs and Croatians), many fans did not go to Hungary. However, the few crazy ones thought that going to Debrecen was more interesting challenge in relation to basketball game.

Finally the Wednesday came. A previous arrangement with my friends from Greece was to meet them in their transit through Belgrade. It was also arranged that three younger members of Grobari leave from Belgrade to Budapest, where they would spend the night, with the buses from Greece. Around 6:30 in the morning the bus arrived. We greeted our brothers from Greece and the three members of Grobari continued with them to the capital of Hungary.

During the day in Belgrade arrived, by plane, especially to see this game, one of the main members of the Partizan fan club "Berlin Bulldog". In the evening we watched on TV a game of 5th round of Champions League, Porto – Partizan. Partizan lost 2:1 by playing a disastrous game. Definitely Partizan dropped out of the further competition in the Champions League, but still has a chance to continue in UEFA CUP, provided that in the last round of the Champions League Partizan wins against Marseille, in Belgrade.

On Thursday morning the four of us left for Debrecen by car. In good spirits and with lot of fans equipment mostly without problems, we arrived to our destination. In Debrecen we tried to find the stadium, but without success. However, after half an hour of wandering round the city, we ran into a car with fans of Debrecin. So we followed them and found the stadium. We passed by the group of about 30 skinheads, fans of Debrecin, and greeted them with our middle fingers. Still, we were outnumbered for any serious action. We passed through the police check without problems. They thought that we were Greeks although we had Serbian license plates. Cops are still cops no matter where they are from. We took our scarves, jerseys, the flag "Grobari Srbija" and the flag of Serbia. With our brothers, PAOK fans, we meet again in front of the stadium, as it was arranged. They gave us 4 tickets for the game (thanks a lot again). We entered the stadium slowly. The first impression was the one of the stadium. It was, in a word, a catastrophe. The section for the guest fans was full, an hour and a half before the game started. Many of them entered the stadium with forged tickets. The fence which divided the stands from the field was full with flags. Our friends have already hung a smaller flag of Partizan and we hung beside it a flag of Serbia. We could not hang our other flag "Grobari Srbija" because of its size, but after a while we managed to find a place. The three members of Grobari that were in Budapest with PAOK fans, arrived in the meantime. They told us that they were excited with the way Greeks received them, and how they had not had words to describe what had been happening to them during those 30 hours with Greeks.

The game finally began. What to say? The atmosphere was fantastic in some moments. The motto "NO OLYMPIC GAMES IN FUCKING ATHENS" showed clearly the attitude of PAOK fans toward the Olympic Games. We were confused by that, but they explained it to us. PAOK began to attack, but it seemed unsuccessfully. We sang songs about PAOK fanatically (the ones we knew). I knew a little more songs since I have been on PAOK games before. We insulted, in Serbian, a goalkeeper of Debrecen, who was a Croat. A good part of PAOK fans joined us and the goalkeeper could not believe his ears.

The game was near end, and PAOK was still attacking. The pressure was rising. The host endangered the goal of PAOK in few counterattacks, but without any result. They even hit the goalpost. The visitors exerted pressure even more, but at the end the score remained 0:0. The Hungarians go on in UEFA CUP. We asked our brothers what had happened with black and white teams (PAOK and Partizan). They shrugged their shoulders. We stayed in the stands for some time. The host players were greeting the audience, and we again greeted the goalkeeper, but this time with three fingers (symbol of Serbia). Many PAOK fans came to greet us. Many of them gave us their jerseys as a memento. We left the stadium slowly, and greeted our brothers hoping that we shall see each other again soon. We promised to make our friendship stronger (this proved that friendship with AEK fans was individually). The police escorted the buses through Debrecen. We were driving behind them. Many of them from the buses waved to us, and we continued to travel to Serbia with one group of PAOK fans from Katherini that also came to Hungary by car. At the entrance in Serbia the police stopped us for over speeding. We paid small sum of money but we managed to persuade the police not to charge the Greeks. Greeks invited us for a drink to thank us for the help. Finally, we arrived in Belgrade around 3 a.m. Our little journey has ended. A bad impression that PAOK created by dropping out of the UEFA CUP, was replaced by the fact that our rivals Crvena Zvezda was defeated by the Norwegian Rosenborg, and especially that Partizan won in basketball against Croats.

Entering by night in Belgrade, the first thing we thought of was that we had known the heroes of this story, the PAOK fans, for long time. As if they were some distant relatives that became very close to us this November.

Serbian Version    Ελληνική Μετάφραση



Ouros, 2004-02-03 PAOK World: DEBRECEN (English Version)

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