Diary of a Croatian fan at Euro 2008, part 2

by Mystical Mike

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Tuesday 10th June

Our first full day as part of media pack and this is certainly the life. No 9-5 slog for the BACF boys, instead its up at 10am, a mosey into Oberwalt for some schnitzel in a roll, cash some traveler’s cheques and then back to the media centre for out first press conference.

On the drive back we discuss where we should position the camera and the questions we want to ask, but the time we’ve finished today we’re in no doubt that a new media force will have emerged in world football – The idealistic dreams of young men.

When we arrive we find that the best spots for recording have already been taken, who the hell do these people with their big cameras think they are? Oh that’s right, Croatian TV, ORF the Austrian host broadcaster and Reuters, Undeterred we set up our Sony Handycam to the side, crank up the laptops and wait for the action to start.

First up it’s two of the squad, Ivan Klasnic and Ivan Rakitic. The majority of the press conference is in Croatian which means myself and Atterby struggle to follow what’s going on, although to some extent football is an international language and we can understand bits and pieces. For instance they will gain advantage from Lehman and Metsacker not having played much this season.

Zitko seems to have more of an idea, although barely. Then its time for some questions in English and before we know what’s going on a number of hands have shot up and it seems as though our chance has passed us by as after only 4 or 5 questions the players are led off the stage. Is that it we wonder, to which the answer is a resounding no as into view saunters Slaven Bilic.

I look over at Zitko; “I cant believe I’m only 10 feet from God” he mumbles hardly able to contain himself, and to be honest i kind of agree, this is a great moment for me, being this close to one of my biggest heroes. Then a tap on the shoulder and I’m brought back down to reality with a big bump, “Has he been out on the sauce all-night or something, he looks worse than Gazza after a trip to the cells” is Atterby’s contribution and when I take a second look he does look, well, not exactly as ‘fresh’ as one would have expected. Zitko isn’t perturbed however, “We are in the presence of greatness”.

Slav on the booze?

Again the main part of the conference is in Croatian but when it comes to the English part, and before me and Atterby know what’s going on Zitko has his hand in the air and is asking a question. “George Zitko from Become-a-Croatia-Fan.com, he proudly states before asking something vaguely interesting about Croatia’s record against Germany and the support Croatia have in the UK. Slaven looks at Zitko, rather confused no doubt by the half England, half Croatia shirt he has fashioned together for himself, before giving his own vaguely interesting answer. He’s obviously a master at keeping things close to his chest.

As soon as the conference is finished we check the Handycam camera for footage before retiring to the lounge to write up the last couple of hours activities and eat sandwiches.

Then at 6pm its the second highlight of the day as we’re let into the first 20 mins of training. Again we set up the video camera and capture some great footage of four legends – Bilic, Jurcevic, Asanovic and Prosinecki – playing keepy uppy. The biggest news is that despite fears that he could miss the Germany game due to injury, Luka Modric takes a full part in the session. All to quickly we’re ushered back out through the gates by burly Austrian security, each of whom seems to want to outdo each other in the craziness of his handlebar mustaches.

Once again we head back to the media centre to catch up with the latest news before settling down to watch the nights 2 games. I even find time to continue the Internet flirting with the rather attractive Canadian women I started on Friday night. Football journalism is not a stressful or difficult job.


Andrija Tadic reports for UK Football Finder from the leading Croatian football website become a croatia fan.

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  • dexylongshot

    I love Bilic eeven more now, he made me very happy Thursday night!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    I give it 6 months and he will be at West Ham.

    There’s nothing more pleasing then seeing a manager like Bilic on the side lines, he kicks every ball, he heads every ball, he makes every tackle. The guy is full of passion, unfortunately the FA are to scared to employ someone like him, instead we employ men with as much charisma as a toilet roll.

  • BigpHil2Nd

    I think Bilic looks a bit gay with those ear rings. Top manager though, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does in FACT end up at West Ham.

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