Diary of a Croatian fan at Euro 2008, part 5

by Mystical Mike

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Saturday 14th June

I arise early, shower, shave and bound back to Potting shed number one, ready for another day’s cutting edge journalism. I’d left the other boys last night with the understanding that we’d be getting a full day’s work in today so am somewhat surprised to see the curtains drawn and the door locked. After banging on it for a couple of minutes it opens and there stands Atterby, still wearing the clothes he had on last night, and looking like Chewbacca on a bad hair day.


If that wasn’t bad enough Zitko is sprawled across the bed, face down and stark bollock naked. “What the hell’s going on here” I ask, “did Klaus (our friendly but frankly terrifying Campsite Manager) finally have his way with you two last night?” What a thought that is.

Disturbed from his slumber Zitko opens his eyes, realises that he’s fully on show, tries to cover himself with his duvet, but only succeeds in falling off the bed, hitting his bonce on the bedside table and knocking over a half drunk beer can into his luggage.

As Atterby and I laugh ourselves stupid, it becomes clear that having left me in Potting Shed number 2, they got drunk blogging and working on the Zagreb footage. The evidence is clear to see; empty larger cans litter the table. The only way this pair of losers will be out and about any time soon is if I throw them in the shower and get some food down their necks. I literally throw Zitko out of the door still wearing only a smile, which causes the slightly too old to be wearing a 2-piece German woman in potting shed number 3 to nearly have a heart attack, although she soon recovers her composure and gives him a knowing wink. This seems to bring him round and he dashes off to the toilet block, quickly grabbing his towel which he’d left outside to dry over night. Atterby trudges behind him, grunting like an imprisoned Wookie.

Thinking that today could be a long day, I jump into the BACF mobile, gun the engine and speed off past a waving Klaus. Maybe we’re misreading the situation, perhaps he just wants some money?

After arriving at the media centre we decide that we’ll skip the first bit of the press conference and instead try and grab some one on one player interviews in the lounge area. When the players arrive it’s Danijel Pranjic and Vedren Runje which is good news for us as they both speak English and Zitko still hasn’t become fluent in Croatian, lazy b****rd.


Instead of the nice and cordial atmosphere we’d expected it soon becomes clear it’s a total free for all with journalists pushing and jostling each other to get the best positions. Atterby actually gets hit on the head with a Polish camera. These Poles don’t take any prisoners. Cue pushing and shoving and some very choice language, the like of which the foreign journalists have probably never heard before. As Runje finishes his interview with Croatian TV we seize our chance. I nip in front of the afore mentioned Polskies, blocking their path, Atterby leaps over a settee Sony Handycam in hand, whilst Zitko has a total “Oh my God I’m interviewing a Croatian legend” moment and stutters through his opening questions.

Whilst repositioning ourselves to try and grab a few words with Daniel Pranjic we notice that there is a TV crew filming us. What the hell is going on here and when did we become the story? This is the European Championships and Croatian TV seem more intent in filming three newbies from London than their own players (a slight exaggeration but it’s fun to dream). Zitko is getting visibly annoyed and despite his protests Atterby and myself believe its got little to do with the camera that’s stuck in his face and more to do with the fact that he looks rough and hasn’t been given a hair and make-up budget.

Not content with filming us, they actually request an interview, Atterby makes a comment about getting Max Clifford on the phone to do our PR and I think he’s half serious. Our new found fame seems to be going to everyone’s heads. Its then that Zitko reappears, unbeknown to both myself an Atterby he’d snuck off to the toilet, somehow acquired hair-gel and what appears to be foundation and has spruced himself up for his debut TV performance. Interview completed Zitko lounges back on a settee in the media lounge loving himself more than its natural for any man to do.

After unexpectedly becoming TV stars the rest of the day is somewhat mundane, with the usual video editing, uploading and article writing to be completed. The other two are wilting fast, no doubt due to all the booze that they poured down their throats last night, and not as Atterby claims, “some dodgy bloody Schnitzel”.

So its back to the potting sheds and early to bed. Falling further behind with our work-load we really need to push on tomorrow. I take the executive decision to remove the remaining alcohol from potting shed one as those two can’t be trusted. I sit back on the bed, crack open a cold larger sinking it in virtually one swig. I then begin to wonder what the Canadian chick is up to. That beer has gone straight to my head and I could do with a little Internet ‘chatting’ right now. Damn you Klaus, why haven’t you installed wi-fi.

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

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

    so Zitko is a potting machine? what was the German chick like?

    How are you dealing with this sudden fame? Sounds like you lot are flying the flag for the England!

  • Brian Smith

    Very good reading, although it makes one feel a little envious. My friends & I were unfortunate enough to buy all our tickets before the England Croatia game, so dam you Steve McClaren, dam you!

  • dexylongshot

    Excellent stuff again, You’ll have to get the Sony footage to us and we’ll chuck a link or 2 on here, she sounds really fit…. Oh and you can send us some footy stuff too if you want eh!!!

    As for McClaren, i was too starting to look at hiring 8 berth campervans, purchasing morrisons £9.99 tent sets for the Alps and browsing the Austrian Lonely Planet guides in Wh Smith.
    Despite me forking out another 70 squid for the England+ fans club, i’ll think i’ll hold out on flights to the dark continent in 2010 until the very last kick of the last world cup qualifier game. If we fail again, i’m gonna change my name to Dexy Slavenshot and support your boys in SA, can you invite the Canadian!???!

  • Ashman

    Good work!

    The Zitko interview itself – i want to see it!!! Did you ask him important questions like “How long does your hair take to style in the mornings?” “Pepsi or Coke” and “if you could be ANY popstar for a day….” ???

    Would also love to see this Canadian chick, but deffo want to keep away from “dodgy schnitzels” (you did mean food, right?!) so im happy to let you guys keep me up to date.

    Looking forward to the knockouts!

  • http://aloadofcobblers.blogspot.com Danny Brothers

    Great work with this column, thoroughly enjoying the ongoing story and a good insight into something we don’t usually get to see into.

    Look forward to the next chapter!

  • http://www.becomeacroatiafan.com Andrija Tadic

    hahah Ashman, there’s no way i’m sharing the Canadian chick with anyone… if you had an aston martin you wouldnt let your mates drive it would you…

    glad you like the column… new updates shortly…

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

    so Andrija, am I right in thinking the potting shed is now a potting zone all round?

  • Ashman

    Andrija –

    What if someone had an Aston Martin, and said they would swap it for the Canadian chick for a weekend!?…

    Would you not be tempted!?

    if this offer fails, please ensure a picture of said Canadian Chick is included in the next Blog spot.
    I’ll add a pic of an Aston Martin just for you 😉

  • http://www.becomeacroatiafan.com Andrija Tadic

    re: the potting shed… well Darren, Zitko has certainly potted a couple of pinks in there, and he may have even got to the brown,….. being the gentleman that he is he wont confirm this though…

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