Mid June 2012 and Gdansk awoke to the battle cries of thirty thousand green uniformed soldiers. The Polish city had been infiltrated by the Irish Football Army who would go to battle with the mighty Spanish that night. I witnessed the beautiful old town turn green in a matter of seconds.
Like an algae, they spread rapidly along the banks of the Motlawa – fans wrapped in flags and face paint. Men in morph-suits paraded in their tight lycra body stockings, no contour left to the imagination. A rainbow of green, white and orange illuminated every nook and cranny of the beautiful old city.
I stood, shoulder to shoulder with my regiment of fellow countrymen, wearing a Celtic jersey and a tricoloured beret. Hiding between my arse cheeks, was an emerald green thong – my lucky thong. Though a bit tight and slightly chaffing, it had a proven track record so I was poised for an Irish victory.
It didn’t take long for munitions to be procured and the cobbled streets were soon covered with trays of beer. Beer so cheap it was almost free – everyone shared, even the Cavan men. Then of course, it was time to sing. The steps of the town hall became the main stage and a fat skinhead in an Italia ‘90 jersey assumed the role of conductor.
I will never forget his final song, a wonderful rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas. ‘On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, One Paul McGrath, Two Paul McGraths, Three Paul McGraths, Four Paul McGraths and an Oooh Ah Paul McGrath’. As he lead the empassioned voices though the verse of the fifth day, I broke down and cried.
Despite resembling Gazza, he was legendary. Managing tempo, choreographing dance, he even managed to get a harmony going from the assembly of thousands. And so he was christened The Lord of Gdansk, right there in the Square, for his contribution to the cause.
The dirt cheap, gassy, impossible to pronounce Polish plonk, with a crazy picture of a wild beast on the can, had blown the head right off me. The first battle of the day – girl in Gdansk has her head blown off in a duel with the local beer.