Footie pub talk in Krakow

RNW archive

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They say sport brings nations together. Well, Euro 2012 certainly does in the bars, tents and terraces of Krakow. The atmosphere is relaxed and peaceful.

Three teams – Holland, Italy and England – have their tournament base camp in the beautiful Polish city. In the wake of the stars have come the fans and journalists. At dinner time they all flock to the city’s elegant squares to watch the matches together.

When the fans get together the beer flows and the conversation can be a little odd to say the least as predications, prejudices and purile nonsense intermingle in an increasingly booze-fueled haze.

Here are some snippets of Sunday night’s conversations at the ‘Irish M-Bass-Y’ Pub, close to Maly Rynek square, where red-clad Danes barge in. One is wearing a “crazy clapping cap” with a little pair of hands protruding from it. By pulling two invisible strings, the tall Dane can make his cap-hands clap.

England fan: “Great cap, mate. You did well against Holland the other night.”
Denmark fan: “Yeah, we were good.” (Cap applaudes)
England fan: “Haha, nice one.”
Denmark fan: “What are they singing here?”
England fan: “Let’s go f**king mental.”
Denmark fan: “What?”
England fan: “That’s what they’re singing: ‘Let’s go f**king mental.’”
Denmark fan: “…?”
England fan: “Yeah, you know like, f**king…”
Denmark fan: “F**king…”
England fan: (Moves his hip, grins) “Yeah, means this, right”
Denmark fan: (Cap applaudes)
England fan: “Haha. And mental means crazy. Get it?”
Ireland fan: “Could you move back a bit. Me and my wife can’t see a thing. You Vikings are just too tall.”
England fan: “Crazy, see what I mean?”
Poland fan: “Cheers.”
England fan: “Oh no, more Danes, another invasion…”
Poland fan: “I’m Polish.”
England fan: “Oh, right, yeah, you’re wearing red too. Your scarf says Polska, so you must be Polish then.”
Poland fan: “I’m Polish.”
England fan: “Good luck to you, mate. Here’s to Poland” (Raises glass, Danes, Poles and Dutch do the same)
Ireland fan: “You Dutch?”
Holland fan: “Yeah.”
Ireland fan: “What happened to Holland then?”
Holland fan: “Don’t know, no luck I suppose.”
England fan: “You made me lose a lot of money, you know.” (Turns to tall Danish fan)
Denmark fan: “…” (Cap applaudes)
[Croatia score against Ireland, prompting a barrage of boos and verbal abuse]
England fan: “Yeah, Holland were unlucky. It’s all got to do with money, you know. Van Persie is top scorer in the Premier League, but can’t score for the Dutch. He earns big money at Arsenal, but gets a pittance in Holland. They say he’ll sign for a Chinese club, where he’ll get 60 million a year. Ridiculous.”
Holland fan: “Don’t think it’s the money. Van Persie is not like that at all.”
England fan: “True, Persie’s got brains.”
Holland fan: “Yeah, he completed secondary school.”
England fan: “Did he? Amazing. Look at our lads. Look at Rooney. He’s as thick as two planks. Went to visit Auschwitz the other day and all he could say was: ‘People were killed, children were killed, it’s sad.’”
Holland fan: “Right.”
England fan: “’It’s sad’. See what I mean? He has 20 words in his vocabulary: happy, sad, eat, drink, sex.”
Holland fan: “And football of course.”
England fan: “Yeah, kick, header, aaarrrr I scored!”
Holland fan: “Great player, though.”
England fan: “Has his ups and downs. Good at Man U, lousy for England.”
Holland fan: “Shame he won’t play the first two matches. Who do you think will win the euros?”
England fan: “Yeah, Rooney’s suspended. Spain will get the title.”
Holland fan: “I’d say France.”
England fan: “What? You must be joking…”
Holland fan: “France will beat Germany in the final.”
England fan: “Rubbish. You mental or what? France and Germany in the final. And you’re saying this to an Englishman…”
Germany fan: “France are a great team.”
England fan: “Oh, God. Not another one. Where are you from then? Holland, too? Must be as crazy as he is.”
Germany fan: “No, I’m from Germany. And I think France will beat either Spain or Germany in the final.”
[Ireland equalize, loud cries of jubilation, Danish clapping cap applaudes]
England fan: “I’m baffled. Stunned. Can’t believe I’m hearing this. Let’s get a drink. What are you having?”
Holland fan: “Zywieck.”
Germany fan: “Guinness for me, please.”
Russia fan: (nudges Holland fan) “F**k Ukraine!
Holland fan: “What?”
Russia fan: (Moves his hip) “F**k Ukraine!
Holland fan: “Why. I’m just back from Ukraine. Friendly people, gorgeous women. You Polish?”
Russia fan: “I’m Russian. F**k Ukraine!
Ireland fan: “There’s only one Ireland.”
Denmark fan: “What?”
Ireland fan: “There’s only one Ireland.”
Denmark fan: “…” (Cap applaudes)
[Croatia score again, loud boos and cries: OFF-SIDE]
England fan: “Did you watch that, offside surely. Cheers.”
Holland fan: “Cheers. No, it wasn’t. Shot was deflected by an Irish player.”
England fan: “Still offside in my book. The ref is Dutch, isn’t he? That explains everything. Dutch people don’t know much about football. Fantastic players, but don’t know how to score. And France winning the title. Crazy.”