Article 3806 of
From:  (Morna J. Findlay)
Subject: Memoirs of a Scot at the World Cup
Date: 27 Jun 90 16:07:44 GMT


Forza Italia!
What a country!!!

I am back (unfortunately just after the team) and have had the
most amazingly good time, despite the Mo creature missing those
sitters.... :-)

You are all able to watch the games in the telly, and argue about
them on the net, so I will add to the WC net experience a wee bit
by telling youse all what FUN it was for us Scots fans out there...


Raptures! What a fabulous country to watch fitba in!! Everyone
seems to love fitba and to be most knowledgeable about it.
There is a great deal of foreign fitba on Italian TV throughout
the season, so they are well acquainted with many of the players
now appearing in the finals.

Whilst window-shopping in the smart shops of Milan, Turin and
Genoa, I was amazed to see Mondiale posters and souvenirs in the
most expensive and exclusive establishments. Fitba obviously
enjoys far higher status in the Italian national consciousness  than it
does here in Scotland, where it is the game of the people, but NOT of
the ruling classes. Interesting.....

On the down side, there are many posters up pointing out that
20 workers have died unneccesarily in the mad rush to complete the
stadia and associated infrastructure. Rumours abound that drains
and emergency exits have not been properly completed...

Every second flat in Italy has hung Italian flags out of the
window - just in case we foreigners were to forget which country
we were in, I suppose :-) The Italians are completely convinced that
it is their destiny to win - and it would look quite likely. They will
be really shattered should they lose. I wouldn't like to be the
Ref in the final :-)

I was in a wee Bar in a tiny place called Brusimpiano ( it's a
long story)  having a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit when Italy played
Czechoslovakia ( that goal was NEVER offside, Ref!!) and it was quite fun to
see the wild way that the Italians celebrated their goals. The cheers got
louder with every replay. We Scots get pretty hysterical when we
win of course - but we're not used to it! One would think the
Italians would be a bit more blase about their victories.

I like the Italians. They're great, they really are - just a touch
arrogant about their teams abilities.

Wherever we went, the people ( once they realised we weren't
Germans ) were very kind and helpful. Often they went out of
their way to assist us. In particular I was very grateful to
several people in Turin, who managed to find us accomodation,
after considerable efforts on their part!

Sociological  p.s.

We found the Italian  men to be very...flirtatious, but would
say their reputation for bottom-pinching was fortunately undeserved!
Some Italians told us "that sort of thing" was much worse in "the
South", but there seems to be a lot of prejudice in the North of
Italy against the "Southerners", so who knows if this is true...
Where "the South" begins is a good measure of the liberality of
the Italian to whom you are speaking - really bigoted ones say
they'd like to  get rid of everything south of Lombardy!


The FOOD is great.


Tea is readily available. ( Phew!)


The stadium at GENOVA is the best I have ever been in. Built on
British lines, it naturally appeals to a Scot. A square design
with no nasty running track ensures that fans are seated as close
to the pitch as possible. There is not a bad seat in the place.
Even those in the highest seats behind the goals said they got a superb
view. The loos are a bit basic though, but nothing like as bad
as Hampden....

There were lots of empty seats for the match against Costa
Rica, but tickets were very hard to get for the Swedish game.

Unfortunately, our seats ( top class ones ) were right next to
the section reserved for FIFA officials and other freeloaders.
The ones next to us didn't know who was playing. The Costa Ricans
ran out, and one of the Italian Officials asked us "Scozia??".
For goodness sake, if the Costa Ricans had been (mostly) 5 foot
8" with freckles, I could have understood his mistake!
It is annoying to see these blazered bores take up so many seats while
hundreds of dissapointed fans sometimes couldn't get in. They ignored the
game while being served cokes by uniformed hostesses with pasted-on smiles.
Really - who ARE these people??

The stadium at Turin is an awful monstrosity, IMHO. Its
hugeness is ridiculous. I spoke to many people who could hardly
tell the difference between the teams - so far from the field
were they. Our seats were fine, but many in the second class
seats behind the goals couldn't see much ( so they said), and
they had paid 35 quid a ticket.

It took us bloody hours to get in, and I was in a right state,
trying to find the proper entrance while I could hear "Scotland
the Brave" being played, and the teams being announced! The
stewards kept sending everyone in the wrong direction, and I
nearly got my ticket confiscated becasue one of them thought I
was trying to get into a different area!! The seating was also
inferior to that of the Genoa stadium.  Apparently the "old'
stadium in Turin would have been fine for the WC, but they just
fancied a new one with more parking.

It is miles out from the city centre, and as we left the stadium
very late  (another long story) we wandered home uncertainly in the
wrong direction for a mile or two before yet another helpful
local put us on the right tram.

TV viewers may have noticed rows of empty seats at the front in
these stadia. This is becasue the pitches are surrounded by a
clear plastic fence, through which it is difficult to see
anything. Anyone sitting behind the dug-outs can't see a thing
either, so lots of people move out of their seats.


We did not see Sean Connery :-). We did see Rod Stewart, but we
ignored him, as he made a silly sight, surrounded by swarms of
ridiculously tanned minders. No style! :-)

However, I did get.... JOE JORDANs autograph on my ticket, which
I have framed. Tears will rise to the eyes of Scots fans when
they remember that instead of big Joe we now have only the Mo
creature, who can't even score from the goal line :( :(
I have closely examined Joes' signature, and he's obviously
a man who's done this many times. :-)

The Parties

I've been back since the weekend, and I'm still exhausted. We
Scots fans, happy in our role as "lovable rogues" have all had
the most amazingly enjoyable time. I have never been so popular
in my life. Everywhere we went, as soon as we put on a bit of
Tartan, everyone treated us like long-lost family! The people
in *Genoa* especially were wonderful. Every car that passed us
peeped and waved, and shouted "Forza Scozia!" ( not that it did
us much good, of course ) I had my photograph taken about 400
times - holding babies, posing with kids, shaking hands
with grandpas... It was impossible to carry on a conversation
with any other Scots, or to attempt to chat up the handsome
Swedes :-),  because the Italians kept interrupting to take your
pictures! One  old man I spoke to said it was like
being in the allied army liberating Paris. An exaggeration I'm
sure, but the reception we Scots fans got overwhelmed us.

On our arrival in Genoa, we went looking for the nearest
fountains, because that is where you will always find Scottish
fans. There were very few Costa Rican fans around, but the few
that there were were happy to join in the Scots parties, before
and after the game. ( pauses for a wee sob...)

(That game, btw, was even worse than it looked on the TV)

There were lots of Swedes in Genoa, and they were as determined
as we were to have a good time. It was a wonderful sight to see
big blonde Swedes, their viking helmets dangerously askew, dance
around in the water with kilted, sunburnt Scots. Masses of
Italians had come to join in the fun, and all the wee kids were
getting a shot at the drums and the bagpipes. Italian police
were posing for photographs wearing huge tammies ( tartan bonnets)
and having a good time.

In fact, the theme of this WC was definately hats. Many Scots fans
had enormous tammies - some over 2 feet across, and vied with
each other to wear the tallest feathers in them. One group of
fans wore tartan caps with stuffed tartan Loch Ness Monsters sewn
on top. I merely had an ennormous sunhat with as much tartan on
it as possible. This hat was also a great success...

By the end of the night, of course, many hats had been swapped
for the rather charming helmets.

We arrived at the party with the Swedes at about mid-day. The
drinks ban was a bit of a joke. Lots of people were drinking
from their own supplies, but it didn't cause a proplem.

While I was in a wee cafe up one of the backstreets ( having another cup
of tea) we heard the distant sound ( ah, there's none like it ) of a
Pipe band and we rushed out to have a look. Genoese were rushing
out of their houses and shops to see the band too, and the crowd
poured on to the street  to follow them up to the fountains,
cheering and clapping. (pauses to wipe a nostalgic tear away)
Other parties were going on in all the main squares of Genoa.

We didn't expect to win, and the Swedes did expect to win, but
during and after the game, they showed they were very good
losers. The parties recommenced straight after kick off.

The Swedes didn't seem to have many of their own songs, so they
sang ours instead. I will never forget the hilarious sight
of helmeted, flag-bedraped Swedish lads singing with great gusto:

He's  a *bleep*!!
He's a *bleep*!!"    ( I don't sing this one, as it's unsound :-))

During the game, congas of mixed Scots and Swedes danced around
the pitch, singing my ex-signature:

"Italee, Italee! We're the famous Tartan Army and we're here in Italee!"

Sigh... I'm sorry I can't explain to all the net what fun it was.
It was certainly one of the best days I have ever spent...

Turin and the Brazilians

The people of Turin were also great fun, and as helpful as they
seem to be everywhere in Italy. The Brazilian fans were a bit
of a dissapointment though - sorry netters! Their image as
glamorous samba-ers seems to be one created by very selective
TV camerawork. Most of the fans were grumpy, middle-aged,
white and arrogant. I suppose you have to be rich to come from
Brazil to Europe to watch the WC, and so maybe that's why the
fans were no fun. Some of them were nice of course, and some
*were* glamorous samba-ers, but the GREAT majority were
perhaps not representative of their country.

(She ducks the flames)

They also seemed to expect great successes just to fall in their
laps. Let's face it, their team was a dissapointment  they only
beat us becasue we were worse and because we were foolish enough
to try for a 0:0 draw. We didn't expect to beat them, we were only
annoyed with our team for playing so defensively, which they are
not any good at at all. Most Scots fans were FURIOUS throughout the
game, and I felt sick and could hardly swallow when I saw their
mad tactics. I have never seen so much passing-back. Andy
Roxburgh should be horse-whipped. I would rather they'd beaten us
4:0 in a decent, open game.

I should add that the Brazilian team were very sporting. Twice
they stopped play and drew the Refs' attention to injured Scots
whom he hadn't noticed.

Well, after realising we were out - again  - we decided to
party anyway, and the streets of Turin were once again
ringing to what I now realise is an extensive Scottish repertoire
of fitba songs. (Mrs Thatcher and the Poll Tax took a hammering too )

We were joined by a few Brazilians and by lots of
Italians, and by people from all over the world too. People
come from all over to see the fitba, whether their team is
playing or not. I met some French guys who had had such a good
time with the Scots in Paris, that they'd come down to Turin just
for the atmosphere. They could sing about Jimmy Hill too :-)
I also met Peruvians, Maltese, Norwegians, Moroccans, Algerians,
'Merkins, Canadians and Poles that night.

About 4am ( just after a round of "If ye love the Italian Polis")
the Police told us to stop singing and dancing and to go to bed.
People were really annoyed - the local people there were furious
and pointed out that the night before the Italians had celebrated
their win over Czechoslovakia all night, but as we are now
everyones' ideal supporters, we grumbled and complied. I was
knackered anyway...

Behavioural  p.s.

I find it a bizarre sight and sound to see hordes of tatooed
young neds and beer-bellied middle-aged Scots singing cheerfully:

"We're the best-behaved supporters in the Land!
We're the best-behaved supporters in the Laaaand" etc

(Second verse: "We're a right shower of bastards when we lose.."  etc)

The Scots have discovered that it's "nice to be nice" and
it certainly is great to be so welcomed by the locals. Besides,
all those guys in silly hats don't look very threatening....


I seriously doubt that there is anything more fun in the world
than going to the World Cup - lose or win.

In the airport, this man says to me "See you in America hen!"
"Aye alright- I'll see you in the fountain!" says me.

And as the songs say:

"Hello! Hello! Six in a row! Six in a row!"

"USA! USA! We're the famous Tartan Army and we're goin tae USA!"

"Caaalifornia here we coooome! Caaalifornia here we come!"

Morna Findlay