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Meet The Netley Boys - One at a time

A monthly, light-hearted interview with a member of NATA.  

Please note - these views expressed in these interviews only reflect those of the individual concerned, and do not represent NATA as a whole.  This is the only section of the site where club football is mentioned - if you are likely to be offended by this, please don't read on.

February 2002: Paul (The Fat Man)

Stade Beaujoire in Nantes - best stadium visited?  See Q3 He was only a saggy old cloth cat... See Q5 Woodside Road, Worthing - the theatre of dreams?  See Q15 Latvia as the best away trip?  See Q2


1. First home and away matches? 
My first away game was the 1988 Wembley match, which we lost 1-0.  The score was overshadowed by a massive riot that kicked off on the terrace next to where I was standing.  I was 12 years old, and I can still vividly remember the shoving and crushing that followed.  On a happier note, my first real TA excursion was to France 98, after I graduated from Uni - I've been lucky enough to have only missed one game since then (Faroes away).

As for home matches, a combination of growing up in England, poor holiday planning and further education kept me away from games until the Latvia game in October 97 at Celtic Park.  Rich and I turned up a bit worse for wear, and at the end I was so moved (we qualified for France that day) that as I wiped a tear from eye a big guy came up to me, hugged me and told me "Don't worry son, it'll all be okay"!


2. Best away trip? 
I'd put it as a dead tie between Latvia and Croatia.  We spent almost a week in each place, Latvia we got there early and Croatia we stayed until the following Sunday - I loved both trips for pretty much the same reasons: the welcome from the locals, the quality of the bars, and the football wasn't bad either.  Poland has since risen in my estimations, as the further away I get from it, the more I realise how much I enjoyed it.


3. Best foreign stadium visited? 
I've been lucky enough to have seen matches in the Velodrome (Marseille), the Nou Camp (FC Barcelona) and Espanyol's Stadio Olympico, as well as taking a tour of the Amsterdam Arena, but I have to say that Nantes Stade Beaujoire is my favourite.  The night I was there (USA v Yugoslavia) there was a beautiful sunset and I was lucky enough to get a great picture that still hangs on my wall (click here to see a decent sized version).

As for seeing Scotland, it would have to be the Stade Lescure in Bordeaux, with the Roi Badouin in Brussels in second place.


4. Best foreign pub/club visited? 
No question - A La (The Cave) in Riga takes the biscuit, but only Helen and I seemed to know about it.  A travesty seeing as it was only around 50 yards from Dickens and almost directly opposite Amsterdam, but then all there was from the road was a doorway.  The ambience and service was unbelievable, and it just seemed to attract the nicest elements of Riga nightlife.  I'm already looking forward to our planned return next April on the way to Vilnius.

Other notable mentions are: Alus Seta and Klondaika Pool Club (both Riga - just ask the Notts Scots!), Molly Malones in Prague (the least plastic of all the "Plastic Paddy" pubs I've had to suffer over the years), any bar in  Opatovina Street in Zagreb, and Pub Medyk, which takes the award for "the best underground bar with no visible means of escape in the event of fire".  The Warka Strong Club in Wloclawek should also get a mention for it's charming barmaid (who gave us a box of glasses as a going-away present!), it's comedy skinheads and it's wife-swapping student clientele!


5. Describe your usual match-day attire
From the feet upwards: beer-stained desert boots, 3-day worn kilt hose, McGregor Modern Hunting kilt, Allison kilt pin, Horsehair semi-dress sporran, bagpuss, vaseline, belt, Fat Man T-Shirt (or other approved NATA wear), other team's shirt (when available), several pin badges (not quite pearly king levels, mind), big saltire hat with fluffy lion.


6. Is there anywhere you have seen Scotland play that you would like to go back to? 
I've loved most places, although I have to say that Latvia, Croatia, Bosnia and definitely the Czech Republic rank very highly on my wish list.  Having said that, I've been lucky enough to go back to Prague (for the Czech-Belgium play-off last November), and I'm planning to travel via Latvia for the Lithuania game.


7. Where have you have seen Scotland play that you would NOT like to return to? 
I was in Poland for a week, so a wee rest before going back there would be appreciated.  I wasn't too impressed with Amsterdam (everyone trying to rip everyone else off), Rimini (for San Marino), or Tallinn (despite rave reviews from everyone else), although this may be down to my own personal experiences.


8. And where do you want to go to (but haven't yet)?
I'm obsessed with Azerbaijan, but I'll settle for Portugal in the summer of 2004.  I'm not overly impressed with Iceland and the Faroes (beer costs, mainly), but I'm hoping I'll be pleasantly surprised.


9. Who's the best Scottish player that you have actually seen? 
Currently, Don Hutchison seems to be the one coming up with the goods, but I'll say Gary McAllister, just to be controversial.  Seriously, imagine what a midfield of Collins, Lambert, Burley and McAllister could have done for us at France 98?


10. Who's the best opposing player you have actually seen? 
Was Zidane playing against us at Hampden?  I'd have to say Jan Koller, for the way he turned the game in Prague when he came on.


11. Favourite Scottish home and away kits of all time? 
Whilst our current kit is right up there, I'll settle for the 1990 World Cup home shirt, with the rugby-style, tartan-trimmed collar and the faint pin-stripe.

I've not been too impressed with our away kits over the years, particularly not our current England-esque affair, so I'll court controversy and say the pink and navy shirt as featured in our win over Germany (and our dour 0-0 with Estonia).  Well, I did live in Brighton for years...


12. … And your least favourite? 
I couldn't stand the all-navy tartan effort for Euro 96, and as for away kits, despite some real howlers, the "vomit on  shoulder" white with red/purple stains (mid-1990s) is the most stomach-churning.


13. What is your favourite and least favourite Scotland chant/song? 
Favourite - has to be "doh a deer", particularly after the post-Bordeaux singing.  Otherwise, the seminal and little-known "When The Thing Hits The Thing" would take the award (see the Songs page for an explanation of sorts)

It's hard to pin-point a definite least favourite.  Obviously I hate to hear anything Old Firm related, and I guess anti-English songs get a bit boring, as I'd rather celebrate what we are rather than what we are not.


14. Which have been the highest and lowest points of supporting Scotland? 
High - Games-wise, either Latvia at Celtic Park, 1997, Scotland v Norway at WC 98, or Wembley 1999.  Moment-wise: walking down Opatovina (a street full of bars in Zagreb) to raptourous applause, just for being Scottish (it was very embarrassing at the time, mind!)

Low - both legs of the England play-offs, certainly after the hang-over wore off!  The 60 minutes following Morocco game were pretty low as well.  Overall, worrying about tickets/flights before every single away game!


15. Favourite domestic stadium? 
Does Woodside Road, Worthing count?  It's a great wee non-league ground just 5 minutes from my front door Professional clubs - Highbury in England (where the grass is oh so green) and Celtic Park in Scotland.  Certainly not Legoland (St Marys Stadium, Southampton), although The Dell (RIP) would have won this category hands down.


16. Best domestic match ever attended? 
So many - Saints 6-3 Man U, Saints 3-0 Pompey, Saints 4-1 Liverpool, and the Dell's swansong, 3-2 v Arsenal with Matt Le Tissier scoring in the dying seconds.  However, Worthing 2-0 Crawley with 9 men in the pouring rain in the 1999 Sussex Senior Cup, semi-final was pretty special too.


17. Favourite chant/song heard at a domestic match?
Saints chant - "What's it like to f*** a fish?", during the 3-0 cup win.

Worthing - "You can stick your Worthing Herald up your arse" (in protest at continued negative local press coverage) - that one led to a quiet chat with the vice-chairman!


18. Best domestic pub/club? 
In Scotland, this would be The Scotia, love by some (see David's questionnaire) and hated by others (see Chris's) - it's the home of the Glasgow Folk Club and is down on Stockwell Street, handy for buses to Hampden.  Famous Sal's, Milngavie's only Mexican theme bar deserves a mention too.

Down south, Butlers in Southampton sadly closed last summer, and has been replaced with a shiny metal bar/pizzeria - I'm still getting over it!  I suppose the Waggon & Horses in Surbiton would get the nod from me, as it's a decent real ale pub that we frequent before Worthing trips to Walton.


19. What are your pet hates? 
Do you know what winds me up?  Everything!  Seriously, Helen's claims aside, racism and bigotry are my major hates.  Armchair fans taking the piss out of real supporters gets my goat, and the constant worry about match tickets which has plagued me since my teens (ie when someone else stopped sorting them out) can get a bit grating (for me as well as everyone else!).  At least with Worthing it's one thing I don't need to worry about!


20. What makes you chuckle? 
Not mentioning any team's/country's fans here, but seeing arrogant people have to swallow their pride is always good for a laugh.  You decide who I mean...

Also, Rich's mullet and pinstripe trousers are always amusing, thankfully the mullet has gone now, just the trousers remain...


21. You're stranded on a remote island in the Hebrides. Before the ship went down you managed to salvage some belongings (to help you pass the time until you're rescued) including…

1 book?  I never really read books, a travel guide to my next destination I suppose
1 magazine?  Front Magazine
1 album?  Paolo Conte's Greatest Hits
1 film?  Escape To Victory.  No, Braveheart of course
1 beer?  Guinness 
1 spirit?  Zubrowka vodka (preferably with apple juice)
And 1 famous member of the opposite sex ?  A toss-up between Jenny Agutter (Logan's Run era), Diana Rigg (in her Avengers catsuit) and Phillipa Forrester (CCBC Broom Cupboard).  Too many English roses?  Then I suppose it'd have to be Claire Grogan, but I'd have my eyes shut thinking of Jenny Agutter!

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