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Football Again

I watched the Champions League quarter finals on the big screen at the Sheraton. As expected, most of the crowd were cheering for Milan in their games against Lyon. Unexpectedly, most of the crowd were cheering for Arsenal against Juventus.

Why is this so? Are Albanians particularly hostile to Juventus? Or are they particularly fond of Arsenal? Is the English Premiership more popular than Serie A? Or - my best guess - was I in a room full of Milan supporters?

Meanwhile, it has been some time since I updated you on the coaching situation at Dinamo. Ivan Katalinić had been in charge last time I commented, but he was sacked after the team lost to Partizan and was replaced by non-other than Luka Bonačić.

This was the man who resigned earlier in the season saying 'The team has no discipline. There is no work ethic in this team and in Albanian football as well. Without that it is impossible to work and in such work conditions there is no chance to achieve your objectives.' When re-appointed he said 'I never left Dinamo, I am still under contract.' So that's clear then.

As for the team, you may recall his views following his previous appointment: 'The players are completely out of shape, They go looking for water as soon as they move a little. They have to do some serious running in the next few weeks.' On his re-appointment he commented: 'Dinamo are not as strong as they were, but we can still pull it off.' So that's cleared that up too.

He lasted precisely ten days before accepting an offer from Hajduk Split, a team he had previously coached in the 1990s. Vasil Bici then took over as coach (again) for a few weeks until Dinamo appointed Sulejman Demollari. He lasted two games before being sacked. Who's coaching Dinamo right now? Damned if I know.

On the pitch Dinamo are clinging to their fourth spot and making no impact on the top three. This weekend three games were marked by violence. The game between Besa and Partizani had to be abandoned for a period because of crowd trouble, while match officials were attacked by players at the games between Shkumbini-Partizani and Skënderbeu-Teuta.

Comments

Milena said…
I bet they cheered for Arsenal because they were Milan supporters. My friends did the exact same thing!
vloraboy said…
I am personally a Milan (crazy) fan, and an admirer of Arsenal. This was a good week for me. I need to tell you a little story.

I live in Chicago, so with the time difference it is hard for me to watch any games (if they show them on TV). I put the Milan game on the TV in our office and I have to tell I was very happy that I was able to watch it. I basically screamed when Milan scored their first. That drew the attention of my two Chinese office mates, and made all the other American co-workers wisper... oh that crazy futbol' fan. After Lyon scored I got pretty quiet. The last 10 minutes of the game, I was joined by my Chinese friends. None of them are soccer fans, but they stopped doing their complicated math research and started watching with me. When Inzaghi scored the second for Milan, my office had 6 people in it...and when Sheva scored again, there were about 10 people in the room, all cheering for Milan, with the Chinese being the LOUDEST. It was truly an amazing moment for me (the only soccer fan in the room).

Football is the best sport in the world.

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Welcome

Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Whimper

And now the end is near
and so i face nanananana...

Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog - especially those of you who have become regulars. Thanks also for linking and thanks to all who left comments.

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