submitted by Peter Vamvakaris on 27.02.2006
By TOM SMITHIES
The Advertiser, Adelaide, Australia.
24 Feb 06
It takes a special kind of radar to fly to the Middle East, walk past one of the Gulf's finest shopping centres and home-in, accidentally, on what may well be the region's only Aussie pub.
With accuracy like that, Socceroo fans Andrew and Jason Vamvakaris, John Stock and Adam Kich should arguably have been on the pitch taking free kicks. Instead they were on the terraces, among several hundred Aussie fans who came to barrack for their team on its Asian Cup debut.
Some, like the four who found themselves unerringly inside Manamas Diggers pub, had flown from London, catching a late-night Tuesday flight to Bahrain and leaving soon after the game to fly home, planning to head straight for work from Heathrow.
Others came from the ranks of Gulf Air's largely Australian cabin crew, and more still drove across the causeway from the Western compounds in Saudi Arabia.
Petroleum engineer John Taeger had brought his wife and son Jack - "I'm seven, turning eight" - while Doug Taylor, working in Saudi for the British government, brought only Skippy, his inflatable kangaroo.
They sang and cheered, but how much noise they made is hard to gauge for they simply couldn't match - no one could - the loudspeaker-assisted chanting and singing of Bahrain's vociferous crowd.
Back among the Aussie fans, the Vamvakaris brothers and their mates saw their good night get even better.
Having entered a competition to write an anthem for the Socceroos, with an entry that sampled the words of commentator Simon Hill describing John Aloisi's shootout penalty, they bumped into and photographed the man himself (Hill, not Aloisi). Though now they'll probably have to pay him royalties.
© Advertiser Newspapers Pty Limited
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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