Search

Arsenal in Minsk – read a loyal travelling fan’s account of a warm Belarus welcome

PUBLISHED: 14:53 29 September 2017

Loyal Arsenal fans at the Europa League game against BATE Borisov in Belarus

Loyal Arsenal fans at the Europa League game against BATE Borisov in Belarus

Archant

Arsenal’s 4-2 win in Belarus against BATE Borisov in Europa League Group H was memorable for lots of reasons, not least because Olivier Giroud hit his 100th goal for the club.

Arsenal fans in the Borisov away end Arsenal fans in the Borisov away end

But for the loyal 700 or so Gunners fans who made the long trip to Eastern Europe the trip was as notable for the off-field fun they had and the new friends they made.

English football fans who travel abroad following their teams may still be tarred with the old cliches but Arsenal fans always bring credit on their club when they peacefully represent their colours during continental adventures.

Read the experience of one particular fan, Sean Jeffreys and his unforgettable trip to Belarus.

Arsenal supporters gather for a quick selfie before the game in Belarus Arsenal supporters gather for a quick selfie before the game in Belarus

“It’s dark o’clock and our journey begins to Belaru with four of us well travelled Gooners on route to Stansted Wetherspoons.

After a tight transfer time from Modlin to Chopin airports in Poland with minutes to spare we arrived at our departure gate for Minsk, the £150.00 return trip was happening.

Arsenal Belarus kindly put on a great welcome event which at cheap beer prices we duly obliged in true Gooner style, as the evening progressed more merriment ensued in various stages of inebriation.

Match day arrived with our standard away trip hangover. We started the day with a bit of culture sucking in a few sights including Victory Square and Lenin Square.

The futuristic 13,000 Borisov Arena before kick off in Belarus The futuristic 13,000 Borisov Arena before kick off in Belarus

By midday we were ready for a beer. Following a recommendation we headed to ‘Malt & Hops’ bar then onto ‘Coyote bar’ for another event organised by Arsenal Belarus.

The opportunity to communicate with some truly fanatical fans from far away places was a challenge – but with some well known chants we made some new Facebook friends, plenty of group selfie’s and an exchange of match day experiences.

After the win we went to the Hilton hotel bar and enjoyed more than a couple of beers with fellow travelling fans we know from the UK, exchanging our post-match analysis then ending up with the rendition of some Highbury chants.

There was a nice touch when I saw a fan who caught Per Mertescaker’s shirt after the final whistle. He then gave it to a lucky female Arsenal Belarus fan stood behind him.

The Borisov fans put on a colurful display in Belarus The Borisov fans put on a colurful display in Belarus

It was unquestionably a brilliant gesture and credit to our superb travelling fan base.

The welcome by the people of Belarus and Minsk was great. From the girl who ordered us a taxi on her mobile when we first arrived, to the fan from China who wanted selifes of a friend of ours, to the Russian fans who tried to destroy me with vodka everyone was fantastic.

It was great to see Belarus fans who mobbed my flag once it was up in the Coyote bar as well as the lady on the Metro who guided us to the bus stop for our journey home.

We have to say a big thank you to Artemiy Nikitenko and Arsenal Belarus for making us so welcome, those responsible at Arsenal Football Club and the Belarus Police for ensuring the safe travel to and from the Borisov arena – all of who contributed to making it such a special trip.

Gooners enjoying a well-deserved beer in Belarus Gooners enjoying a well-deserved beer in Belarus

Next stop Belgrade, with the usual suspects – too many to mention but you know who you are...

Up the Gunners.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

The one-time Millwall Premier League Kicks player discusses his ambition for next season and what promotion would mean to him

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone praised his ten men after escaping from the Emirates with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final at the Emirates on Thursday evening.

Yesterday, 23:27

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been talking after the 1-1 draw with ten-man Atletico Madrid in the firs leg of the Europa League semi-final.

Yesterday, 22:05

Arsenal hosted Atletico Madrid at an atmospheric Emirates in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final in Arsene Wenger’s final game in Europe.

Yesterday, 21:57

Arsenal hosted Atletico Madrid at the Emirates. Read Layth Yousif’s PLAYER RATINGS

Yesterday, 18:51

Officers from London’s new gang-busting squad have questioned the whereabouts of the parents of a 16-year-old boy who was caught with a huge ‘Rambo’ hunting knife down his pants in Hoxton at 11am this morning.

Layth Yousif visits the Arsenal Hub to meet an inspiring set of people taking part in wonderful work under the banner of the club.

Yesterday, 18:04

Hackney Winter Night Shelter is not just a place to sleep – it also aims to get guests off the streets permanently. With funds raised by Gazette staff running the Hackney Half next month, it may be able to stay open longer and help more. Vicky Munro finds out more.

PROMOTED CONTENT

To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

Show Job Lists