Israel lost 3-0 at home to Wales on Saturday night at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa and I was there in the away end with 1000 singing Welsh fans courtesy of Swansea City-mad Michael Plosker.
It was a dreadful result for Israel’s Euro 2016 qualifying campaign but for two hours I was entertained by the warmth, humour and courtesy of the Welsh travelling army.
Four of us drove north together for the game. Swansea Mike was at the wheel, his son Honest Reporting Simon was next to him and I was in the back with fellow blogger Melchett Mike.
As we drove north it was raining quite heavily. The first concern of us four princes was that we will get soaked through and end up with flu.
The second talking point was that a wet pitch would make for a quicker game which would favour Wales especially with the blistering pace of Gareth Bale down the flanks.
We were proved right on that second point (probably on the first one also). Bale scored twice and two mistimed tackles on him in the space of a minute by an Israeli defender ended with the defender being sent off.
The problem with the Sammy Ofer stadium for Israel is that as stunning as it is there is a lack of atmosphere to benefit the home team. Maybe because Haifa is the most mixed town in Israel with Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs living side by side in relative peace and harmony.
That said, the Welsh supporters were amazing. They sang their own anthem with passion and during Hatikvah they remained silent and applauded when it ended.
Speaking to some Welsh fans after the game they said they loved coming to Israel eventhough they had been apprehensive at first due to the way Israel is reported by the British media
Meanwhile, they sang self-deprecating songs throughout the match and another song that I have not been able to shift from my head all day the words of which are:
Don’t take me home,
Please don’t take me home,
I just don’t want to go to work,
I want to stay here, drink all the beer,
Please don’t, please don’t take me home.
Here it is with the Welsh supporters in full flow outside the stadium before kick-off but first here is your fact of the day:
The word “Ulpan” is the name of the course used by both the Welsh and the Israelis to teach their respective languages. The Welsh course is based on the Kibbutz model for teaching Hebrew.
Photos from a great night: