Wonderful Welsh Army invades Israel.

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:

Football United.

Football United.

More Unity.

More Unity.

Swansea-mad Michael.

Swansea-mad Michael.

A confident Israel.

A confident Israel.

Supporting both.

Supporting both.

The Fab Four on Tour.

The Fab Four on Tour.

Waiting for the teams to enter.

Waiting for the teams to enter.

Engrossed in the match.

Engrossed in the match.

Too much sun or alcohol?

Too much sun or alcohol?

Welsh team celebrate their first goal.

Welsh team celebrate their first goal.

Police Wales keeping an eye out.

Police Wales keeping an eye out.

Relaxed dress code.

Relaxed dress code.

Wales players come over to applaud their supporters after the final whistle.

Wales players come over to applaud their supporters after the final whistle.

14 responses to “Wonderful Welsh Army invades Israel.

  1. David Graniewitz

    I am going to the match against Belgium and I think we are going to get slaughtered. But it is being played in Jerusalem where the fans are more vociferous so at least there will be some atmosphere.

  2. richardmillett

    Yes, exactly. Enjoy the match. Wish I was going.

  3. Michael Plosker

    Probably your finest ever blog Richard!

  4. Wonderful Richard, but I have to say this was the worst rendition of Hatikvah I have ever heard. Couldn’t they have found a better singer?

  5. richardmillett

    Thanks, Michael. Any flu signs yet? I’m boiling up the honey and lemon as we speak. Yes, i agree, amie. It was all pretty flat in the build-up to kick off.

  6. What a wonderful post Richard and a great change of pace from the usual doom and gloom. I’ve shown this to my other half who greatly is enjoying your take on the game despite Israel’s abysmal loss. He and our son watched it live on TV on Saturday night (while I was trying to Pesach clean around them…). Even a visiting Rabbi schnorring for funds for his yeshiva sat around for a bit and watched with them!🙂

    I’m so glad you and the Welsh fans enjoyed Israeli hospitality. These kinds of visits probably do as much to bring in goodwill ambassadors as all the rest of our public diplomacy efforts.

    And Melchett Mike, if you’re reading this, hi to you from your friends in Petach Tikva. When are you coming to visit us again?

  7. What a difference in attitude to when a young Palestinian team played on from Israel and the PA went beserk. Sport CAN bridge differences…..if allowed

  8. The best won! That’s the most important.

  9. Dear Richard Millett, Luck you going to the match. I’m Jewish,lived in London for years,but born and brought up in Cardiff and spent some of my youth on kibbutz. I wish the match had been a draw but am so glad the Welsh fans behaved so well. Best wishes and thank you for all the work you do.

    Patricia Franks

  10. sidney sands

    Well done Wales, as a Jewish supporter of Arsenal to see Aaron Ramsey playing so well again, and the wonderful Gareth Bale in full flow, I loved the way this match was played with spirit and sporting, if only life could follow their example. Bless Wales and Israel.

  11. Great that you enjoyed the game and the company despite the weather Richard.
    The Welsh football fans are lovely. Greetings to them all!

  12. Where was Stepehn SIzer? He loves a good game! Anyone seen him lately?

  13. Oh don’t be like that Harvey! According to the diocease he has to stay away from electronic media:can’t be trusted……………
    maybe we could start a competition:Anyone seen Stephen?