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 endArsenal 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 BelarusArsenal 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 BelarusThe 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 BelarusThe 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 BelarusGooners 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.”

Latest Islington Sports News

10:00

Middlesex captain Dawid Malan admitted his side didn’t bat well enough on day one of their County Championship Division Two match at Durham.

09:00

Amid an underwhelming season at Middlesex one man at least can allow himself a quiet smile of satisfaction.

07:51

Stuart Law will leave his role as West Indies head coach to take over at Middlesex from next season.

Yesterday, 19:40

Durham have made the perfect start to Paul Collingwood’s final match, producing a strong performance to lead Middlesex by 106 runs on day one of their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash at Emirates Riverside.

Yesterday, 12:00

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has been speaking to the Islington Gazette. Read on for what he had to say to Layth Yousif.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking after his side’s 2-0 victory over Everton which has moved the North Londoners up to sixth place. Read on to learn what the head coach has to say about the second half improvement, his take on first goalscorer Alexander Lacazette and Sokratis’ injury

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking after his side’s 2-0 victory over Everton at the Emirates on Sunday as the Gunners made it four league wins on the bounce and five in five. Read on for his verdict in his own words

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Arsenal hosted Everton at the Emirates on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s PLAYER RATINGS

PROMOTED CONTENT

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now