Sat 24th Jan 2004
The derby is the biggest event in Arab or Dee’s calendar, and I’d been in a state of anticipation for too long. This was gonna be extremely special, as the Dees have been administration since November and this was the first derby since their troubles began – and hence there would ample ammunition for a good sing-song.
After a six-hour train journey and three trains, Wishae Arab met me at Glasgow Queen Street. Off we went to the first pub, Wishae’s choice. Loads of tight shirts and Westlife on the system. Nice enough place, met up with DrumArab, who’s house I was staying at, stopped for a chat and a drink (of coke, I’m a non-drinker these days), and then back to meet Arabest.
Now Arabest writes for the Tangerine And Black magazine, and had come through, from Dundee, to travel to a game with the GLS (Weegie) Arabs. So you should be able to review this weekend twice – it’ll be interesting to read what he says.
We flopped into another pub, somewhere up near WeegieArab’s flat, where lots of the GLS Arabs were convening later, for a night of nostalgia watching videos of better days for United.
A few drinks (cokes) later, we headed off then to WeegieArab’s place, and spent a very enjoyable night talking football and watching classic United games, with six or seven fellow Arabs. WA’s hospitality was only flawed once, when he inadvertently allowed us to watch a Septic game (marked 1-0 on the video casing) where THEY scored a last minute winner. We all went home crying, apart from Wishae, who had a hot date and had long since departed. Ps - What happened to ludicrous hairstyles in football? Watching WA’s videos there was no end of ridiculous barnets back in the 80’s – these days the closest we get to a mad haircut is Wishae and his cans of tangerine hairspray. Bring back dyed blonde mullets!
Time to go crash at Drum’s place then, and off we went into the Glasgow night, myself Drum and HighlandArab. Drum is notorious for ‘going the long way round’, and two minutes later I was up to my knees in mud in a swampy park, and we hadn’t even got out of WA’s street yet. Luck was on our side though, and we turned a corner and got a taxi straight away.
Sunday, and it’s off to the game. 64 members (and non-members I assume) had decided to travel with the GLS Arabs this weekend, and to accommodate such a large number, they had hired a double-decker coach! Very swanky!
The bus landed at The Taxi Club, where a DJ had been lined up, and many more Arabs. United songs were blasted over the system, more singing.
And then to the game, and the less said about that the better. A cracking atmosphere, both sets of fans in good voice, and a humbling defeat in a game United were never in, and rarely looked like winning. In case you’ve missed every gloating Dee, they won 2-1, and fully deserved it on merit.
The bus ride back to Glasgow was a long one, literally. There was some major hold-up on the motorway, which added an hour to the journey. We trundled into Glasgow, for more GLS Arabs hospitality, in the form of a buffet laid on at the Iron Horse Pub. Spent most of the evening chatting to Johnny2Pies. The mood was sombre, but humourously so, and a good laugh was had by all, most of it at Dublin Arab’s expense.
And ok some at my expense. Here’s me in a daft hat.
I met dozens of Arabs who post on the messageboard here, and I won’t embarrass myself by trying to name them all. It’s always a strange one putting faces to those names though, people never look like you expect them to. The hospitality and friendliness shown by the GLS and all Arabs is much appreciated in what is a long trip north for me.
Special thanks go to DrumArab, WishaeArab, HighlandArab and WeegieArab, who made a long weekend an enjoyable one.
All photographs courtesy GLS Arabs ã