It was as cold as it has ever been at 5,000 feet, 1,500 metres in the High Veldt at WC Final 2010. The Dutch saw lots of yellow and one red-the colours of the winners, Spain and limped back to Amsterdam as three times losers.
I went to Soccer City from O.R.Tambo Airport and there were thousands of Dutch and not so many Spanish fans arriving on charter flights for the day. The ticket prices at the final were $200.00, $400.00, $600.00 and $900.00 and the many without tickets were willing to pay upto $5,000.00 for a ticket. NOT FOR ME. I walked down the road in Soweto and found a door open in a wall and entered somebody's back yard.
They had put up a large TV screen and in their kitchen were dispensing food and beers and hot coffee. I was the only white guy in this sort of shabeen. The large grill that the chicken had been grilled on was surrounded by cold patrons this bitter evening. Entry was free if you bought at least one drink for R20, a good deal. I'm glad I brought my heavyweight coat, which I later used to sleep in at the 24 hour airport waiting for my flight.
A Spanish TV crew showed up and then two Dutch fans, It was a great evening. At half time 6 members of the Kliptown gum boot dancers showed up and gave an impromptue 15 minute dance show. It's a century old dance started by the gold miners, and a way of mocking their white oppressors. The gum boots are similar to wellington boots and the dancing and shouting are very unique and entertaining. I loved it. Kliptown Klipsproet-(rocky stream), is part of Soweto and predates it from 1890.
What is it about the Dutch.? They tried to kick the Spaniards off the pitch like the English Navy used to do to the Spanish Armada. Their society has gone soft. Bring back corporal punishment , extend the working hours and bring in some discipline. The Dutch navy used to have a daily gin supply, the lash, and hard work scrubbing the decks. Now they have 'his and his' side by side hammocks and spend their shore leave in Key West or San Francisco !.
They ruined World Cup 2006 in their match with Portugal in Nuremberg with both players and coaches completely indisciplined, yet another match where even a decent Russian referee was surrounded by wimping players. Howard Webb, the 4th Englishman to referee a World Cup Final did his best. He could have given at least one or two more red cards but wanted to use common sense and keep the match as open as possible. Send the team to the cells in Arjen Robben Island.
The Netherlands must be put in a group of at least 5 for the next World Cup prelims and must put a full page advertisement in all major newspaper apologizing for their behavior. Even the girls aren't as friendly as before. They will 'chat' with you in their rooms in the Zeedijk area of Amsterdam, but it has gone up to 50 Euros for 15 minutes-then you get the red card and you are off, or another 50 Euros. For less than that you can fly round trip to Amsterdam on a cheap airline and go watch Ajax play at the Amsterdam Arena-AND you don't need to take your trousers off!!
It was an exciting day in the life of Big Phil Scolari on the flight from Johannesburg to Lisbon on TAP Portugueses Airlines. The 2002 World Cup winning coach and then coach of Portugal was thrilled to be on my flight. He walked up and down the aisles in his Nike sweater with a pen, and despite being tired I obliged him with my autograph. I spent the night in a small hotel in the Portuguese capital and the next morning at Estadio da Luz, the home of Benfica, before returning to England.