WHEN I last looked the Czechs were still suffixed and twinned with Slovakians.
That was a while back though. In carefree, crazier times – When Bohemians and Moravians partied like it was 1899. In 38 when Hitler hijacked their Sudeten lands. Whence, 30 years on, their boys rose like salmons, as Dubcek’s braves, bravely but forlornly tried to stick two up to Stalin and to metaphorically urinate all over his iron curtains.
That was 68. Prague spring forward another 30 odd years, and across Albion’s green and pleasant Euros of 96, Czechoslovakian legends cut a swathe and a dash and carved themselves a niche in folk memory. Actually, they were probably Slovak free republicans by then, but I’m still counting that time for nostalgic purposes.
Thems were the heady days. The early days of the new Republic. When a Poborsky could flatter to deceive . When a Berger was there to be relished and Smicer’s scything scimitar thrusts were a foil to Nedved’s creative cred. All that talent gathered to serve the goal thirsting needs of their mighty Cyclops, Jan ‘the Kurgan’ Koller.
Fast forward, some more, to now (I’d rather not). No more Slovakians , no more heroes, no more Shakespearoes. Just the eponymous Cech. Peter. Also, the ageless Joan Collins’s of the Balkans, messrs Baros and Rosicky. Big whoopee. So, I apologise here and now for this, to a nation. I’m simply not gonna talk any more about the current crop.
Czechs, I yearn for your Paris of the east, for your Budvar and Staropramen. Your yesterday’s men are ingrained in my LFC consciousness. Paddy, vladi and Milan, came, saw, and intermittently conquered upon the fields of Anfield Road. But with Smicer’s Istanbul exit it there ended.
It transpires that today’s mob got tanned by the Bolsheviks in game One. Game over. I shan’t be getting out of bed to even google something about them. I have said sorry. But I’m not, and with that mates ,I’m Czech-ing out. A disgrace to the purview of previewering punditry everywhere.
For those who seriously wish to learn more about this Czech team I can recommend this thorough and comprehensive appraisal by Mark Smith (whom I choose to imagine is THE Mark ‘E’ Smith of the Fall) : http://inbedwithmaradona.com/euro-2012-journal/2012/5/28/for-the-czech-republic.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
Out of respect to Rob Gutmann, I did not read this article