Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Pre Season

I've been meaning to get to some games here since I arrived but like so many things just never got round to it. Even the Tiger Cup was witnessed from Crossroads Bar instead of the cavernous Galero Bung Karno. And as for the recent final between Persija and Arema I was safely ensconsed in Mad Dogs having Cornish Pasty while we watched the fun and games evolve on the big screen TV. After the game which Persija lost we tried contacting the office boy but it seems he turned off the phone...maybe he didn't want the boss disturbing him while he was getting stuck in! Not suggesting of course he is in anyway 'bonek' or hooligan.

Whenever I mentioned I was interested in taking in a game in Indonesia people, usually pooh poohed the idea. They told me the football was shite! I grew up with Terry Neill and Don Howe producing turgid Arsenal displays where we'd go 1 nil up and play for a draw. I can handle shite football. My Sunday pub team wore a brown shirt and, well, you can guess our nickname.

The next argument was 'oh have many bonek.' I wonder how many of the people who told me that have followed England to Poland or gone to Millwall and got off at the wrong station? Crap football and hooliganism ain't a deterrent believe me, ask anyone who grew up in England in the 70's and 80's. So I've finally convinced people I'm serious and this coming season I'm going to make a real effort to take in some games, the question is which team?

The area I live is a satellite of Jakarta and strictly speaking the local team is Persita, Tangerang, kind of like Watford or Unterhaching, but it is probably easier to jump on the expressway and get to Lebak Belus in South Jakarta and see Persija. This has the added bonus of being near the pub, an essesntial part of the football experience!

Persija, more accurately Persatuan Sepak bola Jakarta, have probably the largest support in Indonesia and a pretty garish orange kit. They lost in the finals twice last season against Arema and Persapura (Malang and Jayapura) respectively. Big team, big support, no trophies, bad shirt, they sound like Sunderland!

Tracking down English language info about the Indonesian Liga is difficult so it may even improve my language skills. I have no idea what the terrace experience will be like so I'll be digging out my old Lacoste and Timberlands and queuing up for the first home game of the season. Not having been to a game since Arsenal's game at Wimbledon was cancelled because no one had 10 p for the floodlights I'm up for this...

Well I just found out the season starts next weekend and Persija have a home game against Sriwajaya who come from Palembang. So 14 January we'll be there!

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