Green Brigade Does Cyprus ! The Trip Report!
Our trip to Cyprus was planned some time ago after we won the prize of a free weeks stay in a luxury villa in Pahpos, Cyprus, in a charity raffle. After winning this our first thought was of Omonia and the next one was of the Nicosia derby. So with this in mind we set about planning our trip. However, unfortunately the derby fixture was rescheduled although we were still able to take in another match.
With a travelling party of 8, 4 from Glasgow and 4 from Aberdeen, we met in Manchester Airport where we’d fly to Paphos. Surrounded by Manchester City fans, who were travelling to Barcelona for their Champions League match, our small group of 8 seemed to be far more excited than a crowd which summed up English football fans perfectly as they sat their completely soulless and devoid of any sort of passion you’d expect of fans travelling to see their team on the highest stage.
Already drunk, we boarded our 5 hour flight with further refreshments intact. In good spirits about seeing some nice weather for a change, meeting up with the Omonia lads and the drink continually flowing, the flight was over in no time. Arriving in Paphos late at night we got in a couple of taxis and headed for our villa in Coral Bay of Paphos and from here it was to the first pub we could find. Copious volumes of alcohol later it was time to head to bed although our short walk back to the villa proved troublesome as half of us ended up lost resulting in 4 drunk Scots staggering around in circles hopelessly in the early hours of the morning. Thankfully we made it home in the end with one of the boys coming to our rescue in an old, battered Mazda which belonged to the villa.
The next day was all about the other reason why we were in Cyprus – waking up to clear skies and sun, barbeque for breakfast and chilling in the hot tub with a beer. Although the weather wasn’t at its best for Cyprus standards it was still a rare treat for us. After a day of lounging by the pool, drinking beer and eating from a barbeque we headed into Paphos town to meet the Omonia lads at the Paphos Fan Club. The small open planned club was a great venue to meet up with your own: fitted with a bar and decorated with Omonia and Gate 9 memorabilia as well as a host of other teams’. Here we were treated to great hospitality and had a brilliant time drinking, laughing and singing the night away.
Treated to another morning of nice weather we again chilled by the pool, waiting for our Omonia contact, “D”, to show up. “D” was known to a few of our lads already after meeting in Liege and had travelled to Paphos to meet up with us and have a night out. With him we once again headed for the Paphos fan club where they had arranged pizzas and a barbeque for us. More importantly, and thankfully, they were also showing the Celtic game which was being played that night. Much like the previous night we had a laugh, drank, had a sing song, sparked some pyro and drank some more whilst watching Celtic cruise to victory on the tele. At this point some of us had to wave the white flag and head back to the villa whilst the rest stayed on to party with the Omonia lads and head out to a night club.
The next day was match day for Omonia however there was some confusion in the morning with us not knowing if we were going to be able to go to the match or not due to transport issues and problems with what had happened the night before to some Gate 9 lads who had a winning punchup (once again!) with the famagusta “ultras” chickens! Thankfully we were able to work something out in the end and we headed to Larnaca for the match against Ermis. In Larnaca we arrived at Gate 9s newest fan club which had practically just opened and still had areas being refurbished. Here we met with more Omonia lads, had more drinks and were able to collect some merchandise.
Next was my favourite part of the trip – the pre-match atmosphere and general build up and anticipation for the game. Crowds gathered at the fan club and you could tell that, despite not being a great fixture, everyone was still up for the match and there was a buzz about the place. After a large mob photo everyone set off in cars for a short drive to the stadium. The convoy of cars was like nothing we’ve experienced before as a long trail of cars moved off with horns beeping, guys hanging out windows, mopeds stopping traffic at junctions to allow us through and pyro along the way etc. and most amazing to us probably – not a single cop in sight.
At the stadium the only police presence seemed to be outside the ground – looking provocative in full riot gear and face masks. There was a large Omonia crowd – the majority wearing Gate 9 gear – and a pitiful turnout from the Ermis fans. The home support were barely heard all night, even as their team attacked and even equalised. By contrast a core group at the centre of the Omonia end kept the noise ticking over constantly with the wider omonia support also joining in, regardless of the score of the score or performance. Sadly after taking the lead, Omonia were held to a draw at 1-1 however it didn’t put a dampener on our experience at all.
From here we said our goodbyes and thanks to the Omonia lads who had looked after us for our short stay and headed back to Paphos for a chilled out night to wind down after a hectic few days. We definitely hope to meet up with Omonia lads again be it back in Cyprus; Glasgow – where the hospitality will be returned; or elsewhere – and definitely recommend a trip to Cyprus with Gate 9 Omonia.