If you're not Scottish you are probably wondering what on earth is Faddy Day.
Well 10 years ago today, James McFadden did this in the Parc de Princes
The game was a Euro 2008 qualifier. Scotland had ended up in a group with Italy, France, Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania and the Faroe Islands. Now having both the 2006 world cup finalists (Italy and France) as well as a quarter finalist (Ukraine) would be daunting enough, but this is Scotland we're talking about and in the past we had lost to Lithuania and also infamously struggled to a 2-2 draw against the Faroe Islands, a country whose entire population could fit into Hampden park and there would still be empty seats! At the time we had never faced Georgia, but they were the sort of country that Scotland would trip up against.
But this campaign was different, despite changing managers we had beaten France at home and going into the game in Paris, were at the top end of the table with six wins and two losses, and had just come off a fantastic 3-1 win over Lithuania on the Saturday before this game. But even then there went many expecting us to be able to beat the world number one ranked team, especially at in their backyard
I was living in London at the time and was a member of Loony Alba - The London Tartan Army, who had organised a trip to Paris on the Eurostar. At Waterloo International Station, we quickly discovered that the duty free had no beer, but no worries we followed Savethewhale Chris's example and attempted to blend in with the French and bought bottles of Champagne and wine instead.
|SaveTheWhale Chris blending in with the French|
On the day of the game the plan was to head to the Eiffel Tower, drink, march to the ground with the other 20-30 000 Scots that were in town, watch the game, drink some more and drown our sorrows. As I said that was the plan, so telling Fast Ted, SaveTheWhaleChris, and JoeCraigFanClub who were off to find the West of Scotland Tartan Army (WESTA) that I'd catch up with them soon. I headed off with Wee Malky, Singing Phil and Old Artur being led by our pal (who shall remain nameless) who likes to do cultural things on trips, in between drinking that is - which led to some famous moments such as been shown an old book by a monk in Moldova and promptly signing it as he thought it was a visitor's book, only to discover it was a book that St Francis of Asisi had written in!
|The march to the ground I never went on|
|Not "home" end at the Parc de Princes|
We got to the ground and it was pretty amazing, Scotland had been given 4000 tickets in a the 40000 capacity Parc de Princes, but the French had sold tickets for their end online so more than half the stadium was full of Scots, the players later said it felt like it was a home game!
The game itself I don't remember much until the moment above when James McFadden looked up saw the keeper of his line and thought why not? The keeper got his hands to it but just helped it on it's way, there was a spit second, in which it seemed everyone was thinking "did that just happen" and then realising that it did and going pure mental. After that I kept looking at the scoreboard, it had a clock on it but was going down in minutes, I thought I was waiting before I looked at it but would turn to find it hadn't changed. It seemed as though the last 20 minutes went on for ever, but eventually the ref had blown the final whistle and we had beaten the french in France!
|Meg Mags, Paddy & Cogg's after the game|
It was a bit of a blur after the game, people were cheering, calling others back in Scotland, everyone was hugging each other, I remember almost having the life crushed out of me by a massive bear hug from Captain Vodka, and as we left the stadium the French fans formed a guard of honour for us!
It was and still is an amazing feeling. I remember a few years later sitting in Oslo drinking 15 quid pints after a particularly miserable 4-0 loss, when someone asked "why do we do this?" To which someone replied "because every now and then someone like James McFadden thinks why not" and just for a moment everyone smiled as they relived that moment in Paris
This song by my friend Eric the Cheesman sums it up - as he says, we'll always have Paree