Live Football on Bulgarian Televison

LONDON - NOVEMBER 03:  Emmanuel Adebayor of Ar...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Bulgarians love their football and here especially they love the English Premiership football. If you watch the sport news the premiership football updates feature high on priority in relation to other Bulgarian sports news. In the few shop that sell sportswear, the English premiership team shirts and novelties are mainly based around the English league teams. And of course the other main interest is the Bulgarian footballers that are exported to the English teams.

In the main Bulgarians support a team in their own country, not always local teams either. Here out family support CSKA football club this is a Sofia based team some 300 kilometres away. from Yambol. They also have their favourite English football team, usually Manchester United or Liverpool. This is the norm as these teams have featured in European Championships quite often and have a large world following in any case.

My previous experiences with Bulgarians and football was rather low key, watching a live match where the Bulgarian National team were playing, there was more interest in talking drinking and eating than watching the match. It's funny, but if I watch football match I watch it intensely, never missing a moment of action or non action as it turns out. Here they just tend to ignore the game for the most part. They just focus on the match when the crowd noise increases and this is the attention grabber. Then they know something exciting is about to happen, it happens and they turn off again unless it's a goal, a penalty or a sending off.

This Saturday afternoon I was back in Yambol as farm work had been rained off. Ivo, Galia's son called me into his bedroom. He wanted to show me a full crate of bottled beer he had just brought in. Not being in Yambol most Saturdays I had forgotten what happens here. CSKA and Manchester United were playing today and were live on television. Ivo is a fan of both of these teams. As well as CSKA and Manchester United playing, directly afterwards it was Newcastle Utd. against Arsenal. Anton his brother who supports Liverpool was expected here later along with another football mad friend. The beer was for us all as he had decided to treat us with booze and live football in his television.

Well how could I refuse what was on offer here with Bulgarian beer, live football from Arsenal and great company?

So seven hours later after much talk, jumping up every few moments and then groans when Manchester united lost, the Skalitsa banitsa I had made in the village that morning were warmed up and eaten between matches - It doesn't get better than that or does it? It does, then the Arsenal won and the all the beers had some how evaporated by the end of the match. An extended, but totally exhilarating late afternoon and evening with the Bulgarian boys was had. This was topped up afterwards with home produced chicken and cabbage stew made and served from Baba to soak up not only the pool of beer that had accumulated in our stomachs, but the results Ivo's sorrow and my joy.

It will be back to the village next weekend, hopefully with Galia who should be another week into recovering from her operation. At the same time, if I feel like a feast of beer and football there is always that option in Yambol every Saturday during the football season. How fortunate that watching your favourite football team live on television in Bulgaria doesn't involved getting a mortgage to pay for the view!

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