A famous Belgian tour

PFFC's pre-season tour to Brussels in September 2002 proved another memorable success. Joe Boyle provides an alphabetical reminder of the trip


A is for Ally whose two-goal debut signalled the arrival of a major new PFFC talent, both on and off the pitch.

B is for Brueghel whose masterpieces in the Museum of Ancient Art provided the tour's high culture high point.

C is for Culture is Currency, Goober's canny tour motto.

D is for delicious chocolates, Belgium's finest export and the perfect present for a footballer's wife.

E is for Edwina Curry, news of whose affair with John Major was relayed to us on the Saturday morning, confirming there's nowt so queer as Tories.

F is for Frances, tour photographer, fan and captain's wife.

G is for guest appearances, provided by Martin, Thierry and Adrian. Honorary philosophers with 100% records to their names.

H is for Hotel des Gaffers with its phlegmatic owner, rather marvellous breakfasts and EU convention-defying wiring.

I is for Inter Aztec, who were blown away the following weekend by a side once again bonded together by the camaraderie of a tour.

J is for Jez, the perfect Englishman abroad, who hosted us, housed us and found us an opposition good enough to test us but not good enough to beat us.

K is for kit, and the desperate search two hours before kick-off through a bric-a-brac store for a pair of shorts that Raj could wear whilst maintaining his dignity.

L is for late, which is what Raj was, missing the train from Waterloo on Friday evening and reminding us that you can take a PFFC team out of the Sunday league for a spell, but you can never entirely take the Sunday league out of a PFFC team.

M is for Manneken Pis, Brussels' iconic statue of a peeing boy. Belgians, huh?

N is for nutmeg, a perfect example of which was executed by Joe against his opposing full back, before cutting back inside and curling an exquisite shot with his left, I repeat left, foot past the despairing dive of the keeper into the far corner of the net.

O is for orgasmic. See N above.

P is for pitch, which, if not quite of Roman standards, played beautifully and looked beautiful under it's canopy of trees in the late-summer sun.

Q is for quest in search of a cash point. For a city that brought us the single currency, it's nigh on impossible to get your hands on the bloody notes.

R is for restaurants in which we spent an appropriate amount of time belching into our napkins on the back of robust Belgian beer and robust Belgian food.

S is for showers because they always get a mention and because there were some.

T is for Tisdale, the chairman, who travelled up through mainland Europe to supply us with tour shirts that have become collectors' items, pidgin French and rattling good company.

U is for über-cool party at which we ended up on Saturday night and which revealed the generation gap in the tour party with the bulk of the over-30s slinking off well before 2.00am citing trains to catch, hotel wiring to repair and indigestion.

V is for 3-0 victory. For key elements, see A, G, N and P. In particular, N.

W is for Waterloo, not the station but the battlefield which we saw in the distance on the way to the match. Being PFFC and New Bohemians and good Europeans and all that, any invocations to Wellington's victory were made under the breath.

X is for xylophone. Well, it is.

Y is for yawn, of which there were many on the Eurostar home after another action-packed tour full of good football and good living.

Z is for zoo. Brussels hasn't got one but if it had, who knows, we might have visited it.