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Scotland in the US


One fan's trip to Jacksonville
This article was written by John Daly and was printed in November's Scotland V USA match programme.
 
USA, you say? Florida, you say? Don't mind if I do. Scotland had arranged a friendly against America.

And so my wife Marion and I made our travel plans and headed off with our good friends Neil and Trish Forbes stateside to see the USA V Scotland match in May of last year.

I'd never been to Florida, and despite only going for three days, I was looking forward to my first visit - and being able to couple it with seeing a Scotland victory.

We arrived in Florida having flown via Newark and found that the people of Jacksonville were immensely proud that their city had been chosen to host the match and they went out of their way to make the visiting Scots feel welcome.

But the visiting Scots weren't just from this side of the pond - no, siree! There were innumerable Americans of Scots descent who had taken the opportunity to get kilted up and show their heritage. Not least was Bill Cowdrey. Bill is in the US military and he and I had been chatting on that interweb thing prior to our trip and we met up when we were in Jacksonville. Bill can claim Scottish heritage on both family sides going back via a Vice-President of the Confederacy all the way to Culloden. We also met up with friends and fellow Scotland fans who had really made a holiday of it and had been to the Theme Parks and beaches of the Sunshine State.

The local bars and restaurants (and, perhaps, museums – who knows) were doing a roaring trade and the Floridians were doing their best to join in the proceedings. There was a Jazz Festival going on and, through a guy that knew a guy, we managed to get Access All Areas passes – just in time for the whole thing to be cancelled due to the threat of an approaching hurricane. They were, we were told, expecting winds “in excess of 50mph”. Or a good drying day as we would say in Scotland.

I happen to have the honour of being the current Chairman of the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal. The Sunshine Appeal is the longest-established Scotland fans' children's charity and remains the only one to donate to a children's charity in every country in which the Scotland national team plays. We have made a donation at every away match – bar none – since the first in Lithuania in 2003. During this visit we were able, through the support of Scotland fans, to donate to the local Jacksonville school for autistic children. That was a memorable visit that about a dozen fans made to the school to present the cheque for £1500. It isn't all beer and skittles, you know. (Well, not always).

And the match itself? Well, let me say right away that it was an experience. We saw and took part in the traditional American "tailgate" party in the huge car parking areas around the EverBank Field Stadium. The stadium was open-air and that, unusually for us, was welcome as the weather was warm and sunny.

And the match itself? Well, let me say second off that the American fans were brilliant. And, although the gender profile of the Scottish support has changed over the years, it was noticeable how much more of an inclusive family event watching soccer was for the Americans. Mom, Pop and the kids were all there enjoying their sodas and Chilli Dogs. All having a great time. It was highly amusing to see the Scots who got indignant at having to show ID to buy beer at the franchises in the stadium. There were a gey few grey heids shaking at that one. But, football fans being able to buy a beer and watch a match at the same time? Who knew?

And the match itself? Well.............can I just say that to me it looked like one side were preparing for a couple of crucial World Cup Qualifiers and the other had their minds already on the beach at the end of a long, hard season. And it was Scotland who were wearing the flip-flops.

On the way home, I got stopped in Jacksonville Airport by Colin (kiltedblue) Harris who handed me £100 for the Sunshine Appeal. It was, he said, what was left of the kitty that he and his mates had had. It must have been some kitty! On a personal note, can I wish Colin all the best as he recovers in hospital from a stroke he suffered earlier this year.

And so to (tonight's) friendly. It's a welcome chance for us to turn the tables on our American guests and let them know what it feels like to be on the wrong end of a 5-1 tanking.

5-1. Yes, I'd take that.

Or 1-0. Yes, I'd take 1-0.

C'mon Scotland!!

 (For more information on the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal please visit www.tasunshineappeal.co.uk)

4 Comments

I know of 2 Jon Dalys.

One wears a blue football top, milks the attention, swaggers about signing the occasional autograph, gets his photo taken with fans and loves the better things in life over us mere commoners.

The other one plays for the Rangers.

:lol:
Good article but i disagree about their fans.
some of them were right arseholes coming up to you and shouting their usual pish usa,usa.

I know of 2 Jon Dalys.

One wears a blue football top, milks the attention, swaggers about signing the occasional autograph, gets his photo taken with fans and loves the better things in life over us mere commoners.

The other one plays for the Rangers.

:lol:

 

Whit aboot that other one? The one who wears really daft troosers and can hit a golf ball about two and a half miles.

Whit aboot that other one? The one who wears really daft troosers and can hit a golf ball about two and a half miles.


I don't know what one that is ?

( I'm hoping he realises Im kidding on and disna send the hit team doon :yikes3: )