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Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Maybe this article will highlight a case of someone floating through daily football life in a blissfully unaware fashion, but I was sitting down to a very recent edition of Football Focus (broadcast on the BBC every Saturday afternoon during the regular football-season) when Stoke City's Peter Crouch began talking about his father "doing the Poznań up in the gods." Er, doing the what?? This was new to me, but it wasn't long before I was able to put two and two together, and it was certainly different to what I call "doing the Crouch."

(Remember the Crouchmeister's little robot-dance after scoring for England against Jamaica all those years ago? A few of us exiled Reds fans, living in the same small town in the middle of continental Europe, regularly performed the "Crouch" whilst watching Liverpool games on TV in the local bar, singing "Do the Peter Crouch" - to the tune of the "Monster Mash" - much to the obvious bemusement of the natives. Stoke City fans have my permission to imitate, with the proviso that an acknowlegement be given.)

"Doing the Poznań," of course, refers to the action of whole sections of supporters turning their backs to the game, locking their arms together and bouncing up and down in lines along the stand, usually whilst indulging in a sing-song or chant. The term, if not the bounce, was born after Manchester City fans, attending the away game against Polish side Lech Poznań in the UEFA Cup (sorry, Europa League) in 2010, witnessed the occurrence and were so impressed with what they saw that they immediately began imitating it, and named the action in honour of their hosts. Obviously, City fans (not to mention the rest of the British public) had never seen the like of it before, or, at least, those under the age of 20, and not in football stadia, at any rate.

However, the "Poznań" has been done within borders of the United Kingdom before, when the action had no known name, and you can thank a bunch of Croatians for that. Croatia, of course, qualified for Euro 96, and brought several hundred supporters with them, who bounced their way up and down England, attired in Croatia's famous checked shirts all, many of them wearing bobby hats and all of them confusing and bewildering the natives.

It remains odd, however, that their jumping and up and down whilst facing away from the pitch wasn't picked up by the British followers of football at the time; there was the odd comment in the press and the odd photograph in the occasional footie magazine or two, but that was about all.

The "Poznań" is actually reputed to have began life on the terraces in either Greece or Turkey - which is entirely plausible as it imitates the classically stereotypical wedding/party dance performed in both countries - sometime in the 1960s and is, understandably, more properly known as "la Grècque" ("the Greek") throughout Europe (according to information contained in a discussion on the Video Celts forum).

It can be performed whilst either facing or turning one's back on the pitch, and a perfect example of this was to be seen at the beginning of the 2000 UEFA Cup final in Copenhagen between Arsenal and Galatasaray, when the Turkish club's supporters kept it up for minutes on end early on in the game. They did the "Grècque" whist facing the pitch; this is still most common in Greece and Turkey. In some other countries, most notably Germany and Holland, pogoing is very popular.

In 2006, Derry City fans took up the Grècque after watching Paris Saint-Germain supporters indulging in a bit of a knees-up during their UEFA Cup match at the Parc des Princes..and have to continued to do so to this day. Celtic fans will claim that they were busy with their terrace version of the "Huddle" for years, but it may well have been that the Candystripes' support was the first in the British Isles to take up "la Grècque." 

Apart from when your team are losing to Manchester City, watching the City support "doing the Poznań" is fun to watch, certainly more so than the "Mexican Wave", and probably a lot more fun to participate in as well. Mind you, when the Celtic fans "do the Huddle", it takes on a life of its own, a stadium-shaking form of almost awe-inspiring proportions.

The only problem some football philosophers seem to have with the little dance routine is that it seems to have, in several cases, become "merely" a goal celebration instead of something more spontaneous. Others seem to think that their club's set of fans invented the "Poznań", and resent others imitating it.

Then again, we've all seen that with football chants, songs and what not; football fans, by nature, imitate and adapt where neccessary. Witness the ongoing debate between Liverpool and Celtic supporters as to who first sang the old Rogers & Hammerstein classic (superbly covered in the early 1960s, of course, by Gerry & The Pacemakers) "You'll Never Walk Alone." Let's face it, who cares?

Personally, I find the "Poznań" a lot less irritating than having to hear supporters, sitting in half-empty grounds, singing along to Dario G (the man who fired the final, fatal shot into the cadavre of pop music by ruining a perfectly good Italian terrace song from the early 1990s and turning it into the theme tune for the 1998 World Cup) - or singing the tune the whole way through the game - The Fratellis or Pigbag before the ball bounces after hitting the back of the opposition's net. It's also infinitely more preferable to the "[Fill in your own club name here]..till I die" routine, especially when performed to the accompaniment of the England "band" at international matches.

Regardless of whether the media and every fan connected to a club in the Premier League will eventually get bored of talking about, or doing, the Poznań, Grècque, Huddle, Olimpia, Croatia or whatever you want to call it, at least it temporarily gave the flock something else to do than harping on about goal-line technology..

AUTHOR'S LINK: Some more articles for your reading and viewing pleasure now..

Never mind the Poznań, here's la Grècque, performed in Paris, Derry City-style:
Slovenia fans at Euro 2000:
Olimpia Ljubljana fans against Liverpool, UEFA Cup 2002:
Video Celts - Lech Poznan; invented in 1961 and called the "Grècque"?:
Saint-Etienne fans showing how it should be done:
In the interests of fair play, first up, the Celtic support shaking Paradise to its roots:
And, just to balance things out, Man City fans doing the same at Wembley:
To finish off, the "original" and still the best; Lech's supporters just couldn't not be included:
HELP BILLY WALK APPEAL: And now that you're all Poznańed-out, time for a serious message. The Help Billy Appeal, ongoing since last year, aims to raise enough money to enable a young 3-year-old boy, Billy Douglas, who comes from a village just outside Belfast and who suffers from spastic diaplegia, to undergo an urgent and potentially life-changing operation. Should you wish to know more, Billy's plight has been highlighted in a recent entry here on Pat's Football Blog:

Or, of course, for those who might want to bypass the article and go straight to goal, the appeal's website address is:

If you can donate, please do so. If not, kindly post either link on your Facebook page if you have one and share. Many thanks.

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