The twelfth player

What does football mean to the fans, that sometimes the atmosphere in the stands really heats up because of it? I think that to the true fans, the ultras, who are heart and soul in the cause, football as a sport and the search for some identity means almost everything. It's very little

What does football mean to the fans, that sometimes the atmosphere in the stands really heats up because of it?

I think that to the true fans, the ultras, who are heart and soul in the cause, football as a sport and the search for some identity means almost everything. There are very few other values or things that can surpass the love of football, and with love naturally comes the heating of passions, both positive and negative. A football match is a kind of ritual, especially if it is an important match.

By what key does an individual football fan choose a particular football club and become its passionate fan?

The place where you are born, grow up and live is very important. Local patriotism is actually a decisive factor in choosing the club for which a certain fan supports. We also support the principle that everyone should support their home club regardless of the results or the league in which the club is placed. It is about someone identifying with his environment and recognizing himself as a person in it, and the home club is part of this environment. We do not limit ourselves with this, but glorify a part of our identity. Homeland represents you elsewhere and vice versa: you represent home abroad. In a certain way, fans are also ambassadors of our hometown. Everywhere, in addition to being Green Dragons, we are also recognized as residents of Ljubljana. The city and country are represented by statesmen and politicians at a high level, but it is different when a group of non-politicians comes to a certain place. At that time, the visiting city really sees the mentality of the nation or visiting townspeople, so I think it's important to support the club where you were born or where you live for a long time.

Would the fans of different groups close their ranks if the Slovenian national team qualified for the European Championship?

When the Slovenian national team was at the European and World Championships, we cooperated with all groups. At that time, national team matches were held in Ljubljana and we were the home team. We also cooperated with the Football Association of Slovenia. Cooperation was very good then and also later, at the European and World Championships. When we stood with other Slovenian fans on the same stand, there were no problems.

Do you sympathize with or perhaps support one of the foreign football teams qualified for the European Championship?

I can't say that I support any of the foreign national teams, maybe, but even that is very conditional, I sympathize with the Polish national team, because the group of fans that was with us a few times at the matches of the Slovenian national team in Palermo comes from Warsaw. They were also several times in Ljubljana. I want Poland to play as well as possible, but I won't be sad if they don't.

Will you take part in the European Championship?

We are still negotiating, but I will probably go with some friends. When we attend matches of foreign national teams abroad, we form a group, perhaps by age. My friends and I, who are around the same age, go to a certain game. As a group of Green Dragons, we will not be going out in large numbers, as there is already a lot of work with our matches.

Is the stadium also an important factor for the atmosphere during a football match?

Of course, as it is one of the factors. On the other hand, a stadium without a soul, i.e. without the support of the city and the local community, is nothing. A good example of this is in Celje, where they have a large building, but it may be architecturally wrong, and above all, oversized for such a place. If we had a stadium there for five thousand visitors, it would be ideal. Of course, certain conditions must be met for modern football, but the facility alone does not guarantee a good game or a good atmosphere. It is necessary to have content.

In the stands of which stadium is the football match particularly worth watching?

There is no stadium that surpasses the central stadium behind Bežigrad. Of course, I have a biased opinion, because we spent a lot of time there, but the fact remains that this stadium had, apart from maybe a certain prestige, everything that a good stadium should have. I'm talking about results. Here, the Slovenian national team remained undefeated for five years, there is a real atmosphere here. But if I single out a few stadiums in terms of size or impressiveness, it would be the French Stade de France or the Spanish Nou Camp. But there, football is a mass industry that produces consumers, not fans. I think that every stadium of a good football club or a football club with a tradition also has a good atmosphere, because people come there for the love of football.

Do you "pilgrimage" to stadiums when you are abroad?

In principle, I go to see the stadium, even though the stadium itself is an empty space without a match, which does not offer any pleasure. If I might not have been to a certain game, I go to the stadium to at least see where it was played. But it is not in my interest to travel specifically to see the stadiums.

Could you already predict who will be the winner of the European Championship?

Polish national team. In the previous European Championship, I correctly predicted that Greece would win. I always like it when those clubs or national teams that are not highly ranked and do not have stars win, but they manage to win precisely because of their heart and fighting spirit. I like to support such teams, although on the one hand it is slightly masochistic, but on the other hand it is also the most sincere, because I wish for such teams to win the most.

Where do you Green Dragons meet when you are not in the stands?

Since our group consists of different subcultures, such as ravers, rappers, rockers or punks, it is difficult to find a common place where we would meet. The real gathering place is our tribune. Maybe I could mention the bar Ladjice dvajat, because a wide range of guests stay here, not just fans, and the bar is cozy. I personally go to Papiga in BS for coffee. I often choose Holidays pub or Cutty Sark as a starting point for night entertainment before going to a concert in Cvetličarna or Metelkova.

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