Monday, June 11, 2012

Barney Ronay: England's crusading fans find sunny Donetsk to their liking

Donetsk: city of trams, slag-heaps and sunburnt English knees – of inflatable spitfires, Lenin monoliths and Ipswich town flags. The far-Eastern capital of Ukraine's carbon netherlands was already buzzing this morning. Against the odds a familiar Anglification has occurred in the baking heat of this sprawling miner's city turned Oligarch's toy-town. In central Lenin Square one of the largest throngs of English fans has congregated, perhaps driven by an urge to commune with their fellow man that goes beyond even football. Yes: these are high times indeed for the Golden Lion Irish Pub (stationed just a little to the left of the monument to the father of communism) which is already absolutely heaving on the morning of England's opening Group D match with pilgrims from the travelling football diaspora. Donetsk in high summer has a sweeping, florid, slightly ragged beauty.

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