Liechtenstein was an absolute blast, it must be said. I can’t believe it was three whole years since I’d last been there, but the visit of England and their lovely supporters in 2003 was in fact the last time I’d been in Vaduz.
I managed to catch up with a few folk from Stamping Grounds. I’d barely dumped my bag at the hotel when I received a text message from Ernst Hasler saying, “welcome to Liechtenstein – are you ready for a welcome beer?”. I was indeed, and learned some of the developments in Liechtenstein football since I was last there. Franz ‘Burgi’ Burgmeier, who as an eighteen year old nutmegged Gaizka Mendieta with a backheel on his international debut, looks set to join FC Basle, while Mario Frick may be returning to Serie A in Italy after his current club Ternana were relegated from Serie B. Bologna seems to be the favourite according to the Vaterland’s finest.
I also hooked up with Martin Stocklasa after the Togo game (which Liechtenstein lost narrowly by the only goal of the game. Stocki gets married this weekend to his childhood sweetheart Susanna and, having settled back in Vaduz after moving from Zurich, will be off to join Dynamo Dresden almost as soon as the nuptials are over. Our reunion was captured on film by a crew making a documentary about the team’s forthcoming European Championship qualifying campaign, which is, of course, a fine and familiar idea… In fact, the documentary crew told me they had in recent months met three groups of people from the UK who’d visited Liechtenstein as a result of reading Stamping Grounds.
Liechtenstein play another World Cup finalist tomorrow (Wednesday) when they take on Australia in Ulm.
I’ve come back from Vaduz with a stinking cold, however. Can’t think why. It’s not as if I was running around the alps drunk at 5am in shirtsleeves or anything. Oh, hang on, yes I was.
This week I shall be trying to come up with the next book idea. There are a few thoughts knocking around the old lemon, most of which are probably rubbish, but you never know, and next week I have a couple of meetings about some travel-based television documentary ideas, which could be fun.