Day 2 … 5 years later

CopaStore

COPA

I can’t hide it, five years later, I am still a football fanatic. I died a thousand deaths with “my” Manchester United, my Gillingham, my Real Madrid etc yet again this season. United made some progress, Real Madrid failed to take silverware and Gillingham finished mid-table after relegation had looked a possibility. I still follow Norwegian football and laugh at the failings of Arsenal. So all my birthdays came at once when I found the COPA Football Store directly opposite the west entrance to Amsterdam Central Station.

It is a veritable Aladin’s Cave of football shirts and I was delighted to meet the charismatic Angelo on my first visit. I explained my love of football shirts and my trips to all the 92 clubs in the UK. Angelo is a massive Napoli fan and we had a great 15 minutes talking about their greats such as Maradona, Cavani, Higuaín (ex Real Madrid) and, of course, Rafa Benítez.

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I found that COPA was founded in 1998 when a football addict started with a small collection of traditionally produced heavy weight cotton football shirts and the collection has grown ever since. Nowadays the collection consists of different lines with retro shirts, jackets & pants, football inspired printed T-shirts & sweaters, baby shirts, functional football apparel, recycled bags and footballs.

Another important reason for European production is that COPA is committed to sustainability and cares about the working conditions of its manufacturing employees. Therefore, all COPA garments are produced with the best possible fabrics and production techniques, and are created by motivated workers who are fairly paid for their dedicated work.

COPA products can be found in retail and online shops as well as this their flagship store in Amsterdam.

I was also delighted to learn that COPA sponsors The Dutch Amputee Football Team. Good luck to the team and respect to COPA to reaching out to not so famous! On their website, there are dozens of photos of the “good and the great” of World football weaing COPA shirts. It was great to see their support of this team. I was privileged to attend the Blind World Cup in Hereford, England in 2010 whilst on my Doing The 92. I know how much these still-able players love the game. Let’s support them!

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To learn more about COPA, its products and ethos, please visit the Copa Football website and their Facebook page

In all honesty, I could have stayed all day but I was off to the play-off game between FC Volendam and FC Eindhoven at the tiny Kraas Stadion 20 kms away from town. This is to decide promtion/relegation to/from the top Dutch League, Eredivisie. Instead of 60,000 at Wembley, there were 3500 in this compact little ground which would probably have looked good in the English League Two. Nevertheless one of these teams MIGHT play Ajax and PSV next season. The route is to win this home and away tie and then win another two-legged tie next week. So, a big prize on offer.

The football was probably League One standard but the fans were enthusiastic and created a good atmosphere. The away team had probably 500 very noisy followers who sang for the full 90 minutes ……. in English! Dexy’s Midnight Runners have never run so far! Quite bizarre. The game was pretty even but Volendam went ahead in the 67th minute before tragedy happened and Eindhoven equalised in the 91st minute. Football has its own Fat Lady and Volendam sneaked a winner with just about the last touch of the game. So, 2-1 and now we will have to see whether that is enough to carry them through the return.

I wish them well…… all in all a thoroughly enjoyable day!

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