Is football your attitude? ELEVEN attitudes




The Portuguese Adventure:

The plan was to produce a multimedia project featuring a webpage with audio and video based diary of the daily outcomes and photo galleries, and a documentary film. The project name was decided to be “11attitudes” and the documentary film was decided to be called “Kick Off”. Our theoretical goal was to find out about the development of fan culture and its impact on our society. And the Euro2004 host country Portugal was the best place to gather such information! People from all over Europe and the rest of the world came to see the tournament! (Next to all the Europeans we met soccer fans from Australia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and many other countries!)

Prior to our departure for Portugal a lot of arrangements had to be made from Austria. We had to find appropriate accommodation for the crew, book flights, get the necessary equipment together and had to establish important connections to local people in Portugal. The 11eleven Portugal crew was made up of four members. Roland the director and cameraman, Andreas the multimedia and video expert, Thomas the ethnologist and journalist, and me Peter the producer and sometimes in charge of Uschi the microphone.

A concept was developed, a list of questions we could ask the fans in the interview situations was produced.

Because we could not find appropriate sponsors in time (We didn’t have much time for the planning and promotion of the project! Schedule was tight!), we had to finance the project out of our own pocket. And that meant budget was very, very little!

Luckily we already had most of the equipment and every member of the team was willing to work for free if necessary. (The hotels and hostels we lodged at were nice but cheap and the apartment where we spent a lot of time was free thanks to Joao.)

On June 9th 2004 a three men crew started off from Graz and Vienna to Faro in Portugal. Roland the director and cameraman, Andreas the multimedia man, and me the producer and in charge of “Uschi” the microphone! The fourth team member, Thomas the journalist and ethnologist, was to arrive a week later.

With us we brought all of our multimedia equipment, which meant we were all packed like cargo-donkeys. We brought the cameras, the film material, the audio equipment, a lap top computer, software, hardware, sleeping bags, our personal belongings (and I forgot half of my stuff!) and three heads full of ideas and expectations (which is a lot and one more was to join!). Gladly we got all our material on and off the plane in a good condition. After a pleasant low cost airline flight and without delay due to special security checks or other incidents which everybody expected because of the EURO2004 we arrived in Faro.

We got our stuff together and left the airport in a rental car. The first impressions were: hot, dusty and the Faro airport left a “somehow unfinished” impression. It looked like the Portuguese were just about to finish the preparations and constructions for the Euro2004. Last Minute! Because the tournament was about to begin and fans from all over Europe and the rest of the world were flocking into the country for weeks already. And many more were expected to come.

Our first trip was from the airport in Faro to Lisbon. The highway leading out to Lisbon where we were to stay for two days to get a first feeling of Portugal and to gather first material for our project also was a new construction. The stay turned out to be very pleasant.

We grabbed our photo cameras, explored the city, saw the sights, took pictures, met a lot of friendly people from Portugal and a lot of other nations and listened to melancholic Fado music in a small tavern in the city centre of Lisbon. Already there were hundreds of soccer fans gathering in groups in the small cafes and on the major squares of the city. They wore jerseys of their national teams. Portuguese flags were on display everywhere, hanging from balconies and windows. The spirit of the EURO2004 was all around and people were very enthusiastic about it. One could feel it!

We also met with João and Natacha there, friends who were to play a major role in our project.

With these first impressions on our minds we stowed our stuff in the rental car and left Lisbon for Porto. A friend of João, Francisco, met up with us in a Porto shopping mall (the Shopping Norte featured an internet café, multimedia stores and a food court and was a very important place for us throughout the duration of our stay!!!) and took us to Vila do Conde, a small town just a few minutes from Porto (if one did not miss the exit on the highway! and god did we miss it often ;-). We were to move into a small apartment there.

The two room apartment was provided by João and featured a little kitchen, a couch, two tables, a king size bed, two mattresses and a couple of chairs. We set up base and got our equipment ready. (All the clips for the homepage were produced there!!!)

On the next day the tournament was about to start and so we got to work and went out to do something. Thus we went into Porto and headed for one of the video walls that were put up on several locations in town to provide free viewing of the soccer matches for the locals and the fans that could not get any tickets. (The tickets were pretty expensive and so there were a lot of them!)

When we arrived at the video wall there were hundreds of people from all over Europe accumulating around and in front of the huge video screen, drinking beer (0.75 l Carlsberg for a very reasonable amount of 2 Euros!!!) and having a good time!

The opening game was Portugal vs. Greece! And funny enough both teams were to turn out to be the finalists too. But we will get to that later.

We decided to take a few photo and film shots of the crowd and then went on to interview people of all ages in personal interview situations. And the response we got from them was throughout positive. Most of the fans were happy to get a chance to express their own feelings about the Euro2004 and soccer in common.

We tried to focus on some important facts like reasons for being a soccer fan, patriotism among fans and their personal opinions about their national team. The dynamics of nowadays fan culture and its development from an elite sport to an element of “proletarian” culture and then to a part of today’s multimedia entertainment industry were at the centre of our interest. Certainly, we also tried to give the people a chance to express what is important to them. And we were astonished how different the opinions and views were.

We continued our work for the next three days on locations in Porto and tried to develop a workflow! Efficiency and time management were important (we found the Portuguese to be very flexible when it comes to time management! ;-)). We had a lot of things on our agenda!

On the 16th the fourth team member, Thomas, arrived. With the team now complete and Thomas bringing in some new suggestions and ideas we had not discussed prior to our departure we had to read just a little bit!

We dropped the luggage off at the apartment and went straight into Porto to meet up with João and to interview people at a video wall. (Because of our daily schedule we had to drop Thomas right into the water.) The match was Portugal vs. Russia and so the crowd was mainly Portuguese. João, joining the team for the day, led the interviews in Portuguese and Thomas the ones in English and German language. We got great response from all kinds of people. Portuguese families, senior citizens, German supporters, Russian fans and so on! The film material we collected was as diverse as it could get.

The next day we went to the town of Coimbra to interview fans of England and Switzerland. It was very hot and we found the town crowded with fans dressed in red and white (both Switzerland and England have red/white or vice versa coloured national team jerseys)! Once again we got great response from the fans and got to interview a lot of interesting persons.

The English fans turned out to be very nice and friendly which was very much the opposite of what was expected by the officials. There was absolutely no violence and the fans from England and Switzerland got along very well, drinking beer together in the pubs and cheering each other on the streets of Coimbra. The atmosphere in the town was great.

Sweden versus Italy at the Dragão Stadium was on at the day after that! We got a great interview from Isabel, a Portuguese banker with a daughter working as a volunteer steward in the Dragão Stadium in Porto. In front of one of the cafes we met a group of drunken Irish soccer fans, who gave us a very funny interview (some is x-rated material).We also got interviews with the girls of a Swedish cheerleader team in front of the Dragão Stadium. They cheered a little bit for our camera before they went inside the stadium to support their national team! After that we met the owner of a nearby café, the Lagoa Azul. He also was the owner of another café nearby the campground of Espinho, where a Dutch fan colony was established throughout the tournament! (We went there three days later to interview the Dutch campers!)

The following day, the 11eleven beach soccer fan tournament took place at Matosinhos Beach. Our friend João and his futsal (beach soccer) team organized the event. It was a great day at the beach playing five per side soccer (although the beach was a little bit dirty and I suffered from some kind of sunstroke in the breeding heat). Our 11eleven team was made up of soccer fans from Austria (us), Switzerland, Sweden and Portugal! Besides playing in the tournament we once again got interviews of a lot of soccer fans from all over Europe in a relaxed atmosphere that day!

Everybody was having a good time and in the evening all the players got together first in a small Irish pub and then in a club in the Ribeira to party! The evening was very funny and it was very late (or early?) when we left for our apartment! (Once again we missed the exit on the way home to Vila do Conde which was not so funny! And we think Roland ran over a racoon on one of the small badly lighted streets leading through a forest on our way back! (His first road kill!)

On the next day we joined Natacha (João’s girlfriend) and her family to watch the Portugal versus Spain match! They were all very excited about the outcome of the “battle of Iberia”! (Patricia was wrapped in a Portuguese flag and swore like a market woman throughout the game!) We got to know a big part of the family and were treated to Portuguese food (There was a buffet of salads and side dishes and a grill full of sausage, meat and grilled sardines). We also met some English friends of João there. Some of them were to give great and important interviews later on in the project. We tried to film the get together, but the camera wasn’t working! The batteries were empty and we did not bring the adapter. Bad luck, but things like that can always happen throughout a production. We planned to come back another day to lead interviews with the family members.

After the match Natasha’s sister Patricia took us to a small café. It was a typical Portuguese café with young people hanging out in front, drinking beer, cheering (Portugal won the game!), and the average crowd inside, leading hot discussions about the match! The good overall atmosphere was even better that day!

All orange was the next day! We found the campground in Espinho turned into a Dutch entertainment centre. There was a stage in the centre of the campground, where the Dutch fans were practising the songs they would sing in the stadium! There were video screens and a large audio system and the café was overcrowded with fans wearing orange jerseys. Also there were a few fans of other nations, but all of them together were just a minority in comparison to the Dutch fans number. A group of senior Dutch men had put up camp at Espinho too. They had their own orange bus, beer, bicycles and anything. Like the best equipped fans I ever met!

The work Thomas and Roland were able to complete on this day was great. (After an argument the team members had at the parking lot! Read more about the conflicts at the end of the text!) They got great interviews out of the people! Andreas and I reduced our input to finding potential interview partners and good locations (Andreas also produced the clips for the 11eleven homepage next to that in long working hours at the Vila do Conde apartment. One surely can imagine the lack of sleep! We had something between four and six hours to get the sleeping over with.)

We also went to the café nearby the campground where we met the owner of the Lagoa Azul in Porto again! His family owned this place too and they gave us interviews in German! (The family was living in Germany for twenty years before they returned to Portugal to open a café.) There were some German fans at the café too. German evening at a Portuguese café in Espinho! Later in the evening we had our daily talk in the apartment.

The agenda of the following day took us to the city of Guimares. Italy versus Bulgaria was the match. We found Guimares a very pleasant small town with a beautiful old part in the middle. And it was surprisingly quiet in comparison to other locations of the Euro2004 tournament! We met João and Adam (one of the English fans) and got interviews with Bulgarians, Australians (!) and a guy from Italy played the guitar and the Italian fans sang a song for the camera.

Later in the evening (in Porto again) we went to the house of Natasha’s family to interview them. (The camera was not working on the day of the Portugal vs. Spain match!) We got great interviews from the Portuguese family point of view. It was important to us to get as many different views and opinions as possible. The team was working very well on this day and we got some good picture and audio material together!

The day after we went to Braga to find the town plunged in a sea of orange with few white spots. Holland was taking on Latvia this day and the town was full of Dutch supporters in orange jerseys! The few white spots were the Latvian supporters. Both were full of optimism concerning the game.

The atmosphere was great and there were the 0, 75 l Carlsberg again! Portuguese Super bock tried to live up to the Carlsberg standard. It was a good day for the beer brewing industry. For the team too because we got a lot of nice interviews, a guy was playing the Latvian shepherds flute and in the evening we went back to Porto for the annual Saint João festival. It is a festival where people go out on the street and hit each other with plastic hammers or disturb each other with heavily smelling garlic blossoms. (I don’t really know why but I like it!)

First we didn’t join in the hammering but then Roland bought the first hammer and we found our taste! We bought more hammers and joined the people and hammered our way through the crowds to the fairground. There we played table soccer (we were a group of ten) and had a good time! In the evening there were fireworks and all of the town of Porto was happy! (Funny enough it was on this day that we saw the only violence throughout our stay in Portugal. Two Portuguese boys were fighting over a girl! But that is international standard, I’d say!)

Over the next two days we got a lot of very interesting material together! We interviewed Patricia (Natacha’s sister) and Eduardo in their apartment filmed a crowd in a small café in Boavista while Portugal played England and interviewed fans staying at the campground in Porto. (Patricia and Eduardo provided most of the few delicious meals we got in Portugal. Great homemade cooking! I’d like to express my appreciations for that!)

The next day we met with Francisco who besides being a journalist was the coach of a children soccer team. João joined us! We filmed them practising and got their opinions about soccer. Just like Figo or Ronaldo their idols, they all want to become soccer stars in the future! (Just like the rest of us when we were that age!) Francisco and João shared their interesting views with us and we learned a little bit about the Portuguese approach to football that day!

With the tournament approaching the final (and we did not get to see a single live match yet!!!!) ,we decided to go out and see the quarterfinal match between the Czech Republic and Denmark in the Dragao Stadium in Porto. The atmosphere in the stadium was great that day. We saw a very good game of soccer which was decided by Milan Baros (golden shoe Euro2004). Both teams were highly motivated! But the Czech Republic went on to be defeated by the Greek in the semis.

We met João the day after and drove to the seaside to interview some fishermen and market women. That day we got some very different opinions in comparison to the ones we got so far. Some of the fishermen and market woman did not share the common belief that the Euro2004 was such a great gain for Portugal. They thought that the money would have been better spent on the bad infrastructure and on the poor parts of the Portuguese population. It was good to get their view too. They portrayed a different scenario from the one that was visible and obvious to us. There were aspects that we would never have thought of that needed to be addressed.

After that we got great interviews of Alex (English supporter and journalist) and Joao. The same evening we had to get our stuff together and say good bye to all the people in Porto we got to know and which were so helpful throughout the project! (And there were a lot of them! Thanks to all of you!) We had a last evening talk with Super bock beer and smoke at the apartment before we went to sleep.

With two more days to go in Portugal (including this one) we left our dear apartment in Vila do Conde, where we led so many discussions and produced so much material (especially Andreas needs to be mentioned here!) for the south east inland of Portugal. We were to meet two brothers from Styria (in Austria) who own an ostrich farm in Alqueva Alentejo which is situated in one of the hottest parts of Portugal.

The visit was worth the travel because we got the best ostrich steak we ever had there! We were also led around the farm and got a great interview from one of the brothers who are great soccer fans! (One of the few good meals we had in Portugal! Like I mentioned before most of the food was not combining with my taste. People were saying that was only because of the Euro2004 and the restaurants that did not care about the quality of the food as long as there were tourists and fans who were buying it. That is one of the few negative things that need to be mentioned in my opinion!)

Afterwards we drove on to Faro from where we were to leave for Austria the following day. We arrived in the late afternoon and found a nice little hostel where we got a comfortable room with a large balcony. We locked the equipment away and went out to enjoy our last evening in Portugal.

Faro was still celebrating the Euro2004. Five more days to go and three matches still to be played in the tournament, then! Portugal beat Nederland and Greece beat Czech Republic in the semis! And so the final was the same as the starting game. The final took place on the 4th of July. Greece was to succeed! (The Graz team members filmed the reactions of a crowd in a small Greek restaurant back in Graz at this time for the film!) There were stages put up along the beach where local artists and singers were performing. The cafes were packed with thirsty tourists and fans.

We joined the people and had a couple of beers in the cafes and watched the end of one of the shows at one of the stages. The evening was very relaxing and left us with a good last impression of Portuguese evening entertainment.

And the entertainment was great! Fado in Lisbon. Beer in Espinho. Saint Joao in Porto. And all the great fans all over the country. The overall impression was stunning! We can not deny that we had a great time while we were collecting our material. ;-)

The next day we got up just in time to eat a small breakfast and return the rental car before we had to get on our plane to Salzburg. Thomas was leaving on a flight for Vienna departing one hour after ours. We had a last coffee and delicious Portuguese pastry at the airport café and parted with Thomas to check in for our flight.

And so it was the three of us again (Andreas, Roland and me) who had to take all of the equipment through customs. (The equipment had to go with Roland. He makes no jokes when it comes to the equipment. Beware! ;-)) But this time it was not so easy to get all of it through the security checks. We were denied to bring some of the sound equipment inside the passenger cabin. Therefore Roland had to go back and check the equipment in with the other luggage. He returned just in time.

The captain of the plane was already waiting and was about to leave without us. But we made it somehow (running) and the plane took off to Austria. And with another low cost flight (the senior flight attendant Daniela made some very funny verbal mistakes and her running gags lifted our spirits for the duration of the flight) and a travel with the Austrian train our Portugal adventure found its end. The impressions are to remain!

Pete’s concluding statement:
It was a grand experience to go to Portugal for this project! It was great to see all the cheering crowds and the friendly people! We witnessed a great sports event and saw fabulous games of soccer! After all the Euro2004 was soccer superlative when it came to security measures and crowd control!

I also think we learned a lot about forming a team and then to work as one. Being friends in private live it was not always easy to find common grounds in professional live. Every one of us had a different approach to this project. Luckily every one of us managed to find back into the team again after discussions.

Here I should say something about the conflicts that arise in a team at times! And naturally every project produces its conflicts!

It was on the day in Espinho that tensions in the team built up to a climax! The reasons were multiple! One was that Roland and Thomas had difficulties to find a common workflow (Thomas brought in new ideas on arrival and they were kind of differing from the concept we had made in Austria prior to the project!) and Andreas and I had our doubts about the way we were working that day.

Living together for such a long time in a two room apartment was very difficult too. We spent every morning and night there together and that was kind of our time off. This circumstance combined with the lack of sleep due to a very tight working schedule and the long talks (and some private parties) resulted in tensions.

On occasions some team members had too many drinks and that didn’t help the workflow either and resulted in the argument at the camping ground. But that surely was to be expected to happen. We just did not have enough time to ourselves. (The few confrontations we had have been intense but necessary to keep things going.) Everyone expressed his views and we found a way to overcome the troubles by splitting the team in two units for the next few days. There were only the four of us to get all the work done. We were eager to get the project going in a professional kind of way. And I think we managed!

Conversation, however, was to become one of the most important factors throughout the project and therefore the evening conversation became a daily event. We found out that every one of us had a totally different approach to the project and conflicts were likely to appear. Fortunately, we found ways to channel our work in the right direction. (Andreas always had very good suggestions when it came to that!)

It is due to the professional and social skills of the team members that we never lost the focus and were able to produce some interesting film material. And looking back at the time in Portugal I think we would do it again! (Some minor adjustments concerning accommodation and food would have to be made!) It was hard work to collect material for the production of “Kick Off” while producing video clips and photo material for the webpage “” and the “11attitudes” project. And all of that with only a four men crew at hand!

We followed the agenda and even though we had to make some adjustments at times we got the work done in time! Thanks to all the team members, the participating fans and media people! Together we reached the goal!

I am looking forward to the release of our film! KICK OFF!


© By Pete Nemetz

Date: June 2004
Place: Euro2004 Portugal
Production crew: 11eleven