New film celebrates the crazy kangaroo world of Bohemians' fans

Regular listeners to Radio Prague may remember us reporting on Bohemians 1905, the venerable football club that would have gone bust had it not been for its loyal fans who held a collection to save their beloved "Kangaroos", as the team has been known since they went on a famous tour of Australia in the 1920s. Now, a new documentary has been released which celebrates the quirky life of some of these dedicated Bohemians fans.

Kangaroo Confidential, as the film is called in English, takes a light-hearted look at a handful of hardcore Bohemians fans over a period of five years.

The film's co-director Filip Šebek has himself supported Bohemians every week since 1984. He says he made the film to celebrate the unique fan culture of his favourite team, which is extremely inclusive compared to that of many other Czech football clubs who often have a strong hooligan element.

"You won't see any skinheads in Bohemians' stadium. You never hear any racist chants there. It would be impossible. If anyone tried the other fans would beat him up immediately. You can see a lot of black people on the terraces and other ex-pats who live in Prague. It's really, really beautiful."

Photo: Dimír ŠťastnýPhoto: Dimír Šťastný People watching the film might be surprised to see that one of the fans the documentary focuses on is a young woman. You usually don't see ladies in the distinctively male atmosphere of Czech football grounds, but Filip Šebek says Bohemians are something of an exception.

"In a way, Bohemians is unique in terms of how many young, often beautiful, young girls go to support them. I don't think it's because they like the football. It's not possible for a normal woman to love football. I think they go because they love the unique atmosphere of Bohemians Dolíček Stadium."

As Kangaroo Confidential illustrates, the fans at Bohemians' stadium really do generate a special atmosphere and Filip Šebek says the venue is an integral part of the team's identity:

"Dolíček is incredible. You are very close to the pitch and you can see all the players and scream at them. There's a very tough atmosphere there when the stadium is full. It's incredible."

Despite the fact that Bohemians' loyal fans managed to save the club from the brink of bankruptcy a few years ago, the club has been in the news recently because its owners have mooted the idea of selling or developing the ground, which is in a lucrative location near the centre of Prague, and moving the team somewhere else.

Photo: Dimír ŠťastnýPhoto: Dimír Šťastný Filip Šebek, however, doesn't think this will ever happen. At least not without a fight from the club's loyal fans:

"I think it will be impossible to do that. If someone really tries to do that, not just me but at least 5,000 people will be there protesting. There will be blood! How can someone really think that they will steal our stadium of 75 years? It's a very important part of Bohemians."

If you are interested in an English version of the film, go to the filmmakers' website at www.duseklokani.cz