Following football provides many of us with a connection to a community of unconventional wanderers, adventurers and assorted drifters.
Bohemians if you like.
Which is why we should feel some connection to, and an affinity for, Bohemians 1905 of Prague.
Founded as AFK Vršovice in 1905, it was a 1927 tour of Australia that gifted an identity the club has fiercely defended in recent years.
The Australian FA had invited a host of European clubs and national sides to tour the country, play exhibition matches and generate more interest in the game Down Under.
After those leading lights spurned the opportunity, AFK Vršovice accepted the invite.
There was just one small problem.
Australians began to ask who the “Castlemaine XXXX” AFK Vršovice were?
The Australian authorities suggested the club toured as “Bohemians,” thereby giving the locals a clue as to the clubs’ geographic origins as natives of the Kingdom of Bohemia, in what is now the Czech Republic.
The convenience of ambiguity handily allowed them to be marketed as being a little more artistic, glamorous and generally more, erm, bohemian.
So the story goes, the newly christened club returned home with two Kangaroos in tow which thankfully found their way to Prague Zoo. We understand that the marsupials were a gift rather than the result of some kind of laddish prank.
Whilst there are other clubs including the Bohemian Football Club in Dublin, and the ones Google told us about in Manilla who pre-date our Czech mates; the Kangaroos have had to fight hard to protect their identity from local threat in recent years.
In 2005, Bohemians faced a battle to defend the soul of the club as financial issues led to the team being prevented from taking to the field and then demoted to the Czech 3rd Division. In their place, a local Prague side was re-branded as “Bohemians” but fans were having none of it. They labeled the upstarts “impostors” and continued to support their club in the lower division, helping to nurse the club back to health. Ultimately their “evil twin” was prevented from using the name, and the will of the fans prevailed.
Bohemians’ most famous son is current chairman Antonin Panenka, the mustachioed midfielder famous for the deftly chipped penalty which fooled German keeper Sepp Maier to win the 1976 European Championships for Czechoslovakia.
That Panenka penalty inspired a legion of imitators from Zinedine Zidane and Andrea Pirlo to Eden Hazard but it was Bohemians fans who saw the best of Panenka in their green and white colours.
Slavia and Sparta may have larger trophy cabinets, and Dukla Prague may feel like they have the monopoly on the Czech capital’s Sartorial Soccer credentials thanks to a 1986 Christmas wish by Birkenhead band Half Man Half Biscuit.
But the Bohemians badge with its emerald green kangaroo neatly encapsulates Prague’s alternative spirit and the club’s very special brand of bouncebackability.