Hapoel Nir Ramat HaSharon
Ground: Grundman Stadium
Date: 22nd February 2014
Match: Hapoel Nir Ramat HaSharon - Hapoel Be'er Sheva 0-4 (Liga ha'Al)
Attendance: 3 000
On Saturday morning my alarm yet again buzzed at 6am. After visiting Jerusalem and the Dead Sea two days ago it was now time to visit another holy place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem is situated on the West Bank and is under control of the Palestinian authority. After picking up more visitors in Jerusalem our mini-bus crossed the security barrier and around 9am I was in the city centre of Bethlehem. Being the birthplace of Jesus this is of course a must visit for tourists in this region and outside the Church of Nativity there were indeed plenty of tourists. There was a ceremony inside the church and we had to wait almost 45 minutes before going in down to the Grotto. The Grotto of the Nativity, an underground cave located beneath the basilica, enshrines the site where Jesus is said to have been born. The exact spot is marked beneath an altar by a 14-pointed silver star set into the marble floor and surrounded by silver lamps Another fascinating moment on this trip! From the church our Palestinian guide then took us via bus to the Shepherd's field, the fields with the shepherds who saw the Star of Nativity. Plenty of interesting things to see here as well. We then returned to Jerusalem and I was out in a taxi back to Tel Aviv. My driver was Arab and gave me a very interesting lesson about the Israel/Palestine conflict etc.
The match on Saturday afternoon was a match in the top division in Israel, Hapoel Nir Ramat HaSharon vs Hapoel Be'er Sheva at Grundman Stadium in Ramat HaSharon. With the match starting at 17.00 there were of course no buses but help was on the way. Christopher, the German I met yesterday, stayed with an Israeli and this person gave us a free lift to the ground. With Ramat HaSharon being 15 km from central Tel Aviv I saved a lot of Taxi-money! Grundman Stadium is a very basic ground with a capacity of 4 500. There are only stands on two sides of the ground and the one on the east side is a very small one. The West Stand has a capacity of around 3 000 and for this match it was packed with away supporters. Hapoel Be'er Sheva are currently second in the table and brought more than 2000 fans to this match, impressive. I ended up with the away fans and had a nice Saturday evening in Ramat HaSharon. As I was searched outside the ground and the steward realized I was a foreigner and ask where I was from. I replied Sweden but he didn´t seem to understand that word. I then said Zlatan Ibrahimovic and now he knew what I meant. Suecia, Suecia he said and then shook my hand and said Welcome!
The first half of this match was boring and ended 0-0. In the second half the visitors from Be'er Sheva played really well and could score four goals to win the match 4-0. Plenty of singing from the away fans as I left the ground and even though the ground was nothing to get excited about I was still pleased with my visit. Four goals and 2000 away fans made sure of that. After the match the buses were running again and after 55 minutes with the bus I was back in central Tel Aviv. My trip to Israel was coming to an end and this must be one of the best trips ever for me. So many interesting places to visit and the football is ok as well. Not even the fact I was held up for two hours at the airport (something in my bag indicated for something) could prevent me from being in a great mood all the way back home to Sweden.
Pictures from my visit to Bethlehem can be found at: Bethlehem
Outside Grundman Stadium
Going to football
Going to football
Be'er Sheva fans
Be'er Sheva fans before the match
Be'er Sheva fans
View of play
View of Grundman Stadium
Celebrating away fans