Wally meets... Algerian international and Blackpool winger Hameur Bouazza
Just imagine the fuss if England’s coach was stoned on the way to a World Cup qualifier and three players were cut by flying glass.
Think of the diplomatic slanging match if Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham were forced to cower on the floor beneath their seats to avoid the hail of missiles.
And picture the scene if Fabio Capello’s squad was kept awake all night by a concerto of car horns and klaxons in a deliberate campaign of sustained sleep deprivation the night before the match.
We’d be out of there faster than Katie Price can flee a jungle.
Hameur Bouazza had to go through all this, and more, when Algeria booked their passage to South Africa after a fraught double-header against Egypt which was the closest thing to war masquerading as football.
Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Abul Gheit had the brass neck to blame “saboteurs” who attacked Egyptian businesses in Algiers, which was a bit like accusing the Titanic of environmental vandalism after it landed a glancing blow on a perfectly innocent iceberg.
Blackpool winger Bouazza will now live his Tangerine dream at the World Cup, the Seasiders’ first man to do so since Alan Ball and Jimmy Armfield in 1966. But he still wonders how the Algerians made it out of Cairo with only three team-mates - Rafik Saiti, Rafik Halliche and Khaled Lemmouchia - wearing souvenir cuts from the ’welcome’ hail of rocks.
Monday night’s local derby against Preston at Bloomfield Road, usually an excitable occasion on the Lancashire calendar, should be a stroll in the park by comparison.
“Obviously they are crazy about football in Egypt, but there can be no excuse for what happened in Cairo,” said Bouazza, on a hat-trick of promotions from the Championship after helping Watford and Birmingham into the Premier League.
“Looking back, I think it is a good job we lost the match in Egypt 2-0 and had to face them again in a play-off in Sudan... otherwise I don’t know if we would have made it out of there.
“But certain things went on which an international side should never have to go through. It was crazy, absolute madness.
“I had a very bad feeling when we landed at the airport because there was no security. And when our coach was attacked on the road from the airport to the city, it was the most terrifying experience of my life.
“People threw rocks at at us, and there was nobody to stop them. Some of the players were hit by flying glass and I only escaped because I was lying on the floor. That is no way to prepare for a World Cup match.
“When we got to the hotel, we couldn’t sleep because outside people in their cars were sounding their horns deliberately to keep us awake. They were doing everything they could to put us out of our minds.
“The whole experience was a difficult time, very scary. I’m just glad there was a happy ending for us in Sudan.”
Egypt’s 95th-minute goal in Cairo forced a play-off on neutral soil in Khartoum, where the 50,000 crowd included 35,000 fans and 15,000 police. Bouazza described the atmosphere as “unreal.”
He added: “I don’t know why Egypt and Algeria don’t like each other. We treated them like kings when they came to our country, but they repaid our hospitality in a very bad way.
“Many people in England have told me they are glad we won the play-off in Khartoum. They say it is justice that Algeria are through to the World Cup.
“But I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful it felt to see the fans’ reaction when we returned to Algiers. There were a million people on the streets to greet us and it was like one massive party, an incredible experience.
“And it was a magic moment when the President held a reception in honour of the team. He told us how proud he was and that we had made the whole country happy - I cried because it was such an emotional day.
“I don’t mind admitting that - it’s not the sort of thing many people enjoy every day, but it was an amazing day.”
Bouazza’s Egyptian ordeal was just the latest instalment of his bizarre season, which included a one-week stopover at Turkish club Sivasspor.
He made one appearance, in the Europa League against Shakhtar Donetsk, before asking to be released from his contract. “There was no problem with the money, and the club treated me well. But I just realised I had made a mistake,” he said.
“Now Blackpool is my home, I enjoy playing for them and I am proud to be part of a club with so much history.”
Bouazza loves the Golden Mile, and it matters little that he hasn’t been on that giant rollercoaster yet. The real big one is on Monday night.