The other night we went "en famille" to the England v Hungary football match at Wembley Stadium. First I was quite shocked that I had agreed to go. Must have been when I wasn't paying attention. But then I was actually excited.
I have only ever been to one professional football match before in my life, and that was when I was 13 and on a German exchange week, staying with Uschi Langenbeinen who was chronologically the same age as me but in every other way at least 10 years older. We went to see the home team Leverkusen play. (Leverkusen is an industrial city near Koln, most of the city worked for the big chemical company Bayer). Uschi spent the match practising snogging with her boyfriend Boris von Bratwurst and I spent the match practising smoking with my friend from home, Lizzie Dingle. By the end of the match Uschi had an impressive love bite, I had gone green and Lizzie's hair had got singed twice. But enough of these reminiscences of my jeunesse dore.
Mr B explained that it was a "friendly" match. That does not mean they are all cuddly and happy and then their mummies give them chips and ice cream afterwards; no, it means it doesn't count towards any tournament but they still want to win. And Mr Capello the England manager would be trying out his players. And the hardcore England fans would boo any player who was in the World Cup, to signal their disapproval of their Disastrous Performance. (copyright every English newspaper, TV channel and the man down the pub).
We went by train to Wembley. We enjoy a train journey.
I liked this Communist Russian style statue at the train station. This is in a nearby town, traditionally a very wealthy commuter area. This must be the only member of the downtrodden proletariat ever seen in the People's Republic of StockbrokerVille.
When we got there, there were lots of people, but it was very well organised. There were police and police horses. They must have heard about Blighty family outings. Our water bottles were confiscated in case we turned them into missiles but we were allowed to keep a huge pair of heavy binoculars. Strange.
We were in something called the Family Enclosure. It makes sense. You don't want rough, uncouth, noisy groups prone to senseless violence,verbal outbursts and unpredictable lavatory requirements anywhere near quiet, reformed professional football hooligans who have come to watch the football in peace.
Just look at this frightening pair. I gave them a wide berth. Scary. ( What's that Mr B? Oh, are they? Thought they looked familiar).
The architecture was impressive. We went up and up this immense escalator.
The pitch looked enormous to me. Fancy running up and down that for 45 mins each half, er, 90 mins in total. Made me feel tired just looking at it.
Lots of seats. Over there was a mini brass band that lead the chanting. More about chanting later.
Boy 2 wants me to point out that there were about 72,024 people there that night. Boy 2 has more to say: "First Hungary scored and then I wanted my money back and I wanted to go home, and I was very cross and sad and the linesman needs glasses because that goal was sooo not over the line and I got itchy pitchy and had to eat 7 biscuits and it was hopeless we had lost and Daddy said it is not over till the final whistle blows and I did some clapping with Mummy - clap clap, clap clap clap etc INGLUND! - and Mummy was really into it, so embarrassing - and then......Steven George Gerrard scored and we all stood up and cheered and it was brill..... and then.....Steven George Gerrard scored again and it was brill and I always knew we would win and what a great night and Mummy jumped up and down and shouted at Gerrard "Take your shirt off" and Daddy told Mummy to sit down and behave otherwise she would lose a star on her star chart..."
Boy 1 wants to add " it was fun, they booed whenever an England player who had been in the World Cup got the ball, and they booed Rooney when he went off and he had on red boots, and Frank Lampard had blue boots and Joe Hart the goalkeeper had white boots and all the Hungarian players were called Zoltan, and then we went home on the train and it was dark and we went to bed and no bath, yay."