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Sunday, 15 August 2010

A game of two halves

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."

Mrs B here again. I would just like to add that the whole cheering thing is very cathartic and tremendously enjoyable and the only reason I wanted Gerrard to take his shirt off was I was worried he was overheating after all that exertion...

Photo from Metro website


  1. Dear Blighty
    thank you for the comment on my blog. I too am behind with my blog reading.
    I have written a new article for the Govt - - and had some exciting news about it which I will write on my blog soon :)

  2. hi blighty,

    i used to read your comments on ff and encouraged you to have your own blog. now i'm encouraging boy 1 to get his own blog. losing the star on your star chart!



  3. Blighty what an excellent game loved the description. Have an excellent rest.

  4. I'd like to put you on a radio station and have you narrate anything whatsoever to me all day long. Perhaps you could narrate my days, they would become infinitely more amusing.

  5. DEer Mises BliTEE,
    I thinK Mista BliteE shood BuY Yoo a CASHMEEr Herms Scaarrf, Becos It wiLL be vERRy coLd in InglaNd at Chrissmas.
    LOts Of Luv, ArNie in Townsville.
    PS My MUm LOVEs you, You r REEEElly fUnny.

  6. Oh my lads would have been in heaven attending that match... real football in a real stadium... I might have even made an effort to go too! The crowd would have been fun to experience! Great narrative.. you are my morning giggle. A-M xx

  7. Dear Mrs Blighty, I loved reading about your sports outing. My husband once took me to Paris for two weeks to watch five World Cup matches - some lovely New Zealand friends had bought tickets prior to finding out they were having a baby and wondered whether I would care to go (!?!!!). We got to know the Parisians who sat around us and after a couple of matches were sharing our snacks. I quite understand your concern for that fine young player's welfare. While I have to put my glasses on I would feel the same way : )

  8. Blighty- you are funny!

    PS. We went to see Evan Lysacek (the U.S. Gold medal figure skating champion) last night. I would like to have stood up and shouted "Take your shirt off!!" too, except he was wearing a jumpsuit. Black. Very tight.
    Luckily, it was my husband who was awarded the Mortification Award from our son, by clapping along to a female, Country & Western cover version of the Stone's "Wild Horses" while men in tight pants and gingham shirts twirled across the ice.

  9. I used to love watching Southampton FC play when I was younger with my dad. It looks as though the Blighty boys love it too! X

  10. I luff Hungarians, how nice to see their soccer team In The Flesh.

    In Oz we have this tv show where a footballers wifey called Colleen Rooney ( pronounced "Kleen") tries to get "real girls" modelling jobs. As she says at the start of every episode "I'm not like yer typical model gels" and she says stuff like "have youse gels ever done any modelling?" Suffice to say I love her and the show. Did you see her at the Game? She wears huge diamonds.

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