Premier League Football!

Trip Start Jul 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 04, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, August 25, 2012

We had a relaxing morning on Saturday and a few laughs as I readjusted to being back in England and speaking only in English again.  It's funny how quickly you start to think in another language when you're immersed in it - down at the local grocer I was asked if I wanted a bag and 'oui' was out of my mouth before I had time to think!

Matt and Julia need some minor repairs to their roof and we watched with fascination as the scaffolders negotiated a narrow tall house with almost no room to move in order to erect the scaffolding for the roofer to gain access to the top storey.  Because the housing is attached, the only way to the small back yard is through the hallway, passing each single pipe through the kitchen window, angling it over the neighbour's hedge and then passing it up the side of the house.  One by one, and not a single scratch or ding when they were finished - impressive.

There was an impressive thunder and lightning storm in the afternoon which was fun to watch (for those weather geeks in the family!) but had me a little worried for our upcoming Premier League match.

Happily though, the skies cleared in time for us to jump on the bus and head up the road (all 1.2km) to Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea who were hosting Newcastle in their third Premier League match of the season. 

First lesson for novice football fans is that all the surrounding roads are closed when a football match is on so instead of taking us past the gate, the bus turned off and we made a hurried exit at the next stop to join the thousands of people making their way to the game.  It was fun walking in, the fans were already singing, there was a brass band marching around and despite the intermittent rain everyone was in very good spirits.

Our seats were up high behind the goal and gave us great views.  As luck would have it, we were just one section away from the Newcastle fans who are allocated one block of seats which is lined either side by security guards.

It made for a highly entertaining match.  At times it was hard to know what to watch, the game of the opposing groups of fans.  The chanting and singing was hilarious at times (Michael learnt several new ways to insult someone!) and I'm sure some of the fans were there for the heckling rather than the football.

The football was great to watch.  Shame the season has finished at home because I picked up a few defensive moves I think the Nomads 11A's could have put in to good use as well as an awesome attacking corner move!  The first goal came when Torres was brought down in the goalbox and was awarded a penalty.  How awesome to be directly behind the goal at that point, to see the Newcastle fans stunned in to silence and to be in a mass of screaming Chelsea fans when the penalty was scored.

There was high drama towards the end of the first half when Torres was given a yellow card for complaining to the ref when a Newcastle player wasn't booked.  He had been quite quiet until then, but following that got right in to the game and scored a great goal just before half time.

The second half produced no more goals but plenty more entertainment.  The fans were very vocal and totally one eyed. Why anyone would choose to be a referee at that level I'll never know. Any time a decision went against the home team, he was booed, jeered and his parentage and lifestyle were called in to question! There were some terrible chants that went round about the ref, I hope he was wearing earplugs!  

The fans took everything very personally, one man in front of us looked a nervous wreck the whole time and nearly had a heart attack each time they scored. Often they would yell out "c'mon Chels" in that familiar way you'd talk to a friend, and I loved the guy behind us who was a well dressed, good looking young guy with a completely one-eyed view of the game and a foul mouth.  Every time a Chelsea player made a good pass or move or run, he would turn to his mate and say "that's quality that is". He must have said it 50 times throughout the match, classic! 

We left the game on a high, having thoroughly enjoyed the football and the entertaining fans.    As we came down the stairs, a man flung his arm around Michael's shoulders and asked him if he's enjoyed the game. When he replied that he had, he got another hug and a rousing 'Chelsea forever' monologue.  Hilarious! 

We made our way out with the throngs and inched back towards home, past mounted police and hundreds of people waiting to get in to the underground.  It was a fun walk home with very happy Chelsea fans who took great delight in celebrating the win in front of the Newcastle fans.

We decided to go down to the little local brasserie for dinner and spent most of the meal filling in the Maître d' and then the waiter with the blow by blow details of the game!
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