Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My first football game

Yep, I did it.

I called it football, not soccer. Un-Australian maybe, but both teams had aussies playing for them and by the end of the night rol's and I were insistent on standing up for West Ham rather then turning cheek.

The night started off as well as I could have hoped. Dave and his girlfriend Susan organised some Carling Cup tickets for myself and Rol's, West Ham United Vs Everton in the Quarter Final at West Ham's home ground of Upton Park.

We met at the Upton Park tube stop and wandered up the road in the freezing cold winter wind in search of some Hammers merchandise, a warm pub and dare I say it, a warm beer! (it was that cold).

I picked up a beanie and a scarf and we all picked up a couple of beers around the corner from the ground. We tried to get into the popular Hammers bar, but it was popular and 6 deep at the bar so we ducked around the corner to somewhere less busy.

It wasn't long before we were through the first two beers and looking to head over to the ground to watch the game, but not before the was a bit of a scuffle in one of the other rooms in the bar which saw a bunch of young fella's come running into our section and quickly removing scarfs and beanies to, I guess, become less recognisable. The police told them to cross the road and keep there heads down and they should be fine.

I'd hate it if a police officer told me I "should" be fine.

That's right, I'm a card holder now

We wandered over to the ground, found our enterance and seats just in time to cheer the hammers running out onto the pitch and to start my first rendition of "Blowing Bulles", which pretty much consisted of me singing "Blowing bubbles in the air" at the end.

Upton Park

The beginning of the game couldn't have started any better with Cole taking random lob into the box on his chest, turning to beat the keeper and slotting it into the back of the net. That saw me jump to my feet and scream out with nearly as much passion as I would for a Glen McGrath LBW shout to remove Tendulkar for a duck.

Celebrations after Cole's Goal

That was it. West Ham seemed to just give up as Everton out played them for the remainder of the half and were unlucky to only get an equaliser.

Half time saw me desperately lining up in the loo's to relieve a pint of water and two pints of beer........ and then desperately trying to race the girl in the line next to me to order the last two pies.

There were ups and downs in those races, and in the end if I had to lose one of them I'm glad it was for the pie.

Roland and I settled for a couple of hot dogs and half a pizza each, and of course a beer to wash it down. We looked around and couldn't help but smile at the........ lets call it the variety of fans that flooded the outer halls at half time.

Now I've been in the outer at the MCG on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Ashes test, but it wasn't as mad packed as the isles during half time at this game.

We made it back to the seats, and fortunately West Ham made it back into the game even though the Ref was doing everything in his power to keep them well out of it.

Unfortunately a simple mistake by the keeper and defender allowed Everton to put away the easiest of winning goals in the 88th minute which then lead to half the crowed leaving the ground.

We walked out on the losing side, but it was an awesome experience to be cheering on the home team in such a great stadium, with such great seats.

We were going to head straight back to the tube, but seeing as there was a pub right outside the tube stop it would have been stupid for us not to at least stop for one beer. While we were in the pub there were a couple of girls walking around trying to flog off pirate dvd's for £2 a piece. We laughed as the guys next to us bought a couple, and then jokingly said where are the stick flicks.

Well apparently they weren't joking as the girls reached into their bags to produce twice as many dvd's with such great titles as "Cliff Banger" "Butt Bandits VII" and numerous others. After much, much laughing at the situation, and at the guys saying if they had a DVD player they would have bought the lot, we wandered onto the tube for the trip home.

Normally stories would do well to end here, but fortunately Roland and I decided to make more of night for it.

We sat on the train with plans to head back to London Bridge and then onto the Norther Line back SW. We sat near three other guys and one of them soon brought up West Ham (we were still wearing West Ham Beanie's and Scarfs) and how Lukas Neil wasn't as good as Tim Cahill.

Initially we thought they were West Ham fans and were saying as Australian's Cahill was better, but we soon found out that they were in fact Everton fans hell bent on stirring up trouble. They pinched the beanies off our head and made a quick game of keep it off us before we took them back off them.

It would have been wise to put them away, but at that stage I'd be damned if I was going to hide the team I supported (having seen all of one live game..... idiot).

Most of it was banter, with the 3 of them trying to chant us off the train at each stop, but it could have gone pear shaped on a couple of occasions..... like when we found out that they were Everton supporters and Roland told them they were a long way from Liverpool, they pointed out we were a long way from Australia. Fair call really.

Another time may have been when one of the guys said my west ham gear would look better laid out on the ground at the next tube station, and I mentioned that he would look better in a similar situation.

And finally, when we suggested that they were either too poor to afford, or too scared to show their true support for their team by not wearing anything that represented Everton.

Seems silly now, but at the time we may as well have been life long West Ham supporters and weren't budging a bit.

I had to laugh though, we'd actually got onto the wrong tube and weren't heading for London Bridge at all, so we wouldn't have been in the situation to begin with. And to compound my laughter we could have got off at Moorgate but it was during one of their chants to get us off the train, and even though it was our stop we didn't want to give them the satisfaction of thinking they'd won (they'd already beaten us at the game, couldn't give it to them twice).

All in all it was an awesome night, especially seeing as we stayed out of trouble and got to cheer west ham for 88 minutes of the game.

Come on you Hammers!!!!!

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