After leaving for Wembley at 5pm on Tuesday 8th September, I soon wondered why I had said yes to going to watch an England football match.
I’m not a massive football fan or anything, in fact, I usually get quite bored as I don’t really know the rules. I mean, I know what offside rule is – but I have no clue how you spot it! How do they know if it’s the last pass before scoring – until the ball is actually scored? Anyway.
Dan must have done some real work selling it to me as 1. it was a football match, 2. we would be watching it with his work colleagues (that I don’t know), and 3. it cost £45! £45! Each! So in the car on the way, I just kept thinking Why? Why? I could be doing anything else right now. Anything. But instead I said yes to watching football – when I don’t even enjoy it. Why?
And this feeling only intensified when 8pm came and went and we were still stuck in the car in London traffic. The match had started (sorry, kicked off) at 7:45pm. From journey start to end it was 36 miles. It took us three and a half hours to travel 36 miles! We arrived 38 minutes late for the match, which was both highly annoying and my prayers being answered at the same time. For us, the first half was only seven minutes long. Great for me, sad for the football lovers among our group.
Wembley Stadium is massive. Like, massive. Dan showed me a comparative picture between Wembley Stadium and his beloved Saints ground St Mary’s Stadium (Southampton FC), and there’s a whole other floor on top for seating at Wembley. Huge.
Seven minutes for the first half was definitely enough for me. I have never been in such a testosterone filled atmosphere – I could actually smell it – I was worried I was about to spring a beard any minute! There was one guy right behind me who kept going berserk, it was as if his life depended on this match and, in particular, Wayne Rooney (ROOOONAYYYY) scoring. Seven minutes was enough time for me not to turn around and tell him to stop screaming in my ear.
Half-time, The Lionesses came on to the pitch! I was much more excited about this. And then quickly disappointed again. I enjoyed watching the England team in the Women’s World Cup, well, the bits that held my attention anyway – it was still football after all. So seeing them come onto the pitch at half-time I was excited to see them in action. But all they did was come onto the pitch, take a few selfies and leave again. No ball kicking, no lap of honour to get the crowd going, just on and off again. I’m still not sure why they bothered really.
A fifteen minute break and then the fans were back in their seats. Including Mr Shouty (ROOOONAYYYY) who had in fact managed to learn a new word during the break, ‘WANKA’ (wanker but with a mockney accent), so you know, good on him for expanding his vocab.
The second half had the crowd really enjoying themselves. It was tense, there were near misses and there was GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLs. One from some guy who had only just come on (“why didn’t they bring him on earlier?” I asked Dan) and one from the player who everyone was waiting for to score – you guessed it – ROOOONAYYYY! It was his 50th goal for England, overtaking some other guy – Bobby something? I do feel it was a bit of a cheat though as it was from a penalty, but the crowd were pleased and I joined in with the cheering.
A lot of people left after Rooney’s goal, which at £45 a ticket I did not get why (did I mention it was £45?) including the team’s coach behind me. It’s amazing how many men think they can do a better job of both playing and managing football – thousands of backseat drivers!
I ended up really enjoying the football – it was the first match I’d been to where I had enjoyed the atmosphere, normally I don’t and I zone out so much I completely miss when there’s a goal and end up looking like a knob when everyone around me is stood up cheering and I’m there “wha? What happened?” But not this time!
After the match Dan and I decided to go for some dinner rather than leave straight away and luckily enough there’s a nice shopping plaza with a food court right next to the stadium so we dived in there to Wagamama’s – where else! I always forget how super quick the service can be in there – we were done in 20 minutes.
Traffic leaving London – and all the way home – was still atrocious, so then we didn’t end up getting home until midnight. 5pm-12am for a 90 minute football match, seems a bit much. But I did have a nice time and I got to spend quality time with Dan doing something that he enjoys, so perhaps it was worth it after all.
I’ve even said to Dan I’d like to go see the Women’s England football team play some time. I’d say that’s progress!