Tuesday, 6 September 2011

England 1 - 0 Wales - Wembley Stadium

******** Updated 23:38 ********
Stan Collymore has just tweeted that a fan was killed in a fight at Wembley. We saw no trouble inside or outside the ground. It just adds to my gut feeling that we are getting our priorities all wrong when it comes to Football as discussed below.
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So off to see England Vs Wales tonight at Wembley. £92.50 for two tickets. One for me and one for my 11 year old boy. Gripe no 1. No concessions for children. Now there was me thinking that the FA were supposed to promote the game to young people. Some hope. Due to the wonders of modern ticketing systems, I was emailed tickets to the wrong address. This meant I had to ring up, wait 20 minutes in a queue yesterday and then be told they couldn't resend them to the right email address. Nope, I had to pick them up from the box office.

So off we went, nice and early. Despite my fears, sure enough two nice tickets awaited us. Off we trotted. We got a nice program (£6). A bet for me (England 3-0 winners, Lampard to score) and one for the boy ( England 3-1 winners, Lampard to score) - yup your never too young to acquire bad habits if you are  a Tichborne. Mind you it was only £1 each. A pre match tradition of mine. Sadly our lords and masters don't allow us to indulge in that other pre match tradition -  a pint.

As to the game, the only moment of quality in the 1st half saw Young score and ruin my chances of getting a free(ish) night out. I must say the welsh were in good voice. I don't really know what they were singing - Odes to dead relatives or dead sheep, but it sounded far more tuneful than the chants of ENG-ER-LAND.

At half time we indulged ourselves. A small Fanta and two bags of crisps. A snip at £5.50. Of course we're English. Robbery and mugging is allowed if it's done by corporations and large organisations. £104 to watch 90 minute of football with and eleven year old. Just as well I'm a rich man (or I was).

At half time, we had a moving advert for help for heroes. They've raised £110 million for injured ex servicemen, to help them rebuild their shattered lives. It made my blood boil. Not that people dig into their pockets to help our brave forces, but the shameful fact that this is done as an act of charity. This country should pay for the best possible care and recuperation for injured soldiers, sailors and airmen from the public pot. The fact we need a charity called "Help for Heroes" to pay for rehabilitation from injury is a complete scandal. As I watched it I thought of this £110 million to rehabilitate our servicemen. £50 million for Torres to Chelsea, £35 million for Andy Carroll to Liverpool. Ashley Young to Man United for £16 million, Arteta to Arsenal for £10. Add those deals up and it's more than the ENTIRE cash collected for Help for Heroes. I'm a Manchester City fan. I saw somewhere that the team we put out against Spurs is worth £175 million. Are they really worth one and three quarters what we've paid as a nation to help rehabilitate our injured servicemen?

I just couldn't help thinking of all of the lies which landed us in Iraq. Don't get me wrong, I love football, but when I saw that video and heard the figures, I felt sick to my core. Am I the only person who thinks that it is a national disgrace that we rely on charity to fix up the bodies of the fallen. Am I the only one who thinks it is a disgrace that four fairly mediocre premiership players, not a premiership winners medal between them, are worth more than fixing the bodies of our brace soldiers?

Oh and the second half? There was really nothing to distract me from my maudling thoughts of national self loathing in the whole 45 minutes, apart from a half decent save by Joe Hart towards the end. 

As the final whistle approached I finally started to cheer up. I suddenly realised that I'd watched 90 minutes of football completely devoid of diving, play acting, players waiving imaginary cards at the referee. How much injury time - nothing in the first half and 2 mins in the second half. Not a physio on the pitch in the whole game. I thought how odd it was. Then I realised that all of the players on the pitch were British. As a nation we do play fair. We may be mugs, we may get turned over, we may not be able to string more than five decent passes together without giving the ball away, but we do play fair. And that is why I am proud of us. I saw a recent interview with Mike Summerbee, the Manchester City legend. He said "You don't support a team because they win or because they play nice football. If that happens it's a bonus. You support a team because you support them". That is why, come the next England match at Wembley, I'll be there, more in hope than expectation.

As we departed the ground, the  stadium announcer said "The man of the match is Aaron Ramsey". A bald fat Chelsea supporter next to me said "Whoever picked him is a F*****ng Gooner". That's football fans for you. I suspect that with the prices and the people running the FA, they'd rather have a rather different sort of customer. I hope to God they never get their way.

If you haven't donated any money to Help for Heroes - please click this link :-


We have a national duty to support these guys. If twats like me can pay £104 to watch a game of football, we can damn well afford to donate a few quid to the people who have suffered from the stupidity of the idiots we've elected. And if you voted Conservative or Lib Dem in the last election or Labour in the three elections before that, then I'm sorry to say that you share some of the blame for the fact that we ain't paying to look after these guys properly - and before you ask, I'm on a four out of four roll in that respect (3 Lab, 1 LD).

(and if anyone is tempted to leave comments promoting extreme parties by this comment, I will delete them -because this post ain't a soapbox for you).

1 comment:

baarnett said...

The BBC says that a man thought to be a Wales fan has died following an incident before the match.

Six people, all thought to be Wales supporters, were arrested and police do not believe any England fans were involved. The Met's Homicide and Serious Crime Command is investigating.