Friday, 7 August 2009

Wem-ber-lee, Wem-ber-lee, Wem-ber-lee!

The other week I attended the pre-season tournament known as the inaugural Wembley Cup.

(Though frankly, how they can call it a 'tournament' escapes me. 4 teams in the tournament, that each play two other teams - not all three. Therefore you have one team playing Africa's club champions on the Friday, followed by England's 10th best team on the Sunday - whilst another team plays Scotland's second best team on the Friday and Europe's club champions on the Sunday. Guess which team won? Yeah, the ones who didn't play Barcelona. Quelle surprise....)

As with all pre-season friendlies I hadn't been expecting a feast of great football, as most players take it as an opportunity to stroll about the park hitting over-ambitious balls into space and out for a throw-in.

But, and it's a big but, the Mighty Spurs were playing Barcelona. At
Wembley. I'd not been before, so for a minor *ahem* amount of money and a half day off work, it seemed a bargain.

A friend from work (a fellow Spurs fan) and I trained it across to London and met up with my Dad at Baker Street. After several beers we opted to head up to Wembley to see some of the Celtic v Al Ahly game, stopping only for food on Wembley Way (£7 for a Pastie and Chips! Christ...). The stadium itself is pretty impressive and ultra-modern compared to the last one (escalators to the top tier? Why not), although it does feel rather sterile and lacking in atmosphere.

Worst of all, they *still* haven't worked out how to serve drinks/snacks at anything other than a snail's pace. At Cardiff's Millennium Stadium you barely have to stop moving throughout the queue whenever you want a beverage.

We finally got to our seats to watch the rest of the Celtic game. Sadly there was no scoreboard so we had no idea how long there was to go, or what the score was until Celtic scored their 5th and the announcer told us which minute it was scored in :)

It then started raining heavily, so I took a quick picture of the rainbow above the ground. Amazingly the stadium had over 50,000 people in it by this point!

As for the game itself, well Barcelona fielded their 'C' team (with the exception of Yaya Toure in central midfield, and I can only assume he was being punished for something by being there) while we played a 4-5-1 formation with a midget on his own up front. We were rubbish and deserved to be losing 1-0 at half time. In the second half they made 11 changes and brought on their 'D' team - quick as a flash our manager responded and brought on 4 graduates of our youth team. Our 'D' team was better than their 'D' team and we equalised with 5 minutes to go!

All that was left was to wait for over an hour for a tube, and to finally get home at 2:30am - completely knackered. Though at least I can say I've seen Barcelona play now... :)


Gorilla Bananas said...

I feel tired just reading about it. What's wrong with watching these games on TV?

Red Squirrel said...

gb - well, if I'm honest, had I known it was going to be on TV I probably would've done so....

Irish Gumbo said...

I had the same reaction to the prices at the Milan v. Chelsea match two weeks ago, here in Baltimore. Good thing we brought beer and snacks beforehand!

Still, it was a good match. I haven't yet gotten to see Barcelona play, more's the pity for me :(

Rachel Noy said...

Those escalators sound amazing. The price of the food, not so much.

That is a sweet rainbow. Making the most manly of places look a little bit My Little Pony.

Red Squirrel said...

IG - pre-season friendlies are always like that. I'm not sure why I always fall for it and go again.

I'm sorry to hear about your brother. Thoughts are with you.

Rachel - I'm not sure any place that Cristiano Ronaldo has played many times could ever be called 'manly'... :)