It’s your worst nightmare. The first Cup Final for twenty odd years, and you don’t have a season ticket, which means you probably don’t have a ticket. A work related contact has a pair of Club Wembley seats. I’ve been to England matches a couple of times before with him and I’m on a promise. GTFI! A week goes by, two, then three and I get the call that tickets will be with you "on the email in a minute mate, enjoy yourself and beat the bastards".
We rolled up to Wembley Way at around 11am full of a nice greasy fry up and ready to rumble. Not being a drinker, we took time out taking it all in; the kid with the cardboard sign who’ll pay owt for a ticket, the facepaint smeared with warm lager, the fat bird with the Henderson shirt, we love you Sunlun we do. With just a piece of A4 to gain admission we scanned our barcodes ('kin hell, can't get away from them) and went on up to Club Wembley Silver, Block 22*. A suited bod greeted us and handed out the Capital One Cup Final itinerary for the day. You’d forget there was a game going on . . . . a choice of some 40 bars, kiosks and restaurants around the ground . . . . cokes were £4 a pop at a kiosk, or we could start the day at the Bench Brasserie with Goats Cheese & Wasabi peas, Wild Mushroom & Truffle Risotto, & Sherry Trifle for £40; they’ll even throw you in a few onions rings at half time. Ney stotties pet ? You’re having a laugh. You do get a free programme mind you, oh the joy.
It’s plush, very plush and if you want to you could spend £500 comfortably on all the trappings that the posh seats offer. Me, well bugger that, it was fantastic just sitting in my seat near the Citeh fans for ninety minutes watching you lot gradually fill the Sunderland end. The noise built towards kick off, with hardly a squeak out of the Citeh while we were in full Vito-effect. These seats were split roughly 40% Safc, 35% neutral 23% Citeh, 2% empty seats. Behind me were a block of seven together, all empty, a disgrace, but if you’re a Chelsea fan and have CW seats what’s the incentive to go to our game? The sooner they sort out the debacle of resale contingencies for such seats the better.
So the to game, it’s been done to death so I’ll not dwell on much, except you lot were loud, very loud. We could hear every song and whilst the Citeh fans were also a real credit on the day, we drowned them out except when they scored if I’m honest. As the ball fell to Borini who stroked it home Club Wembley exploded in civilised chaos, no stewards in site, no agitation with the oppo, just football fans gannin' quietly mental. The mackem Pozman? Well hats off lads, it looked bloody mint. When Citeh scored their goals, no wankah hand signals, no goading, it was football, not a war. Full time and it was all over, everyone hung around for the medals, everyone clapped eachother, shook hands, and eulogised how on another day it may have been different.
As we left bands / artists played little showcases on tiny stages encouraging you to hang around and spend more hard earned wedge. D’yer knar Wise Men Say like marra? I might as well have had two heeds.
As an exile living in Bromley, there's now way I’d have got a ticket any other way and I’d have watched the game from sitting on a toilet door if I’d had to, so I can’t thank my mate enough for sorting me out but this is a football experience for those who aspire to something "beyond" in life. It’s a legion away from what your average mackem wants on a matchday but the FA have to pay for the place somehow, and they really do go the extra mile to give you a day to remember. Abiding memory a few days later? I’ve never been as proud of our fans as on Sunday. The best. The very best.
So who knows eh? In five weeks time. Do we #daretodream ?