Friday, November 24, 2006

English Football: Manchester vs Sheffield

Last weekend was so busy! I went to the Manchester United (Devils) vs. Sheffield United (Blades) football game in Sheffield, UK last Saturday together with old friends. It was my first time to watch an English football game. I knew about the hooligans and how passionate the English are about football but nothing tops the experience when you are actually there to witness football religion in action—with a rowdy crowd of fanatics.

My train from London arrived in Sheffield an hour and 10 minutes before the game began. My friends picked me up and we immediately proceeded to the stadium. The streets were already speckled with excited football goers dressed in red stripes and aggressive fans who are howling like crazy. Yes, they were howling, haha. There were as well unbelievably so many police.

While passing through a busy street, we saw this big tourist bus that just arrived parked adjacent to the big dome. The bus was full of eager Manchester United supporters. Unfortunately, they were not allowed to get out of the bus just yet. The police guarded the bus well, and the rest of the uniformed team were stationed further a block away, watching everyone and filtering all passers-by.

We had okay seats, we sat in the first and second rows near the corner of the stadium. Since we were at arm’s length from the field, we could clearly see the players warming up in front of us. One of the Man U players (didn’t bother to check his name) who was all the time warming up, i.e., running, jumping, and stretching his muscles, was teasing the extremely—and I am not exaggerating okay, fuming Sheffield fans. LOL The heat intensifies every time he is near the border of the field ring. I thought it was so funny. The Blades manic supporters totally went berserk launching a series of word war with him instead of watching the match, haha.

And can you believe these girls I knew since 30+ years ago? We all went to the same girls school since our kindergarten days up to high school. Time fly so fast.

Figures: There were about 35,500+ individuals who showed up during the football match. The stadium was bursting with super enthusiastic screaming fans and they were singing the whole time. It was adrenalin pumping!

Final score was 1-2. Helaas, Sheffield United lost to Manchester United (I see people nodding, like this has been predicted a year ago by the crystal ball) with the popular Rooney scoring twice. A sad day for Sheffield, indeed.

Anyway, the £34 experience was worth it. It’s always nice to mix business trips with pleasure.

Travel Period: November 2006

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