A Non Football Fan’s view on watching a Football Match at Wembley

Liverpool V Barcelona

Liverpool V Barcelona

Can a Non Football fan enjoy watching a game of live football?

I have on my Fifty B4 Fifty list (you can see the list here) to go a live sporting event.  At first I did not know what to choose.  I love the thrill and excitement you get from being at a live sporting event.  Two of my favourites were Wimbledon and The Olympics when they were in London.  Although going to a live sporting event is not new to me the reason for adding this to my list was so that I could experience a new sport and venue.  My idea was watch a sport which I knew very little about.  I came up with three realistic choices Rugby at Twickenham, Cricket at Lords or The Oval or a football match at Wembley.

My husband supports Liverpool Football Club.   Coming from Kent and with the demand for tickets high we have only been able to see Liverpool a few times.  His European team is Barcelona (we have visited their stadium for a tour twice, not quite sure why we had to go back the second time).  As part of the International Champions Cup Liverpool were due to play Barcelona at Wembley.    So I get to tick off another of my Fifty B4 Fifty activities and he gets to watch his favourite two football teams – A match made in heaven

BEFORE THE FOOTBALL MATCH

On the day of the match we travelled to High Wycombe.  We were staying in a Premier Inn that night as were travelling to Oxford the following day for Countryfile Live.  It therefore made sense to drive to High Wycombe and go by train to Wembley.  Once we arrived at High Wycombe station we saw other Liverpool supporters on the platform.  It took about 25 minutes to get to Wembley Central.  At every station more and more Liverpool supporters boarded the train.

We arrived at Wembley by about 1.30 p.m. and the match was due to start at 5.15.  There is a Designer Outlet Centre at Wembley.  I did consider shopping, eating and going to the match but  I knew today was not a day for shopping.  However,  I knew that we had to find somewhere to eat and the restaurants were going to get busier not quieter.  There are lots of bar and restaurants (and shops) which are part of the Designer Outlet Centre.  We chose Las Iguanas who specialise in Latin American food and had a lovely meal.  The restaurant was buzzing with Liverpool fans.  I think on every table there was at least one person wearing a Liverpool shirt.

The Wembley Arch

It is not until you are inside the stadium you appreciate how big Wembley is.

After our meal we walk around the outskirts of Wembley Stadium whilst enjoying the afternoon sunshine.  By now more and more Liverpool fans were arriving.  With everyone is high spirits it felt like one big party.

THE WARM UP

Although it was still one and a half hours until the match started we went through the gates into the stadium.  Our seats were on the 2nd row of the Fifth tier (top tier).  From the  second row from the front the view of the pitch and stadium was perfect.    When you walk around the outside of Wembley it is not that easy to appreciate how big the stadium is.  However, once in my seat I was able to take in just how big the stadium was.  It was also hard to believe that just over an hour the stadium would be full of football fans.  The stadium began to fill quite quickly as more and more fans took their seats.

Liverpool Football Club at Wembley

The Liverpool team warming up

Not too long after we sat down the players started to come out on the pitch to warm up.  Meanwhile the stadium continued to fill.  Eventually the teams went off the pitch ready for the start of the match.

THE FOOTBALL MATCH

Each player received lots of cheering and clapping from the fans as they came out onto the pitch.  Just before the match started the Liverpool anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was played.  Everyone sang along and to be honest continued into the first couple of minutes of the match.

With the match underway the fans still continued to sing, cheer and clap their team.  Liverpool scored a goal and the level of the singing and cheering was raised to an even higher level.

In not time at all 45 minutes had gone by and the referee blew the half time whistle.  This was an opportunity to stretch your legs and for fans to discuss the team’s performance.  The score was still 1-0 to Liverpool and everyone was in a good mood.

With the second half underway Liverpool scored another goal.  The singing and cheering continued getting throughout the rest of the match.  Liverpool went on to score two more goals and won the match 4-0.

AFTER THE FOOTBALL MATCH

I don’t mind admitting that this is the part of the day which I had been dreading.  I hate coming away at the end of events at the best of times but knowing that nearly 90,000 would be wanting to leave at the same time, I had prepared myself to expect delays.  However, I much to my surprise we were sitting on the train in less than 15 minutes from leaving the stadium.  Depending on your destination stadium you simply had to follow a queue line and in to time at all we were on the train.

Admittedly we managed to get out the stadium quite quickly and we were close to the station entrance.  Everyone appeared to know where they were going or were happy to follow directions.  To be honest I have seen more queue jumping, running and pushing in Oxford Street.  The behaviour by both the Liverpool and Barcelona fans  was impeccable.

The train journey back to High Wycombe was full of high spirited fans, laughter and singing could be heard throughout the carriage.  I did feel sorry for the passengers that were already on the train when all the football fans boarded.  If they were looking for a quiet train journey they were most definitely out of luck.

Once back at High Wycombe we checked into our Premier Inn and went to the bar and had a bottle of wine to celebrate.  A perfect way to end a perfect day.

WOULD I GO TO ANOTHER FOOTBALL MATCH?

Of course I would!  I am so glad that ‘To go to a live sporting event’ was on my Fifty B4 Fifty list.  Going to Wembley to watch a football match is certainly not an event I would have considered before.  I found being at the stadium and watch the game was far more enjoyable that watching the match on the t.v. or even in a pub.  Although I was just one person in a crowd of just under 90,000 it was still a very special experience    I will most definitely be looking at going to another high profile football match, maybe England next time.

Liverpool V Bartcelona

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