Posted by sean on February 7, 2008 at 1:56 pm in England with No Comments

Last night I visited Wembley Stadium to watch my first ever live England game – a friendly against Switzerland. Having watched lots of league football with Leeds United and even more non-league with Bath City, I was keen to see what all the fuss was about and watch how football really should be played (according to the press).

The coach left Bath just before 2pm and was late arriving into Wembley due to getting caught in rush hour traffic. We were able to park right by the ground, which was very convenient – no messing around in tube or bus stations.

The stadium look very impressive, especially illuminated in the night sky. The shear size of it is also surprising. After climbing many, many flights of stairs, we found our seats very easily (so far, so good).

We then went in hunt off food. The menu was limited to burger and chips, fish and chips or chicken and (you’ve guessed it) chips. Whatever you ordered, you weren’t left with much change from a tenner. The queues to buy food were very long, the service was slow, and the availability of cutlery, tomato ketchup, straws, etc was very poor.

I used the toilets once, pre-kick off. Watching non-league football most weeks, I have seen some disgusting toilets which would even be frowned upon on the continent. Wembley’s were very nice though, and the hand dryers were cool – so powerful they nearly blew my arms off.

The match was preceded by a minutes silence in memory of the Munich air disaster 50th anniversary. The silence was cut short after 20 seconds due to a very small number of fans disturbing it.

Watching England live is very different to watching them on TV; mainly as you haven’t got the senile John Motson spouting sewage for 90 minutes.

England were reported by the media to have played poorly, and I would have to agree. Jermaine Jenus appeared to have a good game and Wayne Rooney tried hard. Ashley Cole was absolutely shocking and was booed after being substituted. Still, it doesn’t matter if you’re a crap footballer, as long you have a beautiful wife… oops, sorry Cashley!

The overall atmosphere was rather sterile. When the England fans did make noise, it was either boos out of frustration, unimaginative chants or attempts to wind up the travelling Swiss.

The journey home seemed to take forever. The motorway coming out of Wembley was heavily congested, mainly due to maintenance work being carried out. If this was planned work, the man who decided to carry it out on the same night as an England game needs shooting. At 2am the coach arrived back in Bath. It had been a long, long day

I am an England fan. I wish them well. I will probably go to watch England again, but give me club football over international any day of the week.

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