Pilgrimage to the Bridge
I’m writing this from somewhere over the Atlantic on my way back to L.A. from London.
This past Saturday, I was fortunate enough to cheer on the Blues against Crystal Palace. Besides the result, it was everything I’d hoped for and more. My brother-in-law Andrew joined me in the festivities. So, on to my tale…
After a quick Uber ride from Soho, we were soon walking through the hallowed entrance of fabled Stamford Bridge. Since we were there a couple hours before the match itself (more on that later…) we checked out the Megastore to spend a few pounds on Chelsea gear. It was a mob scene: local Chelsea fans, youth soccer teams from the United States and folks of all ages from pretty much every corner of the world packed the place. Really gives you an appreciation for the global nature of both the Premier League and Chelsea FC.
From there we went inside the stadium. After ordering a couple cold Singhas on tap and some meat pies, we joined a cluster of other Chelsea fans to watch the end of the Liverpool/Everton match on a TV located conveniently near, well…beer and meat pies. And did I mention beer?
Finally, it was match time. We excitedly made our way to our seats which were just below the overhang on the opposite end of the field from the teams. About 40 yards to our left was the “Costa Guvnor” banner. The seats were amazing! And it’s a good thing, considering I’d paid a small fortune for them. *Pro-tip for you married blokes: I easily justified the bonkers price to my beloved wife with a simple reminder that we’d paid about the same for a couple of Adele (insert expensive show of choice) tickets last summer. Full disclosure: Adele was amazing, despite her Spurs allegiance.
Ok, so on to the game…
Almost before I had the chance to catch my breath from taking in the surroundings, Cesc connected for a goal to the delight of the fans. Mayhem ensued! I was in heaven! Surely another victory in-the-making, and I was there to witness it in person!
Then, just as my pulse rate started to normalize after screaming my head off like a lunatic, Zaha evened up the score a minute later. That just sucked. But I’ve got to give it up to the Palace fans sitting in the away section. They were shooting off cannons and raising serious hell for their side. It was quite the scene that just doesn’t come across on TV. Antonio’s left ear must have been ringing.
“Not to worry” I told myself, “we’ve got a whole game left to put Palace in their place and grab 3 points.” That is, until Benteke chipped in an artful shot from close range. Bullocks! Heartbreak set in as the minutes ticked down toward the final whistle.
Well, I won’t bore you with the non-football particulars of my trip, but suffice to say that the wifey and I had a fantastic time doing all kinds of touristy stuff and blowing wads of cash. London ain’t cheap, friends. My wallet is still stinging.
This afternoon as we boarded our flight home, besides not experiencing catastrophic engine failure, I had but one hope: that the Chelsea v Man City game would be televised. Wish granted! I scarfed what will probably be my last meat pie in a while, and with our 2-1 victory over City, I breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn’t somehow cursed The Bridge forever with my presence earlier this week.
Until next time, London!