ENGLAND – SCOTLAND (3:0)
Friday 11th November 2016
This was a long day (and night!) which started well and deteriorated fast.
It was an early start with a drive to Aberdeen followed by an 8 hour train journey to Kings X, a long time for anyone to sit, but i knew this would give me an excellent chance to update this very blog. The train was full of kilted footsoldiers carrying boxes and bottles of drink, i had my own amber nectar but resisted the temptation to start at 8am, god only knows what state they wold be in by the 3pm arrival in London.
My time was spent typing away with the occasional glance out the window, daydreaming of a win. Feeling lucky i put a pound on Snodgrass to score and Scotland to win 3-1 at 400/1, it was a hell of longshot, but i felt the urge. Deep down i knew we would loose the match which is really a sad state of affairs but following the Scotland national team forces you into thinking like this especially as results and performances have not been good, even the win in Malta had failed to inspire me.
It was lunchtime and 4 homemade ham salad rolls were washing down nicely with an Isle of Jura Malt Whisky, that i had carefully decanted into my Volvic bottle, which seemed like a good idea at the time however, later, this was catch up with me.
As the train slowly came to a halt at Kings X, the carriages emptied, a hoard of cans and bottles also emptied onto the platform. There were hundreds of Scots some wearing soldier’s hats, Scotland tops, tartan scrafs and kilts all, rather nosily, made their way to the exits. There were police on the train and on the platform and were telling the drinkers to pour it out before bursting onto the streets. Chorus upon Chorus of “We’ll be coming down the road” echoed around Kings X, it was an army, an invasion and a surge of kilts making their way into battle.
I had to be quick i only time to get to my hotel and back out again to meet friends who had come down the previous day. Golders Green was my next destination, reasonably priced accommodation had been difficult to come by such as the demand with it not only being the match at Wembley but it was also remembrance weekend so prices had escalated quickly. The Central Hotel i thought looked like a cheap knocking shop when booking it and upon arrival my initial thoughts materialised. Not the most salubrious of establishments but it was warm and comfortable. I had also picked the location being relatively easy to get to Wembley.
The 83 bus from Golders Green took me directly to the stadium and with 2 hours to spare i rolled into The Torch, a pub next to the stadium. It’s the first time i have ever been searched going into a pub before so i felt honoured to have gone through that experience. It was full of Scots and i met up with some of my friends who looked worse for wear. Loud, obnoxious and fuelled with drink they were ready for such an important game.
Maybe i should bypass the game itself, the performance, lack of character, desire and passion were apparent to see. The final whistle was met with a sobering silence from the section i was in. I am a positive person but failed to take any confidence from this display.
On a personal level, it was an amazing experience to watch a game at this magnificent stadium. The last time was in 1994 for the Charity Shield match between Everton and Blackburn Rovers. The SOS squad were in action that day (Shearer and Sutton for the uneducated), we could have done with that ourselves. Back then it was the old Wembley complete with the iconic twin towers This time was different what makes the new Wembley stand out is that illuminated arch, its unique and adorns the night sky. It’s a magnificent amphitheatre for football.
My over indulgence had finally caught up with me , the fresh air hitting me as i staggered alone to the train station to meet up with my friends again in Central London. It was techno night at EGG in London which was open to 9am the following morning. The next few hours were a little hazy but after a cracking night out, tired and weary i slept well for what seemed like a week.