The Football Weren’t All That…..

Friday 19th September 2014

If I was a betting man I wouldn’t mind placing a little wager that most of you who travelled to Germany this week have been faced with the following question,

“Apart from the football, how was your trip?!”

Following your team week in week out it is a question we have to accept will crop up from time to time and although the smug/cheeky grin that accompanies can be more than annoying depending on how important the game was, I do believe the way we feel after a victory happens far more regularly.

Dortmund is a city we have visited a number of times, especially recently and each time I have travelled by road. Just the four of us decided to make the trip on this occasion, Sheppey Gooner Mark joining myself and two of my longest and very best mates as we drove across Kent early on Monday morning. A simple Eurotunnel ‘crossing’ and just under three hundred miles of clear French, Belgian, Dutch and German motorways we arrived and checked into hotel with our host city’s entertainment firmly on our minds.

I would like to detail a tale of culture and history but if that is what you are expecting I am afraid you will be a little bit disappointed on this occasion. A small amount of liquid and solid refreshment was followed by a visit to a bar that had played host on previous visits. A ‘Happy Hour’ (or more accurately, 2 hours) saw beers at just 1 euro a pop……very disappointing as you can imagine!

Overall it all helped make up a very enjoyable opening day.

Matchday arrived with a certain degree of nausea but nothing that a bit of brunch in a city centre bathed in glorious sunshine wouldn’t sort out. That achieved it was time to enjoy the pre-match build up.

Previous visits had seen us locate a superb bar, not only within the shadow of what is one of the world’s greatest stadia but literally a few metres from the entrance to the away end. Consequently it was here we headed and accompanied by some of the many other Gooner friends present we did the usual thing of talking about how we would improve the world, our team and of course plenty of other total rubbish that us blokes tend to find amusing! The perfect pre-match combination I would say.

Bar could do with being nearer the ground

Bar could do with being nearer the ground

A few beers with our friends from the Dover Gooners

A few beers with our friends from the Dover Gooners

Maidstone Gooners on tour

Maidstone Gooners on tour

Entering the ground in fine spirits it was to see a totally different story unfold than our last visit. On the day we played poorly, it is as simple as that. Although like most games I felt the game turned on moments that could have seen an alternative outcome had they been different, we all have to accept we were beaten by the better team on the night. Disappointing but being the first game in the group it doesn’t have to be a disaster.

Just before we didn't really turn up!

Just before we didn’t really turn up!

One last night enjoying our German friends’ hospitality and we headed back to the UK on Wednesday after another thoroughly enjoyable European adventure…….apart from the football of course!!

Aston Villa have made a great start this season and it is they we face next. Villa Park when full and noisy is a difficult place to go. There is only one way to keep that to a minimum.

Come on you mighty Gunners!



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