What Did She Wear?!
Tuesday 10th March 2015
I’d never been to Manchester Airport. It’s not a destination I have ever considered getting a flight to. Once our game was moved to Monday night however, a few of us liked the look of a ‘jolly’ and plans were made. It’s not the best of airports if I’m honest but even with the huge slice of nausea this morning’s return was accompanied by, it felt like the best place on earth. Get those yellow ribbons out once again boys and girls, we are heading back up Wembley Way!
My trip should have been so so different. I have some good Gooner friends who live near Stavanger in Norway. It is a beautiful part of the world and at this time of the year the nearby mountains are still covered in snow. Skiing has never been something that has attracted me, in fact I have never so much as put on a pair of skis let alone do a poor impression of Franz Klammer!
My Norwegian friends however, are huge fans of Winter Sports and have given an open invite to head out there and sample their passion.
Dates have never quite worked but with our game being Monday night, even when I had already booked my return flight from Southampton to Manchester, I discovered Norwegian Air had a direct flight from Stavanger to Manchester on Monday morning……for just over 17 quid!
So plans were made and a flight route booked from Gatwick to Stavanger to Manchester to Southampton!
Then the pilots decided to go on strike!!
With all flights cancelled the Norway trip was off and it was back to plan A, the fact I couldn’t cancel my outbound flight from Southampton being a godsend on this occasion.
Only those who ‘know’ understand how good nights like that are. Walking up a Sir Matt Busby Way mobbed with Gooners singing “We’re the famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wem-ber-lee” after beating the mighty Manchester United in the FA Cup Quarter Final in their own backyard is really rather pleasant. And boy did we celebrate.
Pre-match activities started quite early on this occasion, our flight having us in Manchester and comfortable by lunchtime but it was a strange moment on route to our chosen hostelry that sticks in my mind.
One of my Gooner mates popped into a bank and whilst waiting outside I looked up at one of the city’s many tower blocks. On the side it said ‘Manchester One’. For a reason that it is impossible to explain I had a massive air of confidence wash over me and had the words ‘Arsenal Two’ in an imaginery position on the side of the building.
Pre-match activities undertaken we headed to Old Trafford to join our 9 thousand strong travelling army in getting behind the team. The noise we made was simply magnificent.
Like away at Man City tactically we got it spot on I felt. Our hosts had few clear cut chances throughout, in fact 2 quite awesome saves in the second period prevented it from being 3 or 4.
If the jostle after our quickly cancelled out opener was raucous the one undertaken for Welbs’ winner was bordering on carnage.
As the dust settled that 20 minutes or so to go looked like a lifetime. We were not to be denied however, and the final whistle was met with scenes of jubilation. Wembley bound again, get in there you beauties.
A tremendous result warrants a similar level of celebrations and getting in at just before 4am definitely suggests we did just that.
Bringing me nicely to the present. The seatbelt sign has just been illuminated on my short flight so it is time to sign off.
I’m uncomfortable admittedly…..but I’m smiling from ear to ear.
See you on Saturday as we entertain The Hammers.