Los Angeles is Red
Tuesday 2nd August 2016
Being a traditionalist I don’t like it if our away kit is anything other than yellow. So I am delighted with our new one. When it comes to the relatively recent development of requiring a third strip however, I genuinely couldn’t care less what colour it is.
In my opinion the one released this week is horrific! But……if we put in performances and get results like Sunday when wearing it, that’s fine by me.
San Francisco, San Jose and L.A. might all be in the same state but they couldn’t be more different as cities.
When I left off last time, our Amtrak train journey into the latter’s Union Station was in its closing stages and a short cab ride saw hotel check in undertaken and the last leg of the US tour was up and running.
Los Angeles is a big city and although there is a lot to attract a tourist like me, it is very spread out. As a result it is known as a location where getting around can be a bit tricky, especially without a car. To be honest, with a little bit of preparation and access to a decent transport map we have found it pretty easy, convenient and cheap to reach all corners of the city. And boy have we got around a bit!
Saturday began with a trip to enjoy the fantastic views from the Griffith Observatory, high in the hills above the city with the famous Hollywood sign in the distance.
Then it was off to the home of the stars itself, our visit including sights such as the Capitol Records Building, the awesome Chinese Theatre and of course the incredibly tacky Walk of Fame. Its the tourist thing to do!
Downtown was next, an area with a mix of historical buildings and ‘dodgy’ characters and saw us enjoy the Saturday night food, beer and blues offerings at the excellent Central Market, a fine way to conclude our first day in L.A.
Sunday was matchday 2 and we started by taking the metro/tram south through the suburbs and down to Long Beach to do a tour of the famous Cunard liner the ‘Queen Mary’. The sense of history walking around was something to behold and well worth the trip.
The Stubhub Center is the home of LA Galaxy and although an impressive stadium 10 miles south of Downtown, it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere!
A location for pre-match refreshment had been suggested but when we arrived the door was locked, the signs were down and the premises lease was up for grabs!
A short walk through the searing heat however and a suitable bar and grill was found to enjoy the match build up in the traditional way.
Once again Gooners from many locations joined us lot from the UK with many Mexicans present too donning the colours of Chivas.
Suitably refreshed it was time for the main event and with souvenirs purchased we took our place amongst the thousands donning the red and white (not fluorescent green fortunately!)
Time for the big kick-off and another chance to see how our preparations are progressing and despite the whole relaxed vibe, the sense of anticipation amongst the Gooners from this part of the world always creates a real sense of occasion.
Friendlies are not always the most competitive of affairs but that couldn’t be said about this one. Both sides quite obviously wanted to win the game, we played pretty well throughout and scored 3 good goals, in particular the one from the Ox.
I was very impressed with our 2 new signings too, Rob Holding showing a real knack of taking situations by the scruff of the neck and Granit Xhaka looking extremely commanding in the centre of the park.
Another good day then and two wins from two in USA 2016 make it look more than a worthwhile exercise. Chewing the fat continued back in the bar and grill and then, after an amusing bus ride, back in Downtown, leaving just one full day in LA to enjoy.
That day started feeling a little bit delicate of course as we headed initially for Beverly Hills and the whole retail therapy, Rodeo Drive, plastic surgery vibe. Again, you just have to as a tourist.
That completed and it was back to the coast, this time to the vast sands of Santa Monica Beach, a fine way to spend a few hours, especially if you like to people watch!
If like me that is something you enjoy it is fantastic. Nothing however, prepares you for when you have walked a couple of kilometres south and into Venice Beach! From old men walking on broken glass to a guy in an incredible headdress playing a guitar whilst wearing rollerblades to a dog in sunglasses, this is a quite incredible place.
If it didn’t make you smile then there is something wrong with you…….and that is a perfect way to sum up what has been yet another magnificent pre-season tour.
My flight back to London is today, an opportunity to reflect on everything and hopefully get some sleep before the inevitable jetlag kicks in.
No time to dwell though as the ‘tour’ starts its European leg with the trip to Norway’s west coast and the city of Stavanger.
California, I thank you. It has been awesome.
Over land and sea.