Wednesday 2nd November 2016
When Dennis Bergkamp scored that goal at Newcastle we all looked at each other with the same thoughts. We were an awful long way from the goal but we knew he’d either capitalised on a defensive error or he’d done something very very special.
Only TV replays showed it in all its awesome glory. Back in our post match bar last night, Youtube helped all of us relive Mesut’s magic and like in the north east all those years ago, only then did it confirm what a moment of footballing mastery it was.
My head is thumping at the moment. No sympathy expected or required. I’ve been there before. But what a fine few days it has been.
Bulgaria is a country I have never visited and based on the hospitality we have been shown since we arrived in the early hours of Monday morning, I will be very happy if we get to return in the future.
We needed an on time flight home from Sunderland on Sunday and we got just that. And it was a good job we did too, the traffic on our journey up to Luton Airport being horrendous.
Our flight landed about 2am. And of course we weren’t gonna go out once we checked in to our city centre hotel. But, there was a 24 hour bar just round the corner. So what can you do?
So it was ‘misty’ Monday to say the least, a relatively short walking tour around the city doing its best to clear the head.
Halloween used to come and go almost unnoticed when I was a boy. We knew about ghosts, witches, pumpkins and all that malarkey but short of a TV ‘Rentaghost’ special there wasn’t much else that sticks in the memory.
These days it seems to be massive and in Sofia it was no different.
So again, what do you do?
We thoroughly got involved of course, including letting some bloke with a table full of make up loose on our faces. Both the bar we had almost made our own and a club called Terminal 1 had parties that we attended and enjoyed until the wee small hours.
So come matchday it had already been an extremely full on few days.
And of course, as a result we took it a bit ‘easy’.
The game was being played a long way from Razgrad so despite it being an away game for us it could also be considered one for our hosts.
But with the 2 odd thousand Gooners in good voice there was certainly only one team out there who settled well.
Being 2 goals behind had all of us scratching our heads but being so early in the game we also knew one goal would have us back in it.
Granit duly obliged and we poured forward and Olly’s header put ourselves back on level terms come the break.
To be honest I think we all felt we would go on an win the game in the second period. But that definitely wasn’t the way it panned out. If the first half was open and chance filled the second definitely wasn’t.
And then, with time running out Mo put Mesut through with a perfect pass and the chance to win it was there. His balance and skill to dink it over the keeper, leave 2 defenders off getting a coffee and slide it into the net was absolute class. And in front of us travelling Gooners too. Get in you beauty.
My flight has started it’s descent into Luton and I still have a thumping headache.
That’s your fault Mesut!
Over and out.