Starving of thurst in the middle of London

By Walter Broeckx

As I wrote in my article that you might have read a few days ago if you have been able to enter the site as it has been going on and off line at an amazing rhythm…. Even I don’t know when I will be able to read something, and as for when this will appear… ah here it is…

Very frustrating. As are some of the things about Wembley.  More on that later on in this article.

But as usual the trip started in the surroundings of Antwerp. And it was a smooth ride that took us to Calais and we had no delay for the shuttle train. And the trip to the O2 arena was also the smoothest ride you can imagine. So that all went rather well.

But on arriving at the O2 arena I noticed I had forgotten my scarf.  I suddenly felt naked. Not that I was but it was part of my lucky dress code in my previous visits.

So I take all the blame for forgetting my scarf at home and so messing up with the usual easy winning streak for each game I have been to this season.   Sorry guys but you can be sure I will not make the same mistake again.

Arriving a few hours before kickoff is nice. Sitting in an almost empty carriage made you wonder if the game wasn’t postponed for some odd reason. But when walking out the underground station we noticed that if that were the case I surely wasn’t the only one who didn’t know it.

I think some 15 years ago I visited the old Wembley stadium. And I must say that the surroundings now have changed a lot. Lots of new shops and the walk up to the stadium is very impressive.

The first thing to check at a new stadium is to check where you have to enter. And as by some coincidence it was the same gate as Tony and Drew were taking. Then it was time to grab us something to eat. A sandwich bar with a view of Wembley in the shopping mall was what we chose.

A nice sandwich with chicken, bacon and some salad going with a cappuccino was ordered and it wasn’t that bad. Some £6 was what I had to pay. And it filled the stomach enough to continue the journey around Wembley.

Next important thing happening was apart from some calls with Tony and text messages from Drew to keep in touch on where they were and where we were hanging around.

But then suddenly you could hear a bit noise coming out a street where the Hilton hotel was situated. Was Paris there and was she attracting all that noise? When we checked we saw a big bus standing in front of the hotel surrounded with Gooners.

And yes this was the bus that took the Arsenal players from the Hilton hotel and drove them up to the stadium. They could have walked it within 5 minutes but they drove to the stadium. Every player and manager was given a big round of applause and their name were sang. I couldn’t see or recognise anyone as I was too small and too far back. But our BFG was very popular. Probably as he was the one that could be seen by all. Cazorla wasn’t seen apart from the ones in the front two rows.

When Ian and his kids, Tony and Drew arrived we could enter the stadium and go up with the escalators to our place.  It was a nice seat I had sitting just over the goal line where the penalties would be taken.

As for the match, I covered that in another article. Let us now go further with the Wembley experience.

The view from my seat was fine. No complaints about that. I noticed a lot (over 8000 in fact) empty seats in the Wigan end. I’m sure they could have sold them to Arsenal supporters. Next time they should make a better division of the stadium so that all tickets can be sold. I did notice that the Hull supporters also couldn’t sell their part of the ground on Sunday so let us hope that the FA does the right thing for the final and makes sure that every possible seat is being sold. Or made available for Arsenal supporters who wants to go. Like me and myself.

What more can you say about Wembley? The toilets are okay.  You can go to the toilet even at half time.

Now I know that Tony has a bit of a problem with the catering at the Emirates. About not being able to get a cappuccino at half time. Or before or after the match. As my throat was like sandpaper after 45 minutes from the singing and shouting I wanted to get me something to drink.

The concourse behind the seats is first of all too small for the people who are there. But after some wrestling I managed to get in the queue to have something to drink. I have stood there waiting for 10 minutes and found myself still on the same spot. That surely must have been the slowest service on the planet that could be found there at Wembley.

When the teams were back out on the field I think some 2 people had received whatever they ordered. And still some 10 people in front of me. So as I travelled all the way to see football and not to be standing in a queue I decided to keep my money in my pocket and go back to my place in the stands.  With a throat like sandpaper.

I cannot understand that it can take so much time to give people something to drink. And the problem is that you are not allowed to bring in your own beverages so this is really a case of bad organisation.  If I ever get the luck to find a ticket for the final I probably will try to smuggle some drink in myself.

But apart from having nothing to drink for the whole 2,5 hours that the match took the experience was not that bad. But that will have had something to do with the final result.

But having build such a big stadium and then not be able to allow people to have a drink is something I cannot understand.

9 Replies to “Starving of thurst in the middle of London”

  1. Walter
    As a Belgian you are probably an expert on fine beers, and while we in Britain brew some of the greatest ales on the planet we also make all of the worst lagers, most of which are sold at Wembley. You did well to keep your money in your pocket.

  2. Walter,
    One of your most enjoyable posts. We all know how the match went but have little idea of the trials and tribulations facing those who attend a Wembley fixture… the flesh, so to speak. Especially coming all the way from La Petite Belgique.
    I don’t know the answer to the lubrication problem, except to suggest that next month you bring a soft drink or two in an inside pocket of a large overcoat (and hope it’s not one of our warm days!).
    In any event, if Arsenal supporters buy up all the unused Hull City tickets, you will certainly need something to ease your vocal cords.

  3. Walter – please remove the ‘If’ from you being able to get the tickets for the final. You ought to be there and this time definitely with the scarf 🙂

    (P.S. – Shouldn’t it be ‘thirst’ rather than thrust in the title but then you can’t starve of thirst…it all evens out in the end…maybe!)

  4. You can take drink into the stadium. It has to be in a plastic bottle and the top will be removed on entry and disposed off in a bin. So take an extra bottle top in your pocket and use it after you get to your seat :-).

    It is the norm for FA cup tickets to be shared amongst the ‘old boys club’. This is in addition to the huge amounts of money made by their favourites getting to the top. Unfortunately their favourites are struggling so they have to put up with Hull & Arsenal.

  5. Asif,
    you are right.
    My mistake…you see what it does to you when a person doesn’t drink enough…

  6. @Walter
    I have experienced the upper tier of Wembley for a U2 concert. As you say, the service was appalling. On Saturday though I was in the lower tier. That was a much better experience. I was pleasantly surprised.

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