I was swearing my head off, standing up, throwing my arms in front of me. A red face peeked out into the bitter cold and screaming,
‘What are you doing, Gunners?! You just let them walk it in!’
I remained standing when everyone sat down in the glorious Emirates Stadium in London, watching the deal breaking premiership football game between Arsenal and Swansea City.
I breathed out, seeing my breath in smoke, as I realised there and then that I lost my £2 bet for Arsenal to win 2:1. Swansea had equalised in the first half and now in the second half, Swansea had scored again! I ripped up my betting slip there and then and sat down with the grumpy face much to the amusement of others around me.
The rest of the game saw Arsenal try hard, the ball bouncing off the goalposts and collective waves of emotion that any empathic person would feel overwhelmed by.
Now, I tell you a secret. I don’t actually follow football. Shock, gasp and horror! I don’t know what’s happening in the league and thanks to my gloating friends on Facebook these days, I knew Leicester City was angling to be at the top of the Premier League. But tonight, I knew enough thanks to the Emirates Stadium staff.
Thanks to Destination NSW (New South Wales), they kindly invited me to attend their mini travel trade show in the VIP box at clock end of the Emirates stadium in North London before the game.
Taking a Great Northern Train from Old Street, where I work, to Drayton Park, (four stops north, eight minutes), I then walked over the bridge with the full view of the Emirates Stadium.
It suddenly dawned on me. This would be the very first premiership game that I would see live and it would be here, a stadium I wondered to visit every time I rushed past it on the Virgin East Coast train on my way to London Kings Cross.
It was just about to get dark and the lights of the Emirates Stadium soon glittered in its finest glory. I often wondered why football fans talk about ‘the beautiful game,’ now I know why.
I soon found the box entrance, given my swish new deluxe ticket, scanned in and taken swiftly to my VIP box where an evening of goodies awaited.
I gasped as the door opened, never mind the box itself, I was totally astonished by the view of the pitch! We had a fantastic vantage point being situated behind the net at one of the pitch, high above so you could see all the game on the pitch of Emirates Stadium in all of its entirety.
But the game didn’t start for another hour. Time to take a few pictures and see what the VIP box brings.
Thrusted in my face, a glass of red wine from the Hunter Valley in Australia was presented to me by a smiling red dressed hostess who then asked further what I needed. She took my coat, hanged it up and also carefully placed my bag inside the locker. She mentioned there was free wifi too.
Food arrived too, steaming dishes of lobsters, burgers and winter vegetables, ready to warm us up before we stepped out into the bitter cold air in the stadium.
Now, kick off was upon us. Clearing away our plates, we were given smart glass cups with quaint handles. You had a choice of either coffee or hot chocolate. Perfect drinking for the electric match ahead.
The game really went by as a blur. You were supporting either side, screaming at the referee along with the many thousands red faced supporters, our voice as one, echoing off the roof of the Emirates Stadium.
Half time, we had another round of drinks and it was back out onto our box seats with the perfect view of this premiership game.
The match finished with Arsenal losing 1:2 to Swansea. But that didn’t kill the mood as we carried on having drinks back in our box to toast a true premiership championship game, the first of what could be many of me.
The best thing for me? Now, I can join in the male banter around the water cooler at work the next day and totally understand what football news they are talking about. Those who know a certain comedy programme in the UK, I can take a quote from there when the characters were attempting to become real men:
‘Did you see that ludicrous display last night?!’