This week has been all about football.
On Tuesday, Alex, Ralph & I travelled out to Sweden to see wee Norn Iron take on the Group F leaders in Stockholm. On our way we spent 3 hours or so in Gothenberg which as it transpired, was a lovely city. Small & compact, but genuinely a beautiful place & I think I’ll spend a bit more time there in the not too distant future. We caught the train across Sweden to Stockholm & as you’d expect everything ran to time. Why is it that Scandaniavia can do these things so effortlessly??
Stockholm, as it turned out, was pretty similar to Gothenberg in style, but much bigger, and because it’s based on islands, spread far & wide. That said, it wasn’t difficult to find the rest of the London NISC hallions and the party started. By the end of the first hour Alex & Ralph were well on with the NI singing education. With a busy day on the Wednesday lined up, we headed for our hostel, which was pretty decent all told.
On the Wednesday, we wandered out, got something to eat & collected our tickets from the team hotel after wandering about the old town a wee bit. Whilst there, we met several of the players and staff as well as picking up a free programme from Howard Wells. Ta muchly. After that, we met up with the old man & grabbed some dinner in a traditional Swedish steakhouse. Shortly after, Jonny turned up & we were quorum for the game. So with dinner in us, a quick jaunt back to the hostel to get gear & a bit of a rest before headed back to the Team Hotel.
We then headed to the stadium in Solna. The stadium holds about 33,000 and looks fairly old… probably a 50’s or 60’s job I’d hazard?? Anyways, it was full & the atmosphere was rocking. On the pitch, we played by far & away the best football & still somehow managed to concede a goal… that was the ref’s fault by the way… anyways, we weren’t to be denied & as the atmosphere cranked up in the second half we deservedly pulled level through Kyle Lafferty. And the Norn Iron fans went wild (as they say).
So with a morale boosting performance behind us, we were back on the underground to the team hotel to meet up with the team & celebrate… and we did so by tucking into the team buffet, served on by Nigel Worthington & Howard Wells. Quality.
And back to blighty on the Thursday, and work on Friday. And to yesterday were I headed down to see Fulham v Derby at Craven Cottage. Simply put, an awful game of football. Best forgotten I guess. Afterwards, Gemma Fermer was having her leaving party (in conjunction with the rugby world cup) so it was down to Wimbledon to say my fond fairwells to the lady. Gemsie is a wee star & whilst I hope she enjoys her time in Australia, I hope she comes back to say hello everynow & then.
And SA won the Rugby World Cup… no more to add.