Another guest piece, this one’s from FCB fan Brendan (follow on Twitter) who wants to share the story of his first ever stadium visit which wasn’t that long ago, at all. If you want to write about a personal Bayern-related story or a favorite match or player, just contact me. Enjoy.
My First Football Match: A Cornishman’s Trip to Manchester (from York) to See German Boys play “Mancunian” Men
It was a cold and wet Wednesday afternoon in December when I and one of my best friends left our student house destined for a special occasion for me, yet a regular one for him. We were going to cross the Pennines from York to watch his club, Manchester City host one of their biggest competitive games; they were playing my club Bayern Munich.
The game itself wasn’t all that special. Bayern played reserves and youngsters while City played a team with enough big names to make any club in the world think twice before writing them off. However this was special for me because it would be the first time I would get to watch a live football match. Previously I had only ever seen Barcelona play at the New Camp; unfortunately this Barcelona is a hamlet of 3 houses, near my home in Cornwall, and the New Camp is a field with 2 goal posts in it and cows next door (I’m genuinely not joking here, this place exists)…hardly a spectacle.
We caught the train at 3pm with the intention of killing some time in Manchester and then grabbing some pub grub and a few pints before heading up to the Etihad. However the infamous British Public Transport lived up to its notoriety and our train broke down 5 times in 30 miles, needing a tow to make it into Manchester over an hour late. That said on the way into Manchester Piccadilly you can see the stadium, and with it being a night match it was all light up, although nowhere near to the same extent as the Allianz as it just had a few spot lights. Feeling aggravated and slightly rushed we caught a taxi up to the stadium. What was my first impression of being this close to it? Overwhelming awe. The size and the number of people in what was really quite a small place astounded me.
Then we noticed a “typically city” touch a huge sign over the main entrance simply saying “Willkommen”. It was then I knew that there would be no trouble tonight. Unlike Bayern’s rivalry with Manchester United, City seemed to welcome the Germans with open arms, humbled by the very fact that they were there. As expected there was no trouble that night, in fact the Mancs laughed at seeing people at their home in lederhosen while it was raining.
Time crept up on us and we grabbed an overpriced cheese burger to go with a couple of overpriced beers in City Square. We soon headed up to the stand, entering through gates airport security would be proud of, and made our way up 3 tiers of spiral ramps. Finally our favourite, @Redrobbery, had posted the line ups on twitter and I knew it was not going to be a successful night for the men from Munich. Although this had not come as a surprise given that Bayern already secured top spot in the group and on an unrelated note apparently half our main team had come down with “flu”. Alas it was fun to see how Heynckes would experiment, and to get a glimpse of our future.
If you’re reading this you probably already know everything about the match itself. Silva scored, it was disallowed, Silva scored, I got involved in the Poznan, Yaya scored, more Poznan. Usami came on and left Clichy standing to give a glimpse of a promising future. The one thing that did surprise me was just how well you could see from the 3rd tier, I always knew who was on the ball and I didn’t feel that high up. However if I looked across at the opposite stand I was a ‘hella’ long way up. There was a warm and inviting albeit certainly weird atmosphere inside. At half time Napoli were drawing, City were winning and United were losing, but over the next 45 minutes that changed. The Italians scored and the Bayern fans started chanting Napoli’s name. Having lived with City fans for the past 3 years of my life I have somewhat become a city fan and it did upset me a little to see them leave the competition. It was this that made it feel strange, none of the home fans knew whether to be happy that they just beat Bayern Munich, sad that they were out, or happy because so were united. Despite being out I think most fans had already accepted this a week ago, and so were overall happy to have beaten the team regarded as the best of the rest of Europe.
Seemingly in a blink of an eye the match was over and 47,002 football fans were outside making their way back to wherever they came from. For me and my mate that meant an overpacked train for a 90 minute journey back to York.
Upon reflection I travelled for 4 hours to buy overpriced (but not bad) food and beer, sit 3 tiers up, freezing while watching my mate’s first team comprehensively beat my teams reserves. Did I enjoy my time? Would I do it again? Hell yes.