Friday, May 30, 2008

Erin go Bragh!

The Ireland-Colombia match at craven cottage last night provided a true international atmosphere. The atmosphere at the US-England match was more akin to that of an NBA game with the England fans only breaking into song at the prompts of a 20 man horn section behind the North goal. No wonder England suck these days: they have no passion in the stands. Who can blame them really with all the European success the English club teams are having? It seems like all the truly passionate English football fans are satiated and even a little jaded by their clubs' successes. Afterall, 1966 was many, many moons ago now. The comedy offered by the notion of England being a world power on the pitch rivals that of the comedy offered by hearing the English sing "Rule Brittainia.". Not sure what waves they're ruling today . . .

The Irish and the Colombians packed the cottage to the gills with the Colombians filling the entire Putney Bridge end. The Irish were decidedly the home side and occupied the Johnny Hayes stands, the Hammersmith end and the Riverside stands.

Meeting up with Alex, his cousin and Tom proved to be a bit of a challenge as AT&T failed to activate the roaming on my cell and none of them had a blackberry. We did manage to all find each other though just before the match kicked off. My stupid desire to eat a lamb pie caused me to miss the game's lone goal, but no matter, the atmosphere was what I was there for.

The game itself was dominated by the Colombians who forced several great saves from the Irish defence (note the British spelling - just call me Brad Friedel). Colombia were unlucky to get anything for their efforts, but hopefully this is a sign of a return to form of the once powerful South American side. I for one am all for that as the presence of beautiful Colombian women is always appreciated.

After the match we headed back towards Putney Bridge for some more curry. Love the indian food in London!

Headed to back to the US now. We have a pretty epic weekend planned for the US-Argentina friendly. Alex, the lucky bastard, is headed to Spain first though so hopefully he'll get to see Landon get his 100th cap.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beware the Steel Diesel!

On the tube ride from the airport to Wembley, I randomly ran into Amy from Detroit (you'll remember her from last summer) and her man, MakingNews. Turns out they were headed to the Green Man as well so they guided me up the hills around Wembley to the bed and pub.

The night before, several US fans played a group of English fans in a supporters match. The US prevailed 7-3! Congrats to all who took part in that thrashing.

There were about 300 fans at the Green Man. Beer was plentiful and they set up a burgers and sausage cookout for us. Best explained by the pictures to come, but I now understand why the English were so persnicketty about the sausage/bun setup in Germany. I met up with Alex and his cousin, rafael along with Chase and Dan from the SoCal brigade.

We made our way down to the stadium, which is nothing short of breathtaking, and actually made it in before they cut off the beer sales. You may remember my rant on this from the last trip to London. We engaged some cops with funny hats in conversation and they were shocked that so many yanks came over for the relatively meaningless match.

Our seats were prime - third row in the corner of the stadium. Randomly seated next to Amy from Detroit and MakingNews, which proved to be important later as she calmed me when a few idiot english who managed to get tickets in the away section got under my skin. These dolts were downright obnoxious and had no knowledge of the game. English fans feel the need to make themselves feel relevant and its comical.

At one point, one of them mentioned how I was going to get my ass kicked by he and his mate.
I laughed, turned around and stood up and proclaimed myself the "Steel Diesel". Clearly the beer I chugged at halftime did indeed contain alcohol.

Tensions calmed and we all had a good time despite the result. I'll admit that it was hard not to cheer when Stevie G put one in. After the game, we made our way back to the green man and then headed out for some late night curry.

I've been walking around a rainy london today in search of an ireland kit but have had no luck at all. I got to see the new liverpool and chelsea kits though and they look fantastic. Well, at least the liverpool one did. The chelsea kit looks like it will be a suitable fill-in if you ever run out of charmin extra soft.

Off to meet up with a friend before heading to the cottage!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

At least we have a 6 foot johnson

Here are the lineups:



Brown - rio - terry - cole

Beckham - fat frank - hargreaves - stevie g

Rooney - defoe




Dolo - gooch - bocanegra - pearce

Dempsey - rico - bradley - beasley

Johnson - wolff

Hmmmm . . . Donde esta donovan?
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JFK to London

Fittingly, I almost pulled a Mick and blew the entire trip by almost missing the flight. I neglected to review my itinerary before heading to the airport and actually arrived 2 hours early. What does a chap like myself do with 2 hours to kill? Beer, of course! Sitting at Shannon's bar in JFK's too busy Terminal 4, I met several other passengers on my Aer Lingus flight to Dublin. As departure time approached, we noticed that several patrons who had left for their flights were returning for more drinks.

We correctly concluded that our flight was delayed. What we did not correctly conclude was that we were out of earshot of the PA system announcing when we would actually board. The lot of us were pretty smashed when a gate agent stumbled upon us and asked if anyone was on the Aer Lingus flight. When she announced that they just made the final boarding call, we all simultaneously slammed our drinks and headed for the gate. Would have been high comedy if 20 people missed their flight because they were too busy boozing.

The picture I posted was the terrible exit row seat I was assigned. I requested the exit row for the legroom and ended up having less than a normal seat. Fortch, the seat next to me was open. Passed the flight by viewing the Istanbul classic from 2005. Easily the best game I've ever seen.

Shortly before landing, a woman travelling alone with her baby (prolly about 1 to 1.5 years) asked me if I'd hold him while she went to the bathroom. Being chivalrous, I obliged. Problem was that baby was sleeping when she gave him to me. She obviously had to deuce because while she was taking her sweet time in there, baby woke up and started playing with my face like a blind man. Pretty sure he called me "mama" which might have also been his first word since the only other things that came out of his mouth all flight were screams and a little barf.

Achieved the goal of drinking a guinness in Dublin. I one-chugged a pint on the way to my connection to London (which I also almost missed).

Headed to the Green Man now.

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Such a premium seat.

The T on the hat stands for toasted.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

London Redux

I'm about 3 hours from jetting over to London. This weekend is probably going to kill me. Despite the game being on a Wednesday, I am considering it the weekend because I am off for the rest of the week.

I arrive in London by way of Dublin tomorrow at noon (will have to find a pint of Guinness during the stopover). Then, I'm headed straight to the Green Man Pub and Hotel in Wembley. Not only am I staying there for the first night, but the US fans have decided to congregate there.

I'm planning on meeting up with my buddy Tom O'Brien, a lifelong Gooner who I met in Mexico City back in 2005, as well as Alex (who I also met in Mexico City but more recently of Basel fame) and one of his friends. After hopefully seeing the US deliver the Cabbage Man his first defeat at Wembley, we're all off to see Ireland take on Colombia at Craven Cottage on Thursday.

I then head back to NYC on Friday and have plans to immediately meet up with some buds for a booze train ride down to Baltimore for one of my buddy's bachelor parties.

Summer Tour '08 is a go!