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Non-League Football

Ebbsfleet United 1 Torquay United 0 and my big day out at Wembley

Regular readers (!) will probably know that I tend to err ever so slightly on the side of caution when attending football matches, so it should come as no surprise to hear that we set off for Wembley – approximately a one hour drive away – at 11am for the 2:30pm kick-off (much to the disgust of my friend and designated driver, James), arriving at the stadium shortly after 12.

For anyone who hasn’t been to Wembley before and who like me, hasn’t bothered looking into the parking arrangements before, when you’re driving towards the stadium there are quite a few places advertising parking for £10. We laughed at those places, saying there was no way we were going to pay a tenner to leave James’ pride and joy on some manky-looking industrial estate.

So how much did we have to pay at the official Wembley Stadium “green” car park? £25. Twenty five sodding quid. Next time it’s the industrial estate all the way.

As we drove around the car park we comforted ourselves with the knowledge that we had almost certainly paid to park his Mini Cooper S in the coach park as there were no cars to be seen (a fantastic photo opportunity I’m sure you’d agree), but as we rounded the corner it turned out that no, we’d just paid £25 to park in a car park for a few hours.

Never mind. At least we were close.

My first impressions of the stadium itself were very, very good. I’d obviously driven pretty close to it over the last few years on countless visits to IKEA, but to see it up close for the first time was a pretty awesome sight.

Inside the ground hardly disappointed either. £8 for chicken and chips and a drink seemed a little on the steep side, but to be fair you actually got a fair amount of food and it was actually fit for human consumption so fair enough (still not up to the standard of Delia’s pasties though).

We were sat in block 132 (bottom left corner as you watch on TV) so the seats were pretty good. As is always the case there were a few “characters” sat around us. The ones that stand out most of all was a guy with a beard from Nottingham behind who only seemed to be able to say the words “get into them”, and another chap behind (again with a beard) who could only say “heeeeeyyyyyyy!” – Proof if it were needed that you can take a nerd to Wembley, but you can’t make him sing.

It was a good game. The Fleet started slowly but came more into the game as first half went on and it was no real surprise when the goal went in – perfect timing considering the missed penalty moments before.

I saw quite a few obvious fellow “MyFC” members (including the “heeeeeyyyyyyy!” man), but I didn’t really get much of an opportunity to chat. Everyone seemed friendly enough though.

Overall it was a pretty damn good day out. The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was always the best stadium I had ever been to, but I think I have a new favourite. I just can’t wait to go there watching the Canaries…

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