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English Football Fan Journal: Post Match Observations from Wembley

Wembley England v Montenegro Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G 12/10/2010 Milan Jovanovic (Montenegro)  handles ball in penalty area but no penalty given Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

It wasn’t the result I broke the bank and traveled across the Atlantic Ocean for, but Tuesday’s 0-0 between England and Montenegro was the experience I so desired as months of planning and patience finally paid off. Beautiful Wembley stadium, the tube to Wembley Park station, a cool October evening, and enough English journalists to make your head spin were all at the forefront of my senses as the afternoon curtsied to the night.

Having arrived early enough to secure my press credentials, find a seat in the lounge for a quick coffee and breeze past Henry Winter, Patrick Barclay and Martin Samuel, I soon found myself in the wrong seat in the media section just moments before kickoff. While relocating left, the Guardian’s Kevin McCarra was hard at work in my row which also housed quite a few Montenegrin journalists.

As the last few seconds of God Save the Queen echoed through the stadium, I soon felt an overwhelming sense of pride, not as an Englishman, but as a football fan. Yes, my loyalties lie with the Three Lions, but it was the grand idea that for those few special moments, I was simply a part of something bigger, something new in my often times menial 9-5. I had arrived somewhere, this was the moment I had wished for during all those Monday morning sales meetings. In a way I was experiencing my calling, or at least my passion.

The first half progressed as England dominated large spells of the match. In particular, I thought both of England’s wingers, Ashley Young on the left and Adam Johnson on the right enjoyed some decent play while England failed to be sharp or effective in front of goal. Peter Crouch didn’t impress, Wayne Rooney is still searching for his best form and Steven Gerrard was far too reserved while England’s central defensive pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Joleon Lescott were largely untested.

Still, Montenegro kept their shape throughout and defended well. They only troubled England minimally on the break but did enough to earn a tough point and stay top of Group G. Milan Jovanovic’s brilliant volley late on could have secured all three points and a commanding lead in the table for the visitors but Joe Hart’s crossbar saved the blushes for England.

As much as I would have loved to witness a meaningful England victory, the experience of shaking hands with Patrick Barclay on behalf of Laurence McKenna and the VIP treatment placed me on cloud nine long enough for the draw to take a back seat. Tuesday’s outing will become a cherished memory in the grand scheme of my life while it will always be remembered as my first live experience of English football after so many years watching from the States.

While the international break gives way to club football, the Chula train begins to make its way to Manchester for the weekend. More sights, more football and more stories are sure to emerge as the North West awaits. As always, stay close to EPL Talk for developments as they unfold.

Special thanks to The Gaffer and certain members of The FA for making my attendance possible.

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  1. IanCransonsKnees

    October 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I apologise if that’s the way it came across it was by no means a dig at the article. Perhaps it would have been better put that hopefully, in my opinion, Jesse will experience better atmospheres at the club matches that he attends.

    The fact that the dreadful England band is still going all these years later is testament to how bad it is.

  2. IanCransonsKnees

    October 13, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I hope you don’t wet yourself if you get to Spurs Jesse. I find the England atmosphere very sterile and artificial . Out of all the teams I’ve seen Stoke play since being in the Premier League White Hat Lane has had the best away atmosphere so far.

    • kt

      October 13, 2010 at 11:35 am

      I also find the atmosphere at Wembley very sterile and artificial. But I wouldn’t piss on someone elses enthusiasm, that’s the difference between us.

  3. Patrick

    October 13, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Kevin, I am also a red blooded American, but I too will freely admit that the first time I saw England play, in the swamps of New Jersey, I too felt the rush of adrenaline when the England supported belted out God Save the Queen. There is a level of passion and determination of that energy that is rarely matched in sport. And that was with only 15,000 traveling supporters. So Jesse I get it, and sounds like an amazing time. Jesse before you leave London, be sure to get eels with the whiskey. Truly disgusting but truly a must do…

    • Kevin

      October 13, 2010 at 7:54 am

      Except England supporters are largely indifferent and there are many anthems better than God Save the Queen. If you were stirred that way…imagine if you were in a crowd of a country that is truly passionate about their national side.

      • patrick

        October 13, 2010 at 10:12 am

        Have you ever seen England play??? The band, the chanting, the song…

        I’m married to an English girl have been around the culture for quite awhile, and the last thing I’d say of England fans is indifferent. They may be lamenting the WC and licking wounds, but England is clearly one of the most passionate fan bases in the world… end of.

        • kt

          October 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

          One of our bitter Celtic friends I’d guess. Although the majority of England fans would like to do that band a mischief.

  4. Kevin

    October 13, 2010 at 4:26 am

    You’re aware that you’re American, right?

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