How I broke my European football weekend cherry

We all remember our first time don’t we?  We all look back now with fondness on that first time, the thrill of seeing it all for the first time after years of just looking at pictures in magazines, or dare I say it on the internet.  Those mistakes we made, the feeling of when things appeared to be going well but really we were doing it all wrong and doing it with someone who had never done it before as well.  Losing our cherry together….Still with me?  Want me to share my first time?  OK then, here goes.

We are talking European football right?  There will be no confessions of any other sort here thank you very much.  It would be unfair to talk about THAT first time in such a public way, especially as she is now a Hollywood star (that’s got you thinking hasn’t it!).  I know some of you are still virgins in not having watched a game abroad, wondering from afar how you can do it.  But I hope on these pages, and those of Danny Last’s European Football Weekends and Huddo Hudson’s Gannin’ Away amongst others will have wetted your appetite.

For someone who has travelled so much it may surprise you to know that my first ever European match was in January 2000.  There had been a few near misses – weekends away where there was no football on, or it had been moved for TV purposes but this weekend was a birthday treat from CMF and specifically for watching a game.  The destination ? Milan.  The game? AC Milan versus Lecce.

The internet wasn’t as advanced as it was today – in fact the website of AC Milan eleven years ago had only just added English content.  There was no way of buying tickets online so it was with some trepidation that we flew to Milan on a very chilly Saturday morning.  Our plan was to find the AC Milan store, buy our tickets there thus giving us virtually all day Sunday to sight see.  Great plan, but not for the first time we were thwarted by the ridiculous beaurocracy of Italy.  When we eventually found the store we were told that I should have faxed (faxed???) my bank details to them in advance as they could not accept my foreign credit card.  They wouldn’t even tell me how many tickets were available, and that our only avenue was to get tickets from the ticket office at the ground. Continue reading