The whole reason I ended up taking a trip to Europe this summer was to see a Premier League Match, specifically Manchester City. After spending a day in London it was time to take the train to Manchester. Looking forward to seeing my favorite football club play and to see what a real football atmosphere is like.
At the time of writing this post, GBP 1 = USD 1.33
Day 1 – Manchester City Match 05.13.2017
Early in the morning, we were making our way up to Manchester to see City take on the reigning champions Leicester City. We took the train across the country and it was beautiful. A note on the train, apparently they don’t sell out first class so for £20 (they take credit cards) you can upgrade to first class, at least on Virgin they do. Well worth it, free wi-fi, sandwiches, and tea/coffee. Plus bigger seats with nice tables and charging ports and significantly quieter. The tickets were £80 round trip and I’m sure I got ripped off making the purchases in the US, instead use a VPN.
During the train ride, we saw the beautiful countryside in England. It’s amazing to take all that in and think such a small country (landmass) has such a beautiful unpopulated landscape in between two major cities. Once arrived, we met my dad there, who just happen to be in Manchester for work at the exact time we were traveling there. The outside of the Etihad is nice, a huge plaza to walk around and be with other supporters and of course a huge fan shop.
One thing that was unique to me, is during the match, you can’t bring any drinks from the concourse to the viewing area. So I had to choose to either get drunk and miss the match or watch a football match without beer. The fan base in the UK is so different from the US, most people are not on their phones, on social media, having side conversations, etc. they’re there to watch their team perform. And one thing that stood out to me, I was with my grandmother in the family section and a dad jumps up and yells $#@! Off Ref, you @^&#. And then, a 12-year-old kid yells back Yeah ya @^&#. I was shocked.
Another unique feature was that away fans have their section, which I’ve seen on TV many times. However, I did not realize that they had their gated entrance and the concourse was blocked from the ground to the ceiling to stop any potential fights, let alone the police separate the away fans and the home fans up and down the staircase.
City won the match and I got to see Gabriel Jesus score a penalty (video above), about 20 meters from my seat, which was an amazing experience. After the match, we went to the Piccadilly Gardens, which is where all of the fans go after the match, had a nice lunch at Byron, and headed back to London for our last night.
Check out the rest of my time in London.
Have you ever been to a football match abroad? What did you experience, tell me in the comments below.