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Posts Tagged ‘Wembley’

England vs Slovenia Euro 2016 Qualifier 15/11/2014

November 16, 2014 Leave a comment

England went into this game clear leaders in this group with their opponents sitting in second place. A 3-1 win at Wembley extended the group lead to an almost unassailable 6 points, with England now 4-4 in  qualification games. With that all said, England are still not operating at the top table of International Football, and and times were frustrated by a far weaker team.

Today was Rooney’s day. He was playing in his 100th game and was presented with a golden cap from Sir Bobby Charlton. This may of been through gritted teeth as I have covered on my last England visit.

England set up with some new blood at full back with Nathaniel Clyne and Kieron Gibbs, coming in for the established, Leighton Bains and Glenn Johnson. This offered some pace on the edges of the field, which was going to be needed with the pedestrian midfield of Wilshere, Henderson and Lallana playing out of position. I am getting fed up with moaning about Wilshere and how he is not a holding midfielder, but there he was again. Henderson can play that position and does every week, but he is pushed up the pitch at England level, and plays alongside his team mate Lallana. I say team mate, the guy hardly ever plays for Liverpool, and also should not currently be an England player. If you want two holders and a traditional midfielder to play off Sterling, how about Henderson, Noble and Wilshere (further forward).

This poor line up (positionally) meant England had no shots on target in the first half. Every ball forward went to Rooney, who was doing his damnest to score, at the expense of Sterling and Wellbeck. Shocking first half. The playing style was typified by a Jordan Henderson OG admittedly against the run of play in the second half. This seemed to spark England, with the reply almost instant, as Rooney got in the box and won a penalty. Personally I don’t think he was touched at all, and I had a great view. Rooney stepped up to get another goal for his tally, and England really pushed on from there. All of a sudden, the team realised Wellbeck was playing and in his usual lackadaisical style he added another 2 goals to his tally, with Sterling interchanging well with the Arsenal striker. If he keeps getting these goals, I think Rooney’s stint at the top of the scoring charts may be shorter than Sir Bobby Charlton!

Yesterday, my companions for games were the Aldershot duo of Ian and Albert. This was young Albert’s first visit to Wembley and being used to 1.5k at the Rec meant that nearly 90k in attendance was pretty awesome. I’m sure he had a great day out, and hopefully will see better performances in the future.

My MOTM was Wellbeck, and whoever voted for Wilshere, as was announced at Wembley, needs to take a long look at themselves.

One last thing, as regular readers will know. I am a recent convert to NFL, BUT the state of the pitch was shocking yesterday, covered in wrong coloured strips of grass, and the remnants of the gridiron pitch layouts and lettering. Just behind the goal was COWBOYS, and the yardage lines all up the left wing. This is our national stadium and our national game. This needs to be sorted. I’m sure it’s not to hard to use overlays for the non playing surfaces. The stud marks all up the middle didn’t look too great either, but didn’t seem to effect the roll of the ball. Click on the photos to see what I mean.

Enjoy the pics (taken with a recently acquired low end Canon DSLR).

England vs San Marino – 09/10/2014 Euro 2016 Qualifier

October 10, 2014 2 comments

Not a lot to report here if I’m honest. England played the eternal minnows last night, and I was fortunate enough(!) to get a box invite, so I got myself along to Wembley to watch. First things first. England won 5-0, Joe Hart could of sat next to me, and the score would of been the same. I should know better as I went last time as well.

As I was finding my way around the corporate hospitality level of Wembley I bumped into Adrian Chiles. For those who don’t know he hosts the England games on TV on ITV. Seemed like a nice fella, and gave me the tip of 2-1 England, last minute scrappy winner. So obviously, his ill fated sojourn to breakfast telly hasn’t dulled his sense of humour. We also had a chat about West Ham, and he was enjoying it so much he missed his studio door, and wandered off with me, as he was being chased down the corridor by some TV types. If I tell you that this was the highlight of the evening, then you can guess why I’m not reporting too much on the game !

Anyway, what did we learn? Jack Wilshere. I will be honest and say , that I didn’t realise he was actually playing until about 70 mins, he was that anonymous. Whether it’s the system or him I don’t know, but he needs to be moved out of the England set up until he can prove he can operate at this level. Anyone can have the odd flash of brilliance, but to be an international you should be at that level all the time. Chambers and Gibbs kept a clean sheet, but hopefully with England way ahead in the group now, they will get a chance against Estonia / Slovenia, to see if the can compete against better international sides.

My last point is Wayne Rooney. Another win for the captain, and another goal, and maybe if England hadn’t fannied around with the ball so much, he could of got more, BUT. This puts him 7 short of all time record scorer Bobby Charlton. Maybe I’m just being just an old man, but it should be taken into consideration that Charlton was scoring in top level internationals, and not games against Italian postmen. Maybe we should initiate a FIFA style ranking system for the worth of a goal, and I’m sure Sir Robert C would be way out there with Jimmy Greaves, and everyone else way behind.

San Marino keeper with the ball. He actually made more passes than anyone else in his team !

San Marino keeper with the ball. He actually made more passes than anyone else in his team !

Rainy night in Wembley (obligatory arch picture)

Rainy night in Wembley (obligatory arch picture)

Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders NFL 28/09/2014

September 29, 2014 11 comments

Time for a new sport, not unhappy with the old one (s) , just fancied seeing something different. We managed to pick up tickets for the NFL International Series at Wembley. This was useful, as I’d wanted to try an NFL game, but didn’t want to waste a days holiday if it was rubbish.

A couple of train tickets and less than an hour later we are in Wembley, and we are at the home of Real Football ™ to watch a different kind of football.

The place was rammed, unlike a football game, there were people there from 11am for a 6pm kick off (punt off?). Anyway, it was busy as you like and full of fanzones and food trucks, and people and cheerleaders, and people (did I mention the amount of people ?). And lots of fancy dress.

Now I struggle to watch a sport of if don’t have someone to cheer for, but I don’t have a team, so i needed one quick. I had decided during the week, that if the Raiders were good enough for Public Enemy and NWA back in the day, then its good enough for me. So, a quick trip to the merch area to kit out and we are good to go.

The main fanpark shut early, so we wandered into the stadium, to see whats going on. First thing was, because it wasn’t a real football game, you could get a beer without too much hassle, and everyone seemed genuinely happy to be there. Odd I know, but hey sports fans, thats how it happens over “there”. This was an hour before kick off and the teams come out to warm up to boos and cheers, and the Cheerleaders were in full flow. And you can take beer to your seat. WIN

Then I noticed some trucks being wheeled on while the warm up is on. ??? Turns out it is a stage, so that Def Leppard (yep?) can knock out 4 hits in what is known as pre-game “entertainment”. As has been mentioned elsewhere, Motorhead would of been better, but it passed the time.

Then we get national anthems? WTF? For an international yes, not for what is a league game in all but location. Anyway, we finish spangling banners and saving queens, and then the main event begins. And do you know what? I enjoyed it, especially as the Raiders scored from the get go. RAAAAAAIIIIIIIDERRRRRSSSSSS.

At this stage, I have a new team, they are good, they are not West Ham, they are not the Knicks, they are not England (or Scotland), they are not even Ebbsfleet, they are winners. Needless to say, they then went backwards at a rate that stunned I think even seasoned watchers of the game. They were 24 – 7 down at half time, and 38 – 7 down at the end of the 3rd.

I don’t think they made 20 yrds in any of their possessions. McFadden tries to carry the team on his own, and struggles. Carr, the young Raiders QB, was woeful with his passing, and his replacement McGloin wasn’t up to much either after fumbling a snap, and giving the ball away for the 4th Miami Touchdown.

The 2 minute warning goes and its time to leave, safe in the knowledge I have picked yet again another team with great support, and some good years ahead, interspersed with some shockers.

The Wembley tubes home were as disorganised as usual, just to remind us that we were in London NW, not Oakland CA.

Would I go again, yes, but only to see the Raiders, I really cannot handle non partisan sport.

Enjoy the photos:

 

England vs Ireland 29/5/2013

May 30, 2013 Leave a comment

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ENG – ROI

The season ended 2 weeks ago, since then we have had 3 Play Off finals and a Champions League final at Wembley. Last night hosted the last game of the season at FA HQ, a friendly for England against Ireland. Interestingly enough, i was present at the last time England played Ireland at Wembley 22 years ago ! Doubly interesting, apparently i pushed past Louis from One Direction as we made our way up to our concourse.

Roy picked a strong enough team, led out by our current petulant footballer of the month, Mr Ashley Cole, celebrating his first home game since he broke the 100 cap barrier. No Stevie in the middle, replaced by Carrick and Sturridge came in for the benched Wellbeck.

The atmosphere was several times better than usual, as the FA relaxed their ticketing policy and allowed 26,000 of Irelands finest in the see the game. This makes a game feel like a real game and should be applauded. Apparently the same will be done for the Scotland game later in the year. This is great news but should be tempered against the possibility of trouble, more of that later.

Ireland went for it from the beginning, and England tried to contain , with Rooney busting himself but getting little support. The Irish support smelt blood and willed their team on with louder and louder choruses of the Fields of Athenry. They were rewarded after 13 minutes when Shane Long beat both central defenders to the jump and dropped the header into the far corner beating Joe Hart all up. As part of the jubilation, this happened.

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Flares are back in fashion.

I can imagine if it had come from the home stand, the press would have a different take on the “exuberance”. Anyway, England woke up and started to support the front 2, and payed that off when 10 minutes later Sturridge made a great run and pass that ended with Lampard getting his 29th England goal. Can Frank get another 20, in the 3/4 years he has left. Why not ?

At half time as these things do, it all goes wrong. 3 subs for England (4 if you include Sturridge limping off after the equalizer). Fair play to Trappatoni, who made a sub every 10 minutes just to annoy everyone. Crap 2nd half. So 1-1, same as it ever is with ENG-ROI.

Nobody learned anything tonight, and neither will they in Brazil. Absolute waste of time.

Having met superstars on the way there, life was slightly different on the way back. First off, i met West Ham Glen on Wembley way. WHG is a mate of mine but more importantly Aussie John who I have covered around these parts previously. I asked him where John was (they are massive England buddies). He has no idea as AJ had left some time before.

Anyway, i get on the tube. As usual, its packed and we head off to Kings X. 10 minutes in I get a slap around the head. I spin around and am met with a giggling Aussie John. We also met someone I knew on the Fast Track back to Kent.

One Direction bloke 1

MrBen09 3

And that ladies and gents, was the better game tonight.

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Well held Sir

On a more serious note before i leave, myself and John were discussing how many away fans were in with the home crowd. Now this shouldn’t be an issue, but sadly it is. I saw no problems, but John saw a few in his area. On his way out he bumped into a senior England FA security bod. When asked what they were doing about it, he said and i quote “nothing to do with me !” What sort of answer is that ? Its everything to do with you, and that sort of behaviour will come to bite them on the arse when Scotland roll into town. I hope I’m wrong but experience tells otherwise. But hey, why work when you can blame everyone else.