10 May 2012

Nayim from the half-way line

May 10th. Paris Day.  The seventeenth anniversary of the crappest day of my life.  My friend and I travel to Paris to watch the Cup Winners Cup final.

When you read the ingredients of a Pot Noodle you know it's going to be bad for you, but you eat it anyway....despite us being college age, football loving, British lads on the piss on European soil, French soil no less,  we genuinely thought this was going to end well.

My Dad told me not to go.  Pleaded actually.  He knew me better than I did.  He also knew the world better than I did.  I'll be fine I thought.  What could possibly go wrong? It's me. Of course I thought that, I was 19 and my actions as far as I was concerned, held no consequences.

So off we set on Tuesday, arrival in Paris about 8pm, and arrested and locked up, at about 2am.  Oops.  Don't you hate it when your parents are right?

As it happens, they lets us out the next day roughly an hour before kick-off.  But with a mix-up with our tickets..(we didn't have any), we found ourselves at the ground needing some fast thinking to get inside.

Fortunately the French have very little scruples and health and safety regulations to them are adhered to up to a point where they become inconvenient so we were able to offer one of the guys at the gate a few Francs to let us in.

Hooray.  It'll be OK now we thought.  The luck is going our way.  As it happened the luck was not going our way.  I did see Arsenal's goal.  It was our end too.  But I also saw their second goal as it was almost hit from our end.  Nayim, from the half way line.

Why did it have to be him? Ex-Tottenham player, from about 50 yards, the 119th minute.  All we had to do was make it to penalties.  David Seaman was the penalty saving king.  Disaster.  And when the final whistle went, and we were pepper sprayed and beaten (again) by the French Gendarmerie, and cajoled down endless cobble stoned Parisian streets in silence, in the dark, whiteout a hotel room to go, to be so far from England, I couldn't help but wonder was it all worth it.

Course it was.  Fucking brilliant.

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