Chelsea ECL Group Away Games by Flat Eric
We’re in the away scheme. As soon as the dates were released we were on the net for flights. But with the easyJet flight prices jumping 100-quid between accepting the prices and then completing the card details and pressing ‘pay’, we decided to boycott the Valencia flight on principle. We went in to Alicante. Early start on the day, but the flight was full of Chels’ on the morning. We met Dessie and his son et al on the bus to the aeroplane from the terminal. Alicante is just 150kn south of Valencia, so we hired a car up to Valencia. Pulled off motorway at Denia for brunch. Went in to one of the 3 English bars for a b/fast. Nice stop, and some footie chatting to the manc staff man. We weren’t in a rush as flight left LGW at 5.50 and we were clear by 9.30 Spain time.
Up in Valencia we are in a nice hotel. The Silken. We dumped the gear off and go to cathedral square. Steve gets on it, as does everyone else. I’m on sparkling water as am having a month off the sauce after the heavy summer. The day goes on and Steve is getting more and more p1ssed – as are everyone else. Great laugh, usual banter, songs, flags out, and some good food at the bar in the main square. The Iberico ham and paella dishes were wonderful. Back to hotel for shower and spruce up. Off to game.
Yes, the game. Was there a 1st half? It was concluded at the final whistle that Boas should be sacked. 😮 What the hell Kalou was doing coming on for Lamps, in the same position, Lord only knows. He didn’t know where to go, where to stand, or what to do. Malouda was still on the park and Anelka was up front by then. What was Kalou meant to do? Wrong choice. Kalou spent 5 mins looking lost and running everywhere the ball went, then did a great goalie impression to give the penalty away. 1-1. To add to the hurt, after that Anelka could have scored with a clean through one-on-one but missed it. Ramires had a one-on-one in the first half, too, and he missed that. Oh, and Torres was bundled over in the box but no pen given. A few decisions against us, but they had a couple of chances too. But we deserved the win, in my honest opinion. Valencia looked scared of us in the first half and gave us much respect. The longer the game went the more confident they got.
After the game we all get held in for the usual 30mins. Back to the cathedral square after the game. Everyone getting on it again. I bought some joke keyrings off the looky-looky man. Three animals that made noises. A frog, a duck & a chicken. The ‘cock-a-doodle-doooo’ from the chicken was funny, and I knew I’d use it for some laughs later on. Night drags on and I’m still on water. We were chatting with Barbara and Maria for hours, but at 3am I tell Steve I’m going back to crash out.
I get back to hotel at 3.30am and Steve is almost an hour behind. I couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t remember hotel so called me from the cab at 4.30am. Then when he arrived at the hotel he called asking what floor we are on, guessing the wrong one. He finally gets through the door and eventually manages to put keycard in door and then light slot. He crashes out. I can’t sleep and he starts snoring. Two hours kip maximum, I got. So I go down for breakfast at 9am. Few guys in there all wanting to shoot Kalou and sack Boas. Couple of guys from my local, too, who I always seem to bump in to on the away trips. I go back up to the room at 10.30 and Steve’s a bit quieter, but is still sleeping. Room is dark. A bit fed up at his snoring and his 4.30am gate-crash room arrival, I decide to give him the chicken wake up ‘cock-a-doodle-do in the face’. The cock-a-doodle-do is far louder than you’d expect, and in a quiet and dark room it is amplified and exaggerated. There’s a light on the chicken that lit his face up in the dark. Quite bright LED light. The look of fright-horror-panic-surprise-wherethefukkami will never be replicated. It was hilarious. I was crying with laughter. His face lit up in a pitch black room by my screaming chicken keyring. I was literally crying with laughter. I still am laughing now. Why didn’t I film it? The room was too dark, but the light on the front of the chicken would’ve helped. His look or horror at the interrogation light and screaming chicken will go down in folk law.
The flight from Alicante isn’t until 9pm. We check out dead on 12pm. He’s hung over. I won’t stop for a 2-litre bottle of sprite for him, saying we can pull off the motorway at Benidorm and get food and drink there. The afternoon in Benidorm seemed like a good idea. That was just 100km south, and 40 or 50km north of Alicante. Steve was struggling. I reminded him I wasn’t that hungry after breakfast, and that I’d drank two pots of tea and was fine. He was gasping and starving – needed some carbs. I was rubbing in more digs about shame him missing breakfast – what a shame – and only 50 miles to go, etc. It went on.
About 2/3rds of the way to Alicante on the way back from Valencia (we flew to Alicante and drove up to Valencia, in case u forgot) we pull off the motorway and stopped in Benidorm. It’s a 2 hour drive from Valencia to Alicante. Benidorm is about 60km north of Alicante, or 120km south of Valencia. So, with time to kill & hungry we pulled off motorway and in to Benidorm, much to Steve’s satisfaction. He was in dire need of full sugar Sprite and some high-carb breakfast/lunch. We walked around & I was on the phone talking to office back in London constantly. I wasn’t paying much attention as there were a few calls to catch up on. Steve is wandering and I’m behind chatting on phone. He finds what looks good for food and we went in to a cafe for some welcome grub.
After ordering food, two big village people tattooed gay guys came in wearing sleeveless denim waistcoats. I was waiting for them to start singing YMCA. Then we look across the cobbled street, only to see the ‘rainbow sign’ outside a bar opposite. We were sat in the gay quarter of Benidorm. Steve looked horrified – with his shaven head, too – he looked like he fitted in. I was frightened to go for a pee incase I was followed. The bigger guy with the moustache eyes lit up when he saw Steve’s English breakfast sausage, I’m sure. Quickest I’ve ever eaten a breakfast. I kept winding Steve up, saying that we’ll probably get followed – the car may be clamped – or towed away from the yellow line – and we may need to stay there – I bet they have hostels here – are the village people following us, etc. It was hilarious. There were rainbow symbols outside most of the bars. The whole trip was brilliant.