Memories of Munich.
One must spare a thought for Graham Seymour. A regular at European away games, Graham is always good for some sort of drama. The last two games have been no exception.
I know this is supposed to be about Munich, but I’ll start with Barca feedback as it sets the picture for Munich.
At Barca everyone was in the Princess Sophia Hotel, just up from the Nou Camp. It was a decent session on the day of the game for everyone, with many down at La Rambla during the day, then back to the hotel before the game for a few more at the bar. Everyone was 3-parts gone, including Graham. Well, Graham was probably 3 ½ parts gone! Anyway, off to the stadium. 3 or 4 of the guys get to the outer ticket checks and Graham can’t find his ticket. Panic mode, and they blag thru’ with someone passing him one of theirs for Graham to wave at the fast-following steward, who was then satisfied with what he saw. The next 60metres to the main turnstile was difficult. Graham knew he’d had a ticket but now he’d lost it. He was checking his pockets but, alas, he’d definitely lost his ticket.
At the turnstile the steward wouldn’t listen, and the travelling Fulham old bill guy there at the turnstile made it plainly known that Graham wouldn’t be going in, and that the others should go in to the stadium before they were turned away with him as well. So in went everyone except Graham, who, head down, dejected, upset and ¾ full of beer, trudged back to the hotel, about a ½ mile away.
Graham had to sit in the bar, sinking a few more Estrella beers, watching it on the hotel bar TV whilst everyone else was in the stadium, up in the Gods, at the most memorable European away game ever. One cannot describe what it was like being there, with Ramires’ goal and the Messi penalty miss – we all started to really believe. We all prayed and prayed, watching our beloved team defend, Fort Alamo style, when right at the end the ball was kicked up for Torres to run on to. I knew he would score. I didn’t have a feeling – I knew. And as he rounded the keeper to slot it home we all went absolutely wild. I cried. And we were all there, in the Nou Camp, part of the history. All of us except Graham, of course.
After the usual 45 minute lock-in we all went back to the hotel, and straight into the bar to continue with the celebrations. Graham was there, obviously over the moon we’d reached the final, but similarly and in contrast he was just as heartbroken at losing his ticket.
With that he put his fingers into his shirt top pocket, pulled out about 4 different Euro notes and his flimsy, unused, match ticket.
On to Munich. No need to go thru’ the two days before the game. Usual story – it was a decent 4-day trip planned and lots of the amber liquid was flowing. The day of the game comes and Graham, like everyone else, is ‘on it’. This time he manages to get to the game, and into the stadium, with no real problems. And then, like everyone else, he also enjoyed the celebrations after the game and the next day, too.
Then it was time to get his flight home. Being concerned about him everyone made sure he had his bag ready on time and he was shipped off to the airport in a taxi. He immediately checked-in, and then he went off to the gate to wait for the flight.
And there he stayed. No joke – he fell asleep in the departure lounge and the flight went without him.
It’s always something – he never lets us down.
It got better. I saw Graham last night, in the pub.
Graham said that when he woke up he went to the Lufthansa desk and they laughed at him. The laughed even more when he asked if he could get on the next flight out of Munich. He had to hang around for another 2 1/2 hours and they got him on a flight to Zurich.
At Zurich he waited 8 hours (yes – 8!) before he could get on a flight to London.
You couldn’t make it up.
All this and he was hungover and exhausted. The only sleep he’d had in the previous 36 hours was an hour or so at the departure gate in Munich!