Well, now back to Blighty after a fairly good trip, if one completely ignores the actual reason for going – the football.
Firstly, and to ignore the actual football on the park, I will say that Athletico deserved to win on the strength of their attitude, their fans’ attitude, their fans’ support, in numbers, their fans’ noise & passion shown leading up to, before, and during the game. Their fans were full of enjoyment and happiness, with all their singing and passion coming out during the afternoon and outside the stadium in bars before the game. Their fans were enjoying the occasion, and it showed. Their fans were hoping to win, and treated the whole occasion like it was a trophy worth winning, as one should do.
And then on to us. Take the exact opposite of each and every statement above and that was Chelsea. Let’s start with the day in town at Nice. No real atmosphere. Few people recognising each other and seeing a few from the away scheme in Wayne’s Bar before the game showed some hellos and a few pints being sunk. But there was no occasion to it. We were in the south of France for a football match. Anyone would’ve thought it was a league cup 3rd round game against scarborough at the Bridge on a wed Wednesday evening. There was no occasion. All the fans’ were lack lustre. Yes, no gusto or hype around the event. No-one gave a fkk. WE all got well oiled, but honestly couldn’t be bothered with it. I even messaged a mate half an hour before kick off saying as much. It was wrong. The team followed the fans. We were complacent, and we were quite rightly humiliated. I would aay we have been spoilt of late. Yes, we have. Spoilt. This was a massibe kick up the arse. Wake up call.
Let’s get back to the fans. The cost of flying to Nice and back on the last weekend of the school holidays was horrendous for most. £500 to £600 return, if you were lucky. But there are only so many flights. Driving takes 14 hours. As we heard all day before the game, and even more so after it (!), this was a glorified friendly. It is a UEFA ‘jolly’, for the end of August, after the Champions’ league draw. We were supposed to have had 4000 fans there. Bollox. It seemed like 1000. Well, we were spread out as we’d been given 4 ticket price choices and 6k seats, I think. 14,132 attended, and it holds 18,500, I think. I booked our flights back in May, as I did the hotel. I got a decent price as I was quick. The hotel was the Royal on Promenade des Anglais in Nice, facing the water. It was fine. We even got a 3rd bed for a mate who booked his flight late. FFS, what more did we need?
Athletico must’ve sold out of their allocation completely. Ok, they have a far easier journey to drive from Madrid to the south of France (4 hours?), but they still wanted to be there. I know loads who ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to go, and many who just said they weren’t spending 800-quid on a friendly. They are all excused, as I wish I hadn’t bothered, either (!). I’m pleased we had a good time amongst our own little group, but the football put a dampener on the whole trip, of course.
Ahhh, the football. I was absolutely positive that we had Boas back in charge. It was like watching the team we had under Boas. Cole & Ivanovich were up shaking hands with the corner flags all evening. It was plain to see that it wasn’t working, and after the 2nd goal went in we should’ve gone to a defence mode (!), and us done the breaking away. Playing so high was suicide. I kept thinking Mourinho would’ve taken two players off and changed the formation as soon as the 2nd goal went in. We persevered and were punished – lightly, I will add. It could’ve and maybe should’ve been 8.
Let’s hope heads aren‘t down in the league.
I enjoyed Nice, the Monte-Carlo casino and everything else about the trip. Too much beer again, but that’s all part of it. What a shame that the very main reason for the trip was absolutely shite.