Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chelsea vs Reading



I'm not a soccer fan. By the mere fact that I used the word 'soccer' instead of 'football' shows much about my passion towards the game. Twenty two men running around with a ball for 90 min? I can think of better things than that. No offence, I have loads of respect for people who earns more in a year than I can in my entire life.

Back in Singapore, English Premier League is a big thing, at least for some of my pals. Some of whom I know will line up for merchandise (posters, scarves, jerseys, even cups!) the moment they're imported. Some can rattle off players' statistics. That's wonderful... to have a memory for such things. I tried my hand on Football Manager (the game) once a few years back and got quite hooked on it for all the wrong reasons I supposed. As the players' name meant nothing to me, they become just another number to be bumped up and I was more concern about building the largest stadium and signing up lucrative advertisement endorsements. Like I said, I was never a soccer fan.

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But we were fortunate enough to get our hands on two tickets (at face value) for Chelsea vs Reading at Stamford Bridge yesterday. It was one of those games that's not so popular that tickets are actually available. The tickets are sold at 35-50 quid at the ticket office but there're internet 'resale' market selling for up to 240 quid per ticket. That's how passionate Britons are about this sport.

Over the last few years, I watched a few games on tv. I recalled that I watched it once with a group of gals who are more interested in the German goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn. Me? I'm more interested in the chilli crab that was sitting in front of me.



Anyway, none of that prepared me for the real thing. In short, it totally blew me off. I found myself humming the Chelsea song (that says loads for me!) "Chelsea is the Game...". I can't help it, I mean... the ardent fans of the home team were high throughout the game. Lots of them entered the stadium only at the last few minutes. I think they're outside getting themselves suitably intoxicated. Though Reading didn't come close but there are some moments when I fear for our lives should the results turn out otherwise. My fears turned out to be unfounded when Michael Ballack shoved one in 12min before halftime.

Chelsea kept the record of having 76 home games unbeaten. That night I understood two things; the reason behind this nation's passion for their national sport... and the scarves sold (back home) actually have a practical purpose here, for it was freezing yesterday night.

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