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My Wemberley weekend was not what was wanted!
The much awaited clash between the two National league giants, was fought out on Sunday at the National Wemberley stadium.
My weekend started Saturday morning., having made sure we had everything, my colleague and I set off for that there London. Our journey down the motorways were very good and we didn't hit traffic till the north circular heading into Brent council and on to Wemberley!
We assumed that the match played on Saturday was an afternoon kick off, but we were totally wrong, it was an evening match, so we ran into really heavy traffic and not surprisingly we took forever to get to the hotel, and to make matters worse the road to the hotel was closed! We ignored the sign and parked by the hotel, not only that there was three coach full of people arriving at the same time and because of that we didn't sign in until they had been signed in. Totally wrong timing you would agree but the credit card we were told to pay with wouldn't work, and I had to phone our boss to get the hotel room played for, the room was basic and didn't have a great view seeing as it was only about 100 yards from the stadium itself. I expected more but I found out later that ibis hotels are not renown for luxury, to say the least! The breakfast which was quite expensive, I couldn't touch but not because of my weirdness, it was totally dreadful. It was non diabetic friendly, no eggs, bacon almost rare and everything else was carb haven! I had to go the nearest Tesco to get a salad for breakfast, nothing open around the area because of the Sunday hours!
Anyway, I had been fasting on the way down till about mid evening, when we had fish for supper, it was really nice. Enough of the food, what about the National stadium?
Well, it's big from outside, I had a good look around Saturday evening, and took photos of the important bits.
I had to do the outside because from late morning, I would only see the underground and tunnel areas.
The place has an underground road and full of equipment and lighting. The sort of things my football club could only dream of. You have to have accreditation and be nominated by your club for you to be allowed to be anywhere near the tunnel.
We arrived as arranged at just before 11a.m. our van was searched by a security dog and asked a couple of questions from the gate security, the level of security is very high. We were escorted to the tunnel area by stewards in a buggy and shown where to go, I could now do my job!
If you haven't done the stadium tour, you should, it is unbelievable, it is a different world even from some premiership clubs. I have travelled the country to a lot of grounds but the luxury and size of the area designated to players and staff is stunning.
For instance, the changing room is not one room but six, each devoted to either the team or coaches, physio, showers and baths, toilets, grooming and of course the obligatory Jacuzzi. How many clubs changing facilities has a disabled toilet? There is even a warm up or stretching room. Where staff and players are given food after the match. Talk about being spoilt!
We were allocated a designated steward that was accessible at any time, who stood in the tunnel in our area, he could provide information or someone who could help our staff. We were designated a senior Wemberley staff member to be available when and if for protocol purposes and how the whole day would pan out!
I do my usual match duties of personal stuff, you know, little eccentricities, superstitions.
The team coach arrives, the whole staff puts on its game face and the usual function of preparation and match day organisation, everyone knows his duties.
The lull before the storm. I get myself a few minutes to make sure everything is good to go. I consult with staff if anything has developed or needed before warm up or prior to kick off.
The team warms up and more importantly I get the chance to get on the Wemberley turf, the world famous grass, the stuff that dreams are made of. The thrill I get from the noise, the excitement, the atmosphere and how proud I am to be here and representing my home town club at the Wemberley. I am honoured and I'm still pinching myself even now as I write this!
There are somewhere near 14,000 of Rovers supporters there and the noise is awesome! So loud!
The kick off arrives and I take my seat and I relax knowing I have done my part!
The scoreline is not good, half time and full time despite all our best efforts and not much has gone for us, we lose and are doomed to another season in the National league! (S!#/+?)
I spend the next half an hour commiserating and congratulating the opposition and staff, then back to my duties and getting ready to go home.
It has been a day I won't forget for a long time. Except it was an awful trip in so many ways. My phone had a day to forget, a lot of personal photos and data lost. The trip home wasn't pleasant. I was gutted, I was so tired and needed my bed! A long and horrible time (again) down sarf!
The best team won!
We will be back, you can guarantee that!
Where there is light, there is faith!
Super white army!
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