Friday, May 22, 2009

Manchester United: I am a fan!

It was a game. More than that, it was an experience. Worth a lifetime. I came back and called all my friends and said, you gotta book a trip, it doesnt matter if you like football or not. Because its something everyone should experience at least once. I did not go to London to see the London Eye or the Big Ben because I believe this experience was better than those structures.

Earlier when I used to meet the loony football fanatics (my cousin in Bangalore included) rattling off crazy irrelevant football statistics, I would really think its ridiculous. But that has changed. I now have a Manchester T-Shirt which says the following (note the years written on the side):

It was amazing how nearly everyone came out of the stadium, bought one of those and wore it on top of whatever they were already wearing. It was almost as if this was a religion and the Almighty had asked everyone to wear this T-Shirt. My clients, my vice-president and me followed the trend.

And if anyone told you that football fever in Europe is equivalent to cricket fever in India, they are SO wrong. I have watched live cricket matches in India, it is nowhere close to the obsessive spirit which the football stadium had. As the ball got closer to the opponents goal, people rose from their seats in unison, almost like in an orchestrated dance. As Ronaldo missed the shot they all emitted the same disappointed..."Owww" sound and sat down with a thud. Or when Tevez was given an offside everyone stood up angrily together, though with a different combination of expletives aimed towards the lineman.

The organizers at Manchester do not pretend to be unbiased. It is actually hillarious. As the teams came running into the stadium the commentator announced the names. When announcing the Arsenal names, he was almost mumbling to himself, he just rattled out the names in a low monotone, hardly audible... "The Arsenal line up is Diaby, Nasri, Fabrigas.....mumble mumble mumble". And then, almost as if he had been exhumed and rejuvenated, he shouted out in an almost deafening voice "And now, ladies and gentlemen, walking into the stadium are the champions of England, champions of Europe and Champions of the World, Mannnchesterrrr Unnnitteeddd.. please welcome, Wayne Rooney (and the crowd went mad), Cristiano Ronaldo (and the crowd went mad again) " and so the madness continued 11 times. I was like, whoa... the organizers arent exactly hiding whom they support :).

The game wasnt the best. I felt that with Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo playing forward, MU could have played a much more aggressive game. However, they needed to draw to be able to be champions of the Premier League for the third time in a row, and they were not risking that. So they were playing a bit on the defensive side. But all said and done, it didnt matter, the euphoria was still there. The match got over with the team lifting the trophy with some spectacular fireworks and then walking the field waving at everyone with their kids and wives/girlfriends. Ronaldo typically was cornered for an interview immediately after the game and we didnt get to see much of him.

Other than the football, I liked Manchester as well. It is a small sleepy town, a stark contrast to the hustle bustle of Stockholm. I managed to go to Piccadilly and do some shopping. Overall it was a nice trip.

The week has been busy, and it will be this way for some time. My parents are in town along with my Mausa and Mausi, and I am as thrilled as I can be. My google status reads "Parents, relatives, home cooked food, summer in Stockholm and a planned trip to Switzerland.. the best combination :)". I am really happy. Nothing cheers me up as much as family. I am a true crab, very attached to my roots. I am also trying to wrap up my work and trying to organize a football match between us and the client at the next regular team event next to next week. It is not easy and I hope I can get the 11 players on both sides. Yes, football is somehow on my charts.

And here are some quick pics:

The prize distribution

1 comment:

  1. not many Manchester United fans around? surprising na..not a single comment on this post..I am a big Man United fan too. have been a fan for years now. Funny thing is, whenever I have discussed this topic with my friends, they all have asked me one question - you like the team because of Ronaldo right? earlier the question used to be different - I was asked whether I liked the team because of Beckham. cmmon, gimme a break! I know Beckham is super hot, but I like the team and NOT ONLY him or even Ronaldo or Rooney for their looks for that matter! talking about liking players for their looks/presence on field, I liked Keane and Giggs and Ferdinand more than I like Ronaldo!

    ah, I always end up ranting on your blog. But I wish to experience a live match there once. let's see :)