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: