Thursday, June 22, 2006

Addick's latest World Cup report

West Stand season ticket holder Angela has now flown back from Germany for a few days and files her latest report:

We sat behind the goal England attacked in the first half and so had a good view of Michael Owens’s demise. It was obvious something had gone seriously wrong by the way he just crawled from the pitch desperately waving for attention. I do wonder how often we will see Michael Owen in an England shirt again. It was a sad end to his tournament. Quite apart from the very thin selection of strikers we have left, we had all hoped he would find some form as the tournament went on.

The game itself was massively entertaining and the atmosphere was cracking. Joe Cole was an absolute revelation and thoroughly deserved his wonder goal. He celebrated right in front of us and I can tell you that the crowd went wild. We needed it nearly as much as they did. Of course it wouldn’t be England if we didn’t find ourselves back on the ropes – what does Sven say at half time? At last we saw a bit of decent form from Owen Hargreaves, and along with most fans around us, I am growing fonder and fonder of Peter Crouch (desperation does funny things to you).

The Swedes are also very noisy supporters and that added to the atmosphere in the ground. Our hoodoo against them continues, but at least we topped the group and put in a performance worthy of the word “entertainment” if not exactly world beating.

The result was however a mixed blessing for us as we have discovered that our second round and quarter final tickets were dependent on England qualifying as runners up in the group and thus going to the bigger grounds (Munich and Berlin rather than Stuttgart and Gelsenkirchen). This means that we travel on Sunday with the rest of the ticketless hoardes and will be forced to line the pockets of the bitterly resented touts who really seem to have got this one sewn up. Once again there were clearly lots of people in the ground on Tuesday who had managed to get in without tickets or with forged tickets and were standing in aisles and on the steps with the stewards making no attempt to either seat or eject them. I really do think there has been a huge amount of fiddling. We have heard stories of going to certain turnstiles with a previous match ticket and being able to get in. The much publicised identity checks which we were assured would take place going into the ground haven’t materialised and in fact getting through the first cordon is merely a matter of waving a match day ticket (it would seem, any match day ticket) and walking through. Bizarrely on Tuesday night, with no real security checks taking place, the stewards were confiscating cardboard masks (lots of the Swedes had Lundeberg face masks) and whistles. Don’t ask me!

So we’ll be giving it our best shot to get in on Sunday evening.


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