A Royal Introduction to Futbol
Last night I had my first futbol (soccer) experience….here in England. Having been to Whitecaps games in Vancouver and Seattle, I thought I knew something of what to expect, even the 100-150 Vancouver fans in Seattle made their presence felt with chants.
Our seats were great. Six rows from the field near the top of the box, very close to the action and in the same end as both team’s cheering/chanting sections. Tonight Reading Royals(pronounced red-ing) were plying the Ipswich “Tractor Boys”, who had at least 2000 fans in attendance and had travelled about two hours to make it to the game. Both groups volleyed chants and jeers back and forth all game long. There was no video screen promting people to cheer nor a mascot rousing the crowd. I saw a mascot entertaining kids on the field before the game, but that was it. And, unfortunately for me, there was no “hymn book” so I could chant along. The only chants I could make out was the general booing, “wanker” chants at the refs, and when a bad call was made against Ipswich, their fans repeatedly bellowed “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOIN’!!” at the ref. As soon as said ref confered with his linesman and reversed the original call the Reading chanting group, only two sections and an iron gate away, busrt into exactly the same rousing chant: “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOIN’!!”
The entire game was very exciting for me (mind you i’ve been known to appreciate a 0-0 hockey game or a 6-3 NFL game so long as it’s entertaining). This game saved most of it’s dramatics, and red cards for late in the game, and thankfully, when we had the opposition net in front of us. Seconds after entering the match, local boy, Simon Church, potted a late goal in the 88th minute. The crowd went crazy…and the Ipswich fans not only fell silent, but eerily still as Lindsay’s dad Kevin pointed out for me behind a giggle.
It was a great night with great friends and Family: Lindsay’s mom and dad, Kevin and Krysia, her Uncle Frank, and cousin Ian who procured us the great tickets. Thanks for an awesome first futbol experience.