Once we knew the date of the away leg & where, with my friends it was always a yes we are going.
With an average age of 40, we had all waited for this moment & there was no way we would not go. My best mate Dave & Jes decided to look into the options of going independently. It wasn’t just about the money; it was we wanted to be free of the crowd. As it turned out the saving were some £250.00 per person, so there was no argument. I did pass the information on in the Vital forum & Rug & his mates did the same road trip.
We left Portsmouth on Thursday morning at 4.30am. 2 ½ hour drive to Stansted airport. 2 hour flight to Valladolid in northern Spain. Then a 4 hour car drive to our host city in Portugal. By the time we checked into our lovely hotel it was 4.30pm. 12 hours from A to B.
A quick shower & change & into the city. 5 hours until kick off. Lots of hooting cars from the local Portuguese as we strolled down the street in our Pompey shirts, but all in good spirit. We soon met a dozen Pompey supporters, so we joined them for a beer. We had a quick look around the beautiful medieval city & were soon approaching the market square. We had invaded. A good 1,000 supporters were there. The noise was fantastic. We had flags all over the walls. Lots of beer & singing. An experience none of us had ever had before & we were all going to enjoy every minute. We had a lovely meal with a few bottles of wine, then back into the square for more beer & singing. Then off to the match, army style, marching, singing & no trouble.
We had all paid good money & certainly a lot of effort to get here & we so desperately wanted to qualify for the group stages.
We started badly & it got worse. 2 down after 35 minutes & we were in shock. A realism that we could be going home & our little European dream was over. We held out to half time with the aggregate scores level. But if we could score then… but it was a big but as we looked poor. The second half started & all of sudden it was us looking good & they were looking scared. We dominated but couldn’t score. Extra time came & we carried on where had left off & then that moment we had waited for. Peter Crouch scored & we all went mad. We knew that was it, they had to score twice now & we knew they hadn’t the fight anymore. Then Crouch scored again & we all went mad again. By now the game that had started on Thursday night, was into Friday morning. We didn’t care; we had done what we had came to do. We walked back to our hotel & by now it was 1am.
The alarm went off at 4.45am so quick wash & dress, we checked out, too early for breakfast & left at 5.30am. 4 hour drive to the airport, 2 hour flight back & back in Portsmouth for 5.30pm. 12 hours from B to A.
Home, exhausted & emotionally drained. Can we do it again please???!!!
Written by storagematt.
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