Back from my 36-hour whistle stop tour from Madrid to Hammersmith and back to Kent and thoroughly enjoyable it was too. The recent resumption in blogging has been very therapeutic for me and led to some nice engagement with readers and bought up a host of topics I will cover over the next few days. I won’t have the time to blog every day but I think once a week is too little as I forget the content that rattles around in my swede throughout the day. I have never been a great one for taking notes on things I must remember later, other than bets and football matches but at the age of 46 I feel it may be a requirement of the future. The blog serves as an outlet for me and I then hope some of you enjoy reading it, my intention is to cover a wide range of topics going forward not just betting and todays is about the Madrid experience. Topics for the upcoming few days will include Trading, Ricky Gervais, James Corden, Best Odds Guaranteed, 1.09 bets and a few other things that have cropped up.
On the issue of Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) I have asked a question on Twitter which I will repeat over the next couple of days and if you do follow me on Twitter, @FTSIncome and you are interested in betting or you do bet I would be grateful if you could give me a short answer to the question.
I will utilize Twitter more. Kav wanted me and probably rightly to have my own account and the FTS account and keep the business side separate. To be honest it is just too much faff for me having multiple accounts. I generally tweet when on the move (usually to a Spurs game) and I am not in this for marketing award of the year. As a rule, I detest the cancer that is social media and more on that in a later post but I do like the spontaneous nature of Twitter but clicking from account to account on my phone I know I would post the wrong tweet on the wrong account and it would soon become some shambles. Those who don’t like the nature of my tweets – well like these blog posts you don’t have to read them.
Back to the post –
As you probably know, on Tuesday I attended the Real Madrid v Tottenham, Champion’s League group game and as per usual in my negative Spurs frame of mind I fully expected a sound Spurs thrashing.
I went on my own and when I got to Madrid airport mid- Tuesday afternoon I was questioning why I had bothered as it all seemed a lot of travel and aggravation for 90 minutes of football.
I thoroughly loved the experience of the match itself. I thought both sides played well. Madrid are a pleasure to watch. The away section is up in the clouds but it does give you a great view of the pitch to view the match from a tactical perspective – Hoddle used to always like to watch matches from in the stands as did the great Timmy.
Madrid are technically a fantastic side, ball control, accuracy of passing, (I think Kroos misplaced one pass all night out of 90 odd), and speed of movement. Each player to a man can control the ball and play football and I appreciated it much more being there than watching them on TV. Isco and Modric (I miss him more than any other player at Spurs) are simply a pleasure to watch. Both sides had chances to win the game and both keepers pulled of great saves. My initial thought is Kane should have scored but I have not seen a replay so may be being harsh. They scored a penalty as Spurs and Hugo kept them out in open play and Spurs forced a defensive own goal for a very entertaining 1-1 draw and the result in Cyprus involving Dortmund meant Spurs have a great chance of progressing.
The atmosphere in the stadium itself was superb. Spurs fans singing throughout and I do admire almost with envy some of the lyrics that people come up with. I have had civilized seats at The Lane and now at Wembley for the last 20 years or so and it is a long time since I have been in with the hardcore fans.
“Tottenham at the Bernabeu, Arsenal watching Emmerdale” was my particular favourite. (It had to be)
However, with all these things there is another side. We as a nation are unique in the way we behave when drink is about. I, as people who know me will vouch, like to have a beer with the best of them (admittedly in my younger days) but I and the people I have gone on drinking binges/days out with have never ever had the urge to hurl abuse at people or start fighting.
My time in Madrid saw 3 fights break out that I witnessed. Two involved Spurs fans fighting with Spurs fans. I tweeted a short video of the crowd of Spurs fans that had gathered in the main square. Some unable to speak, a pavement of broken glass bottles and tin cans. Numerous football’s being booted about in all directions it was clear it was a recipe for aggravation. Sure enough within 60 seconds of me being there I witnessed a ball being booted into the crowd, hits one guy hard in the head, bounces off his head and into another guys hand knocking his phone out of his hand and his phone cracks. They then turn to the culprit and it all kicks off with fists bottles and beer flying everywhere.
I decided to swally my beer as quickly as possible (don’t like waste) and hot foot it out of there. On walking towards the Metro off the beaten track I spotted a small quieter looking Irish bar that I could see 10 or 12 Spurs fans in and a few locals. It all looked civilized and up my street for a quiet pre-match ale. This bar was very small it would have only been able to hold 30 people at a guess maximum so it was half full.
I ordered a Heineken – got to help the CL sponsors out and it is ok for Gout sufferers as alcohol goes- and sat at the bar reading the news on my phone keeping myself to myself.
Up comes a Spurs fan from this small crowd of 6 or fans sat at the only table in the place to the left of me.
“You Spanish mate?”
My first thought was WTF why me?
He then drapes his arm around me which basically was an aid to keeping him upright.
“No mate I am a Spurs fan”
“Oh good lad good lad, you look like f****** Rafa Benitez mate you look like Rafa”
Now I have no idea what to say to that, I am not going to lie the first thought through my head was to whack him! The guy could hardly stand up or talk so I actually think a flick may have done it.
Rafa Benitez? Come on what the hell. I am being compared to a man whose nickname is Fat Spanish Waiter. The whole episode warranted a steward’s inquiry. I was in the process of tweeting this outrage when the group of 6 or so Spurs fans to my right decided it was good idea to whack one of the locals sat at the bar. What started it I have no idea my Rafa confrontation had consumed my attention but it kicked right off.
The barman leapt over the bar and started defending the local and the hard Spurs fans did their best “let me at him” routines whilst reversing away from their target. In the middle was the only woman in the place part of the Spurs contingent who thought calling anyone who looked at her the C-word was adding to the process.
In came the police within seconds and I decided to swally my beer yet again and get out of there as I don’t think an early arrest just for being in there would have gone down well with Mrs. E.
I legged it and decided the ground was the safest place. How wrong I was? A quick aside on the way to the ground this guy went down well with the Spurs faithful, I mean why would you?
The entry to the ground was heavily policed we all had to show passports etc. and make out way up to the 4th and 5th tiers of the ground and every staircase had armed police, stewards and police dogs, none of who looked at us in a friendly manner, but is it any wonder. I was hoping my Rafa looks made me more amenable than most.
In the ground and it soon started filling up. The people next to me had arrived for a 7.45 KO forgetting the time difference so had been there for about 3 hours which was mildly amusing and the Spurs fans were full of song as KO approached. I was getting quite excited myself I had a spare ticket I couldn’t get rid of so I had two seats it was lovely. The Champions League anthem was played, the Spanish announcer announced the teams and the way Real announce their team is annoying. He says the first name and the crowd fill in the surname.
“Numero cuatro, Sergiooooooo”
When you experience it 16 times it soon becomes boring!
We were then asked for a minute’s silence and I did not hear why as the Spurs fans were in full voice.
With that the crowd goes silent and you respect the silence. At least all but one did. Behind me a Spurs fan starts singing at the top of his voice. My eyebrows raise and then from in front of me a rather large fellow a few rows down turned around.
“Shut up you c***”
We all thought it to be fair.
Now it all kicks off again, the guy who was singing starts some verbal back and then realizes the size of the guy calling him out and quickly shuts up but his mate who looked like an 18-year-old John Inman (Google him- I could have blown him over and I cannot fight sleep) starts trying to climb over rows to get to the big guy
“you call my mate a c***, I will kill you, you f******”
We are all fans supporting the same team and now I have people trying to climb over me to hit each other. The big guy would have thrown him off the stand. Stewards pile in and I just sit there shaking my head.
Why the long story? Well it all bemuses me. The British attitude to alcohol always has baffled me. For instance, why, places like Magaluf have a single street solely devoted to British youngsters getting totally shit faced is a phenomenon to me. You don’t, or at least I have not seen, similar streets populated with Spanish, French, German or Italian youngsters.
The ramifications as we move into 2018 I think are going to prove tragic when we get to the World Cup. We are not liked as a nation, particularly in Russia and we will be victimized and our behavior certainly like I witnessed will let us down. What I witnessed is not unique.
It happens everywhere Brits go. I have heard the argument that the Russians won’t let it happen. I don’t agree. The UK police and government did not want the riots to happen. The Rome police didn’t want it to happen in 2012 when the Ultras attacked a bar with Spurs fans in.
The Russian Ultras have known this event is coming, have had time to plan and I fear will target British fans and if we end up fighting amongst ourselves when attending football then I can see someone getting killed in Russia trying to fight groups like that. If they start on us and I think they will it will be carnage and it is an event I wouldn’t even dream of attending which is the real shame of it.
It is a minority and I share it with you as I don’t understand it. I know how much it cost me to go to Madrid and it is not cheap. The reason I went alone was people I would go with could not afford to go or afford the money and to take 2 days off work which is a valid issue. Flights go up, hotels go up, taxis to and from airports, match tickets, food drink it is an expensive 24 hours. Why go somewhere pay all that money and get yourself to the state where you can barely stand up, can only get swear words out of your mouth and are looking or a fight? I just don’t get it. I may be out of touch or more prude than I thought I was. I like a beer and I am open to a swear word but mostly I want to have fun in life. I don’t see how anyone gets fun out of the above.
Anyway, I head home Wednesday morning and at the airport I am sat in the coffee shop doing some work when my flight is called. I stand up and a woman approaches me in and speaks non-stop for 30-40 seconds in full speed Spanish. She stops for breath and is about to start up again when I interject
“I am English” – I always feel embarrassed then when they reply in English at the lack of ability I possess to speak foreign languages.
“ah sorry sorry you look Spanish”
No, I feckin don’t
With the Rafa insult still fresh in my mind I decided I need to act and head to somewhere like McDonalds and grab a coffee so that I look suitably English, perhaps a cheeseburger dribbling down my chin and the top of my pants showing.
On my way to the gate another woman approaches me (obviously these are a team now trying to sell something or fill me with paranoia) and the same scenario is about to play out. I stop her before she gets into full flow
“Sorry I am English; don’t tell me I look Spanish”
“Yes, you do, very Spanish”
Very Spanish. Clearly the McDonalds won’t cut it I need to enlist in the Michael Jackson skin bleaching program.
So where does the baby fit in? I have had the pleasure this last two months to see both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo live. They are in my opinion the two best players in the world. However, I think Messi as a footballer is head and shoulders above Ronaldo on a footballing front for me the greatest to play the game.
Watching the body language and behavior of Ronaldo on Tuesday was cringeworthy. A guy with unlimited wealth, a great talent and he acts like a spoilt little baby from the minute the kick off whistle goes to the final whistle and beyond. It was embarrassing and for kids watching and buying shirts as a role model I find him distasteful. He is simply the baby of this blog post.
So, we have covered two goals, three fights, a fat Spanish waiter and a baby.
Enjoy your day I will be doing a separate post about the new services and things later today and I will be back over the weekend to cover other topics.
Please do follow Twitter and comment on BOG if you have time.
Tottenham at the Bernabeu, Arsenal watching Emmerdale – you gotta laugh.
P.S. In other news Liverpool won 0-7 away to
Real Madrid, Real Marabot, oh sod it some unheard of team from somewhere and are now hot favourites for the CL. ( You can get your own back on Sunday Pool fans when thumping us, anyone going to the game Sunday and wants to meet up give me a shout)