Stadium tales & things I’ve heard in the crowd and on the way to games lately

London Stadium

In my book, Goodbye Upton Park, Hello Stratford, I referred to a character who used to sit somewhere behind me in the Betway stand at Upton Park, who used to shout the words “back door, back door” continuously throughout the game, when our opponents were attacking our goal. If they had a corner, or a free kick, or indeed were attacking down either flank he would shout those words. It got a bit boring after a while and many of us were pleased when he no longer turned up for games. I’d like to think that someone showed him the back door!

Now there is a guy who sits somewhere behind me who I think of as Mr. Know-It-All. Throughout the game he passes comment the whole time with one or two expletives in every sentence. He really believes he is an expert on the game, and likes to tell everyone in earshot. Every player on the pitch, either our team or the opposition is referred to at the end of every single phrase he utters as a c***, or a f****** c***. Most of us are really cheesed off with him as he thinks he knows everything, but there is an old couple who seem to hang on his every word and seem to find him funny. During the Arsenal game he spent most of the time he was there berating Antonio. He didn’t actually know the difference between Fernandes who was playing and Antonio who was not. Fortunately he disappears to the bar about fifteen minutes before half time, and leaves a similar time before the end of each game. The grandfather who sits next to me with his six year old grandson has complained to stewards but they don’t seem to want to act. He really is a pain and keeps saying he is never coming again. But unfortunately he does.

Also near me is a chap who follows the team to every game, home and away, including abroad when we are in Europe. He gives a running commentary to his two sons, explaining the finer points of the game throughout. He actually is quite knowledgeable, but it gets a bit wearing.

A few rows in front of me there is a chap who is a dead ringer for the singer Will Young. He comes to the game with his wife, or girlfriend, or whatever she is, but doesn’t take any interest in the match whatsoever. They are too busy cosying up to each other and should really go somewhere else and get a room.

Fortunately, most of the people in my vicinity in the ground are a good bunch. But I guess you see all sorts in a crowd.

I’ve also heard some interesting things on the radio on the way to games. Phil Neville, who has obviously been watching a lot of tennis lately used the following words in a commentary: “he forced the City player into an unforced error.”

Chris Waddle referring to the game at the top of the table last weekend used the words “Manchester City could easily have been 3-1 up before Chelsea scored”.

And another radio pundit, referring to our own Simone Zaza, used the words “He’s still looking to find his feet”. Now I know the reason for his poor performances. Perhaps if he finds them he will be a better player.