It confuses a lot of people that me, a Glaswegian football supports England. The simple explanation for this is the fact that I am half English and proud to be so. When it comes to football I am a fan of England as much as Scotland.
I’ve been to a good few matches at Hampden, however for as long as I can remember I have wanted to see England at Wembley. I suggested to my friend Alastair who is also half English that we should make the trip down to London and he said he would be able to go to the friendly between England and Australia.
The Train Down to London
It’s all too known that trains in the UK are an absolute joke and this occasion was no different. I had to get the train home from work the day after and it was cancelled! Moreover, the train to London from Edinburgh was about £47.50 each way which is an absolute ripoff if you ask me. Despite that the train journey was a comfortable one. Once the train crossed the border into England, A can of Budweiser was cracked open and I was listening to Rodríguez.
Staying in an Incredibly Simple Hostel
The situation for accommodation in London is not an easy one if you’re on a budget. It really isn’t the place you can get a cheap hostel. I won’t name the place I stayed in as I don’t think it’s right to smear the business. The staff were nice and I couldn’t complain. Despite that, it was possibly one of the least comfortable hostels which I have stayed in.
The room was really cramped, there were no lamps and the closest bathroom to our room was two floors down. Moreover we had a room to ourselves with one bunkbed which looked quite worse for wear.
This really is what you get when you want to have accommodation on a budget in London. Despite that, the location of the hostel was very good as it was very close to Baker Street.
So how do you get a Ticket to an England Game?
I should mention that sorting out tickets for going to see England is much easier than I thought it was. It was actually my friend, Alastair who bought the tickets online on the Wembley website. However, the tickets are very expensive and it was the most I had ever paid for a football match. It’s important to take into account how likely Wembley is to sell out and I recommend buying the tickets well in advance.
Pre-match Drinks at the Allsop Arms
Right after leaving our bags at the hostel, my friend found a nearby Greene King pub for some food and a pint. My friend works at a Greene King pub, so his discount makes it cheaper for both of us. It was a warmer day than usual, so I opted to have a Coke instead.
Getting to Wembley on the Tube
The best and most convenient way to get to Wembley is by using the tube. The stadium has its own station called Wembley Park which could be reached directly from Baker Street. We gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the stadium before kickoff and the carriages on the way were packed. However, it was nothing compared to other busy times on other metros.
Once you get out of the tube station, there’s a huge walkway which takes you right to the station. It feels like this whole area of London is dedicated to Wembley stadium which I found to be very impressive. A lot of the other stadiums just have massive car parks outside of them, while Wembley has this nice looking walkway.
A Pre-match Pint IN the Stadium
Once we got to the stadium, we had a bit of trouble finding which entrance we were supposed to go into. We eventually found it after asking a steward and I was very impressed with how immaculate it all looked. There was a security gate, although all we had to was take the stuff out our pockets. Moreover, it’s important to keep in mind that all bags are completely prohibited.
We went up some escalators to get to the area where we were sitting which I had never seen in a football stadium before. Moreover it looked much more like a shopping centre than a football stadium.
As I said, the inside of the stand looked more like a shopping centre and that’s because it looked well kept and very clean. I really didn’t expect there to be an M&S here and I was amazed that there was even a pub inside. Not only that, one of my favourite beers was on tap – Camden Hells.
With just over an hour before kickoff, Alastair and I were enjoying our pints in these incredible surroundings. A pint a Wembley costs £7.20 which is quite agreeable for London prices and the fact that stadium vendors always markup the prices.
We ended up talking to a nice Aussie bloke from Melbourne who was visiting his son with his wife. Both Alastair and I have been to Australia, so we were talking about our experiences in the country with him. We also told him to watch out for Cammy Devlin and Kye Rowles as we told him that we were Hearts fans.
England 1-0 Australia
We got to our seats with a bit of time before kickoff and the stadium started to fill up. What’s amazing about Wembley is the sheer size of the place, it’s the 2nd biggest football stadium in Europe after the Camp Nou. As of now it’s also the biggest stadium I have ever been to. What I didn’t know about Wembley was the fact that it’s not the same stadium as the original one where England won the World Cup. This is a pristine and modern stadium which had only just been built in 2007.
As the game was just a friendly, Gareth Southgate wanted to experiment and had benched some of England’s most crucial players. England weren’t playing with a high degree of pressure and there were some instances in which Australia could have scored.
After the second half, it was Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins who scored with the assist from Grealish. I had no clue why Cammy Devlin wasn’t starting for Australia, however Rowles was and played a very good game. Moreover, from where we were sitting, we could see the away end which looked full. We saw a Maroon Australian flag with a Hearts badge on it and were amazed to see some fellow jambos at the game.
Getting out of Wembley
Once the game had ended, it meant that thousands of people would be going to the same tube station. We just headed back the way we came and had to wait a bit before getting into the tube station. It was absolutely packed on the train back and we got back to Baker street just after the pubs had closed.
That’s all I have to say about my trip to see England, I had a blast. I will definitely want to another match and see some competitive games. I was hugely impressed with Wembley and can say it’s the best football stadium I’ve ever been to.