GN’R were also playing in Stratford, twice… It’s so close to where I live I can see the stadium from my place, the cost however of a standard standing ticket was more than Golden Circle ticket in Paris… Therefore I headed to Paris and joined Greg and Stephanie. Originally I had planned to join them in Imola, but Paris kind of worked better.
Kristina and Vinny also decided to join. This then spread with a load of others from the Garbage crew joining in, so all in all, this was a far better experience than seeing them in my back yard, even if they are the greatest band of all time!
A few weeks before the show a plan was hatched by Greg to try and get Simon to the show as well. Unfortunately he was unable to join, and in all honestly I’m kind of glad he didn’t, It was so hot during the day, even inside the stadium. I’m not sure how he’d have coped. Where he’d have been sat he would have been in the scorching hot sun for a good hour or two. At least in the standing area we could walk to the other side of the ground into the shade.
GNR played for over 3 hours and were far better than the time I saw them at the O2 without Slash & Duff.
This was probably the best game we attended of the tournament but there was a problem. A massive storm was due to hit Lille just as the game was about to start so as a precaution the decision was made to close the roof. Of course the storm never hit, instead that appeared over London and the stadium became this massive sauna. Vinny was falling asleep, I was yawning like mad and eventually had to go get some air in the stadium concourse.
Ireland totally dominated a changed Italian team and deserved the win. Italy still had the quality to win this match but never really got out of second gear for longer than 30 seconds. When they did however they looked dangerous. Italy could win Euro 2016.
We had 2 spare tickets for this game and we managed to sell them to 2 Irish fans who decided the day before to travel over for the match, their plan was to watch it in some pub. I persuaded them to part with €160 euros and they joined us in the stands. They both agreed that they were glad I did as they really enjoyed the experience of the game. When they won they thanked and hugged us saying it was the best €80 they have ever spent.
Ireland progressed to the next round as the best place 3rd team.
England absolutely dominated this game from start to finish but just couldn’t break down the Slovakians. I feel that we as a country have gone backwards during this tournament. England had a 100% perfect qualifying campaign winning every single match, yet we hit a major tournament and everything goes out the window and we fail to break down teams.
One thing which is good for LFC fans is that Adam Lallana has been Englands best player at Euro 2016 by a mile. I think Woy cocked up during this game, during the first part of the first half he dominated the left side of the pitch and easily had the pace on Martin Skrtel. Woy moved him more centrally and I felt we lost a big part of our game by doing this. Martin Skrtel eventually won Man of the Match.
Side note: The crowd was 85% England fans who were by far the loudest I’ve ever heard them.
So this was an interesting one… Initially we were sat in the lower tier behind the goal within the mixed section which was mainly filled with Croatia fans however we choose to move as it was getting ridiculously crowded there. This proved to be a wise move later on in the match.
The game itself was nothing special at all with both sets of fans behaving. Then something strange happened. 5 minutes before the end the French police lined the pitch in riot gear, why? no idea, there was nothing at all in the crowd to suggest this was needed, at all other games there has been stewards there with a massive rope, hardly threatening at all. Their presence changed the atmosphere and soon flares were raining down onto the pitch. At this point it was 2-1 to Croatia with 5 minutes to go and they were well in charge of the game, so pretty crazy. We took this cue to leave the ground and on doing so passed a line of riot police running to the ground.
A late penalty was scored by the Czech Republic which we missed.
The second game of the 2016 European Championship held in Lens, this Group A match wasn’t a classic encounter at all but was a good introduction to international tournament football for myself and Vinny who plan to do 7 games in the coming fortnight. We were in with the Albanian fans who were by far the majority within the ground which was a surprise. They were friendly enough to us but were a little racist from time to time, something you see unfortunately a lot at these international showcases it would seem.
Myself and Steve (who also joined) planned to travel over from London on the morning of the game where we would meet Vinny in Lille before travelling on. We only just made the 06:58 Eurostar mind you with the pair of us jumping the queue at security to get on the train moments before it left.
Up at the crack of dawn to head to Grenoble in France via Geneva in Switzerland, this isn’t the best route but in fairness was probably the best one due to the French striking again. I really hope we don’t have issues like this when the Euros start as we are travelling everywhere by trains.
Headed out the door at 04:25 and got to Blackfriars only to find every entrance to the station well and truly locked. OH FUCK!
New plan head to Victoria, how do I get there? A bus to Trafalgar Square then look for one to Victoria. Managed to get there but thought I was gonna miss my flight as I had my train app still on Blackfriars! Eventually I get to Geneva and now have a 2 and a half hour wait for a bus as the previous one left as I was landing. Pretty sure I wouldn’t have made the effort to get to this gig if it wasn’t Greg’s 50th in his home town.
The gig itself was pretty good and Shirley dedicated the final song to both Greg and I as I’d let them know that it was Greg’s 50th show and unbeknown to me at the time he had let them know it was my 60th.
Late call for this one. Following the attacks in Paris, Anne had stayed on in the UK and asked about the game the morning of the match. Before the game the England fans held up The Tricolore instead of the St George’s Cross and some fans also sang La Marseillaise after God Save The Queen.
France were poor in the first half and England scored a great goal through Dele Alli. Rooney added a second moments into the second half.