Royalty Tours USA

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Royalty sees an English Premier League doubleheader in London!‏

Shepherd's Bush Station Underground
After I went to the HSBC Bank ATM & got myself some spending money, I proceeded to go across the street, mind you looking right first then left, I saw the Underground station. I wound up having to go across the street to the Overground station which is where I boarded a train that took me towards Selhurst Park which is located in South London. It's also where the Crystal Palace Eagles of the English Premier League play their football matches if you will. In Europe & other parts of the World, that's what they call the game us here in the States refer to as soccer. When I got to the right platform I noticed a few people wearing Crystal Palace gear. With that being said, I knew they were going to the match so I started talking to them. We wound up sitting on the train together. I told them I was meeting a friend of mine by the box office. When we got off the train, we all walked through a neighborhood as we approached the Stadium which was right next to a supermarket called Sainbury's which is a local chain. The people I met, Lisa & John proceeded to head into the Stadium. I thanked them for getting me there without a hassle. It was around 11AM when I arrived. I told Sean I would meet him at the box office at 11:15AM. In the meantime, they had a team store right next to the box office so I decided to go in & look around. By doing so, I was able to get myself a scarf which is popular among people who attend football matches. Since this was my first ever match in Europe I decided to adopt the Eagles as my team to follow. I plan to sport my new scarf at soccer matches when I go to them in the States from now on.

Selhurst Park Box Office

Crystal Palace Football Club
Shortly after I came out of the store, I met up with my pal Sean MacDonald. He arranged to secure a ticket through a person he contacted online a few days before. He wound up meeting that person by the box office. However I still needed to get myself a ticket. There was a line ‎by the box office but that was for members if you will. In other words, season ticket holders as we call them here. I tried to ask people in line if they would be willing to help me out. I wasn't able to convince anyone. So I decided to look around on the street right outside the box office. A guy approached me. He said to walk away with him. I was reluctant to do so because I sensed he was a scalper. Less than a minute later, another person came along & he said he had a spare. I asked him what he wanted. He told me 30 pounds. Without hesitation, I took it. I knew that was what face value was for that match. This particular ticket had a face of 36 Pounds so I know I did good. The seat was located close to midfield too. The only problem I had with the seat was that I wasn't able to see the scoreboard due to the overhang that blocked it. As a result, I didn't know how much time was left as the match went on. I did my best to keep score anyway. When I needed to write in a time, I walked down until I could see the clock. I was able to see the flying Eagle fly back & forth before the match got underway. I was put wise to that thanks to Lisa & John who mentioned that to me in our conversation on the train.

Sean MacDonald & I
Before the match even began, the crowd was very festive which is what I was told about seeing a match in Europe. People were in their seats chanting as they were singing to their adopted anthem song of Glad All Over. It was quite an experience to say the least for me. It doesn't compare to anything here in the States.
View from my seat at Selhurst Park

 Live action from my seat at Selhurst Park
As for the match we saw, the Crystal Palace Eagles were hosting the West Bromwich Albion. After a scoreless first half, the ‎Eagles finally broke through with a goal in the 68th minute when Yannick Bolasie found the net to make it a 1-0 lead for the Eagles. They extended their lead to 2-0 in the 89th minute as they got a goal by Yohan Cabaye who capitalized on a penalty kick. They went to preserve the shutout which left the majority of the crowd feeling glad all over. The only ones who left sad were the West Bromwich supporters who came to see their team play.

Chicken Bake
After the match, I met up with Sean again. We walked out of the Stadium a different way as we walked back to a different train station. I just followed Sean who knew where he was going. Since we had some spare time, Sean wanted to go to his hotel to check into his room. When we got within walking distance, I decided to get something to eat while he did what he needed to do. I wound up having a Chicken Bake at a local convenience store chain called Gregg's. It worked out well since I only had a half hour until we reunited again. Once we did, we hopped on a double decker bus that took us to the area called Fulham, London. After we got off the bus, we walked towards Stamford Bridge, which is the home of the 2014 EPL Champion‎ Chelsea Football Club.

Welcome to Stamford Bridge 

Outside of Stamford Bridge
As we approached the Stadium, there were signs saying "No Touting". In other words, it was against the law to resell tickets there. If you get caught, you face serious consequences. As a result, Sean & I needed to be very careful. We wound up walking around the Stadium to see if we could find someone who happened to have extra tickets. Like Crystal Palace, tickets weren't offered to the public. As we walked around, we came across a gentleman who said his daughter couldn't make the match. He said he wanted 50 Pounds for the ticket if you will. As a member, he had a card which had his tickets loaded on it. He said one of us would have to go in with him. Sean told me to go ahead. He told me to meet him outside by a bar restaurant we saw after the match. I proceeded to go inside. I wound up having a great view of the match between Chelsea FC & their opposition, the Southampton Saints. My seat was five rows up in the upper level which was right over the pitch. I couldn't be more happy.
As for the crowd, they were loud but not quite as festive as in Crystal Palace. However, their Stadium was bigger & better.  

View from my seat at Stamford Bridge
Live action at Stamford Bridge
As for the match, Chelsea struck first as they scored in the tenth minute on a goal by Willian. The Saints got even in the 43rd minute when midfielder Steven Davis tied it up at one. In the second half, the Saints extended their lead with goals in the 60th minute as Sadio Mane made it 2-1 then in the 72nd minute they added an insurance goal as Graziano Pelle tallied to give the Saints a 3-1 lead. Chelsea wasn't able to recover as they went on to lose much to the dismay of their faithful fans.

After the match, Sean & I headed back to our hotels to get some much needed sleep & rest.

Stay tuned for another post that will recap that Sunday.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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