Away Goals - Euro Chimes: Write to Rug no.1
In the last edition, hopefully not ever, of Away Goals - Euro Chimes - the free Pompey fanzine for fans making European excursions - Vital Pompey had an advert included.
This advert, 'Write to Rug' invited those of you that went to Wolfsburg to write to me about whatever you wanted Pompey related, with it the intention to publish the best in the next edition - sadly we are out so we will have to wait until next season!
Anyway, people can still 'Write to Rug' as they were all being published on Vital Pompey anyway. So simply drop me a line on this email address - email@example.com - and I will publish your thoughts...
To be honest I am not exactly sure if storagematt's account fell into the 'Write to Rug' category, but I am running with it as Away Goals - Euro Chimes: Write to Rug no.1, so cheers Matt!
Storagematt in Europe
Somehow you felt you just that your were cursed never to see your home team be that successful!
Thankfully after that wonderful day on May 17th when we saw Sol lift the FA Cup, our time had arrived.
And boy were we going to enjoy it. Like many after some 30+ years of mostly thin & thinner, these glorious times take their time in coming round.
We couldn't wait to see how we would get in the first round & were determined to be there for it. The first trip to Guimaraes in early October was arranged by my best mate Dave & another friend Jez. They wanted to do a road trip & go independently of the club. So we arranged to drive to Stansted, fly to Spain & drive 4+ hours into Portugal. A plan used by Rug & others to keep the cost to about a third of what the club were charging! Thankfully this all worth it.
October in Spain, from left to right: Dave, Rug & storagematt
Nothing could compare with entering the main square to find some 1000+ supporters already there, Pompey flags on all the walls, lot's of singing & beer & good behaviour. Our first ever away game in a European tournament was looking mighty fine. Then of course the match started & we were in shook as we looked to have pressed that self destruct button, which is so handily placed at moments like this. Backed by over 3,000 fans, we all went mental when Crouch scored the away goal in extra time & party time when the second went in. The plan was always to get into group stages, mission accomplished. We got back to our plush hotel to have 4 hours sleep & have the long drive back to the Spanish Airport & home.
We couldn't wait for the group draw & I wanted AC Milan at the San Siro. This may be the only chance I would ever get & that's what I wanted. So I was glued to my PC at work & screamed when we were paired & the BBC sport website said we were going to Italy only to find out we weren't but hey we had them at Fratton Park. I was a bit miffed our first match was against another Portuguese team, Braga, ten miles up the road from Guimaraes & only three weeks after that trip. Very much a groundhog day. At least we knew the drill, so with Dave & a few others, we did the same road trip. With about 20% of the Pompey support going to this second game, the atmosphere was always a bit more subdued & it turned out to be an awful match, not helped by some diabolical diving tactics & the worst referring performance ever. The trip home was a very long one.
So then it was off to Wolfsburg. Another road trip, Pompey to Dover. Boat to Dunkirk. Overnight stay in Dunkirk & then some 7 hours of driving through France, then Belgium, then Holland before we got to our hotel in Hannover. We were an hour from Wolfsburg so we quickly checked in & got to the ground in time for a few beers. Then the farce of getting in. Why on earth the stewards thought that frisking every supporter, Airport security style was a good idea, heaven only knows.
Whilst we waiting to get in we worked out it would have taken some 6 hours + to frisk all of us. The mood turned angry as it was obvious a lot of were going to miss the kick off. It got worse as we heard the roar of the home fans signalling their first goal. Then the stewards stopped frisking & we were let in slowly. We managed to get in two minutes before Defoe scored but there were many who missed both the Pompey goals.
The rest was very disappointing as I felt we had enough to win & never saw us losing. So the dream was over, we headed back to our hotel and the long drive back to Pompey.
We clocked nearly 1300 miles over those few days & nearly 2500 miles in the three trips. Drove through France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland & Germany. Had some highs & lows. Eat well, drank a lot, stayed in some good hotels & it probably cost about £500.00 per person for the whole experience. My Vital European Tour T Shirt was worn to every match, thanks Chix.
I had my European tour & with my best mate Dave and saw them all.
At least I can say I did it my way.
Written by storagematt.
The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.