London. The Premier League.
This was a day I had dreamed about ever since I started following soccer (football) as an elementary schooler. I grew up playing soccer, following the top leagues, and playing FIFA Ultimate Team religiously. As the date on my ticket approached, I couldn’t have been more excited. I was able to see the team I follow, the Tottenham Hotspurs, at Wembley Stadium.
Step 1: Follow the Season
Before attending a Premier League game, it is important to stay up to date on the weekly matches and fixtures of the league. This year the dominant team, among others, has been Manchester City. Man City is then followed distantly by Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham in the league table to round out the top four teams. This season has been a bit of a revival for Liverpool, who came up big in top games like their recent win against Man City last month.
Step 2: Acquire Ticket
Luckily, thanks to my Uncle, I was able to connect with a Tottenham season-ticket holder. He wasn’t able to attend the game, and offered to resell his ticket to me. I met him outside a Pret’s, (one of the best things London has to offer). I got the ticket and was off to my flat.
Step 3: Plan Your Game Day
The game I was able to attend was 3 weekends ago – Tottenham Hotspurs versus Manchester City Football Club. The game was at Wembley Stadium, which was about 20 minutes from my flat in Kilburn Park. The Spurs are playing at Wembley this season while their new stadium, the newWhite Hart Lane, is finishing its construction. Their new stadium will be state of the art. The club plans to host 4-5 American Football games in London a season, with a stadium featuring retractable grass and turf fields.
To get to Wembley, I had to take a bus to the Jubilee line and take that straight to Wembley. The trip was fairly easy and because of the Tube’s efficiency, there was fairly little traffic.
The next tip for anyone looking for an authentic game day experience is to research the local pubs that the team’s supporters go to. I was able to find one fairly easily with a simple google search.
Step 4: Game Day
On the actual game day, I arrived with a friend about two hours before kickoff at the pub outside the stadium. At the door, the bouncer asked if we were Tottenham supporters. The rivalry runs so deep here that if I answered no, he would not have let me in. Unlike in the United States, the pub was not playing a match pregame rundown on TV. Instead, they were playing s horse race that I assume many of the people inside the pub had bet some money on.
After hitting the pub, my friend and I walked to our seats. The atmosphere in person was nothing short of electric. Anytime a rival player touched the ball, the crowd erupted in boos. The supporters knew by heart several chants that they sang throughout the match. The main concourse was buzzing with excitement before the game as the home fans anticipated a great match that day.
Unfortunately, Tottenham lost the game that day, but it was a great game nonetheless. I look forward to seeing more soccer matches worldwide as I get more travel experience