On Saturday 18th May it was my first major trip to Wembley, the home of England football. Ever since I was a kid and this probably goes for most kids also you could only dream of being in places like this, so you can imagine how I felt when I got the honour of being their for the League 2 play off final between Northampton and Bradford. Having got a text again off Barry I literally ran around the house shouting at the top of my voice, not making any sense at all with my parents and brother saying has this lad lost the plot again!! I finally calmed down and told the family that I would be going to Wembley and they replied…..well you can imagine them saying I was a lucky so and so.
Weeks had passed and the day before the Play Off Final finally came around. I packed my bags the day before and set myself off for London. I wasn’t due to meet the officials till the Saturday so I decided to go up the day before prepare and visit some family members who lived close by to Wembley. It was a really nice day as I haven’t seen them in a long time and was great having time to chill before match day, even going into Central for a brilliant meal in Soho. You always know when you are in the heart of the cosmopolitan city that London is when the buzz hits you, this got me even more excited about the next day.
So after an early and sleepless night because of my excitement the day had finally come around. It was Wembley day!! Nothing would ever beat this feeling of waking up, having my breakfast and then setting out towards the hotel where the officials were staying. After arriving at the hotel just before 10am I met Barry, who then took me on to meet the officials and there partners. I felt very welcomed, and after some photos being taken outside the hotel on a hot day it was time to head to the ground.
After the warm ups being done I set about on the pre match routines of pre massage, teams sheets coming into the officials changing room with captains of both sides and then the teams lining up in the tunnel. Out they walked, and out I followed just behind the players to a chorus of noise, mind blowing and ear deafening. I sat in my seat and watched the first half which Bradford dominated going three up in half hour, and the Bradford fans going wild. It remained like this for the whole game with Bradford going onto lift the trophy and to have the opportunity to play in League 1. Whilst the players were celebrating with the fans, Keith Stroud’s officiating team, and I stood in the centre of the Wembley pitch taking it all in for the final time before going back into the changing rooms. A few post match treatments followed before packing up and going into the players and officials lounge to go for a well earned soft drink…yes soft drink lol. Now here was a place glittered with buzz, excitement a chance to meet players of both sides as well as legends of the game, was almost like a social event and chance to take a time out and leave the work behind.
So after an hour or so we left Wembley and we were onto the evening do where we went to a restaurant called Ristorante Belvadere in Ealing. For those who are into there restaurants I really do recommend this one. Having had a top notch meal and a few drinks to celebrate a momentous day it was back to hotel for another few drinks before I headed back towards Harrow where I was staying. My cousin picked me up where we then went to a bar to relax and unwind. So from being at Wembley in front of 47,000 fans to a bar to just relax and talk about my day, this is what dreams and life is made of, wouldn’t have it any other way. Epic day which will never be forgotten and how I was eager for some more….