We did it! We battled the typical Easter rain to make our way to Wembley and we finally got to see the England team play together. Forget the result, it was a great night.
In spite of the weather, our family made the trip to Leicester Sq before the game. We had a quick look around M&M World before getting some lunch. Then we headed off to Wembley for our first England game as a family.
The atmosphere was great. For a midweek game, the place was packed and even the rain couldn’t dampen spirits. Maybe it was something to do with the Germany result, maybe there was simply a lot of families like ours making the most of the Easter break. Either way, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’m not sure walking up to the stadium filled my girls with the same excitement that the old Twin Towers gave me as a young boy with my Dad, but they definitely enjoyed the buzz. Meanwhile, we got a few snaps outside the ground with the Bobby Moore statue. For once, though, this great man wasn’t the one to be remembered.
Minute 14 of the game was probably the highlight. Even the most casual football fan can appreciate how great Johan Cruyff was and what he meant to the game. After losing his battle with cancer last week, Wembley erupted into applause on minute 14. You don’t often get a poignant beauty at football, but this was it. On a night when we also marked those lost in recent terrorist attacks, there was a real sense of humanity inside Wembley.
As for the football, there wasn’t the same electricity that had been seen in Berlin last weekend. But it was still a relatively enjoyable game, and the girls got to cheer their first England goal too. It was that man Jamie Vardy once more, and the Vardy party certainly had me celebrating!
Before the game, I’d looked at TVBet.co.uk for some tips on the game. Jamie Vardy to score at odds of 19/10. I put £20 on and got back £58. The second half Netherlands goals also meant that a secondary bet meant that my £20 bet on that won a further £21. Overall, that £50 profit nearly covered the cost of all four tickets. Splendid.
Of course, it would’ve been nice to see an England win, but it doesn’t matter in a friendly. More importantly, the family enjoyed it, which is all any parent can ask for. For me, personally, remembering Cruyff is something that I’ll treasure too.
Oh, and the girls also got a free sticker book in the stadium. So that’s their hobby sorted for the next few weeks.
Roll on Euro 2016.