Stamford Bridge – Chelsea VS Brighton. My first football match.
I was out at the Bell in West Mosley having lunch with the family when I received a message in the dads WhatsApp group. One of these lovely gentlemen offered up 2 free tickets to tonight’s Chelsea vs Brighton game!
I have never been to an English football game, so I was keen to take them off his hands. Especially as it mean I got a night out without the kids!
Luckily my wife was cool with me going out so I now needed to find a wingman. I can honestly tell you that I didn’t have too many choices as it was such short notice and of course in the middle of the holidays. With that said my first call went to none other than my father-in-law, Keith.
Thankfully he was keen to go so we made plans to meet at 4:30pm so we could head off early. With kick off starting at 7:30pm, this gives us plenty of time to take the trains and get in a few pints.
We arrived with an hour and a half to spare so we head into a place called Kona Kai London. It is located directly across the road from the Britannia Gate entrance. This was perfect for us so we headed in for some drinks. To my horror they were not serving Guinness, but we settled on some neck oil instead.
We managed to fit in 2 pints before we headed in with 30 min to spare.
We headed in through the west gates entrance and up the many many flights of steps! To my amazement the ground were impeccably clean. The food and bar areas were fully staffed and super clean. White floors and walls meant that the area was very brights and easy to navigate. At this point I remembered that you can’t drink at your seats. I managed a Guinness or two, made a run to the toilet then we headed to our seats.
Fantastic seats too as we were in the front row near the Shed End.
Around the 20 min point I realised no one was getting up from their seat to get a drink or go to the toilet. Apparently its not good form to get up during gameplay. This is disastrous! I was struggling for the rest of the half and couldn’t wait to hit the head. I realised now that I had to stop drinking the Guiness.
I had to focus on the gameplay and as an American who has never really cared about football this was also a struggle. As time went on I really started to appreciate the game and the stadium.
It was a real pleasure to have the massive heaters just in front of us but our seats great. the stadium seating was set in away that the levels were placed very much ontop of eachother. Not sure if that is great for the people in the back row below us but I won’t make their problems mine.
The game was a bit slow as I believe Chelsea had some issues with players getting covid. Either way I have to say I began to enjoy it. The game is so much better in a live setting rather than watching it on TV.
To the delight of the crowd, Chelsea went up 1-0 in the first half. The crowd was not what I had expected as everyone was polite and courteous to each other. It may had been different if I was wearing Brighton gear though. The half ended and I finally got relief! We had some red wine instead and discussed our exit plan. It was 8:30pm so we needed to leave early if we were to get a seat at one of our local pubs. Only one place said they would be serving at 10pm so we made plans to leave during a break in game play. As we scuffled out of our seats and out of the stadium it was clear we were not the only ones with this plan.
As we got on the tube from Fulham Broadway we heard that Brighton equalized!
What a shame we couldn’t have seen it live but the curry house was not going to stay open if we missed our time slot. We did pull into Wimbledon and see that we had to wait 30 min for our train so we sucked it up and got an Uber. Thankfully we got dropped off just in time to get our food and a bit more wine!
My final thoughts would be that Stamford Bridge is a beautiful stadium and I recommend everyone go see a game there. The game is much better watched live so I do believe I will be going to more games in other stadiums. I am a bit spoiled living in London as there are so many clubs to go watch. I will also be going to see some lower level clubs that are much more local to me.
Rugby is still my favorite English sport but English football may have just gotten one more fan…….maybe!