On the poker front I played five $6 turbs on Tuesday night and took down two of them.
End of poker content for this post!
Before my trip report I wanted to say I was sorry to hear today of the death of ex Celtic player and manager,Tommy Burns,from cancer.I don't have much time for any celtc players,past or present but he was a true gentleman and will be missed by all decent football fans in Glasgow and beyond.
Ok,at about 9.30am yesterday I picked my cousin up and after stopping at the bank we hit the road to Manchester for the Uefa Cup final.We lost the game 2-0 in the end, but apart from the result we had an amazing day from the moment we hit the motorway on the way down.It seemed every car had Rangers flags and scarves hanging from it and every bridge we passed under has banners of support and people waving.Manchester city council now estimate aprox 200,000 people made the trip and it certainly felt like we were at home when we arrived in Manchester.
We were due to meet friends of my cousin and we were lucky enough to grab a parking space near to the centre of the city.The visit to the bank earlier had been to withdraw enough to allow us to pay a ticket tout a vastly inflated price for a game my cousin and I decided we just couldn't miss.We met up with the tout and did the deal ( two tickets for £1160/$2250 ) in a lift in a shop.My mum reckons we were "deranged" to pay that kind of money but it's coming out of my poker account and despite the score it was still worth every last penny.
Thanks to Mark at Pokerpains for his post on the strength of the Dollar.I've now extended my overdraft ( for 3 months) to cover the cost of my tickets and will cashout when the dollar hopefully hits around $1.70 as per his advice and will obviously sue Mark,siting his blog post if it doesn't. :-)))
After we'd secured our tickets we walked to the fanzones which were just a massive sea of red,white and blue.There was a huge US flag in one of the zones and some guys/gals had even travelled from as far as Australia and Singapore for the game.The atmosphere was friendly and the local police and people could not have been more helpful or welcoming.We did meet up with my cousins friends for a short while before my cousin and I headed off in the car to try and find the stadium for the game.
I was disappointed by the Asda store and Macdonalds attitude.They are both right beside the stadium and neither would allow parking for the match.Now on normal matchdays I can understand that but surely when you have so many visitors from another country visiting,an exception could have been made for once.We had even bought food/drinks from Asda but there was a guy with a clipboard taking registration numbers to enforce the 1 hour 45 min max stay rule they have.Luvin' it? I don't think so.
We did get parked ok ( £10 at nearby rip off car park) and for once ( my cousin and I always run late) we made it to the ground with plenty of time to spare.The tickets we bought looked genuine but we were still both relieved to see a wee green light for "go" when we scanned the barcode at the turnstiles.We may have paid over the odds, however they were fantastic seats positioned right on the halfway line and just above where the press sit.
The game itself flew in faster than any I've ever experienced.Zenit are a good team and had by far the better of the play in the first half with Rangers content to contain them.We started the second half more brightly and made a couple of good chances before they scored with a neat move in the 72nd minute.We threw men forward and were caught out again with the last kick of the ball when they scored to make it 2-0.My cousin and I stayed to cheer the efforts of our team and to give applause to the Zenit team as they collected the trophy.
We did have the option to stay with my cousins friends in Manchester which was great but we were on a downer after the game and just wanted to head home.We were soon on the motorway and although we were held up for an hour by an accident ,we made it home safely for just after 2am.
I was saddened to read today of trouble in Manchester caused by a very small minority of the huge number of fans that travelled there.Apparently the big screen that was supposed to be showing the match was switched off just before kick-off and this caused some of the fans to kick off.Rumour now has it that the council switched them off due to the sheer numbers of people as they were worried about health and safety issues if Rangers scored.I'm not for a second condoning any bad behaviour but if the rumour is true it beggars belief.Makes me even more glad my I secured a ticket for the game and headed home afterwards.
Overall my cousin and I had a fantastic day out and although I'm gutted that the Gers didn't win and bring the trophy home,I'll never forget the experience.We are the People!
Off to pick Nacho up shortly,take him for a run and maybe hit the tables later...