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Unexpected Football Blessings to Make Even Lady Luck Raise an Eyebrow


Hold onto your hats, because this tale of football fandom is about to kick off in the most unexpected way!



📸 MNM



Picture this: a Friday evening, the phone rings, and it's one of your girlfriends offering tickets (free tickets!!!) to watch Manchester United play tomorrow. My brain had already jumped ahead, planning how we'd get to Manchester and where we would stay—been there, done that, and hated the packed trains and drunken football hooligans at eight in the morning. But who cares? The tickets were FREE! I couldn't believe my luck. The catch? It's a Spurs vs. United game at the new Tottenham stadium 🤪😜



PART I. A RIVAL'S ARENA


This resolved the issues of travel, accommodation, and football hooligans since I could see the Tottenham stadium in the distance from where I live!


But sitting with home fans when you're a mad supporter of the rival team is always tricky.

Yet, I've done it many times and I could DEFINITELY do it again.


Hmmm and how would my hubby, a die-hard Arsenal fan (who has refused without a moment’s hesitation on every occasion to accompany me to at least walk around OUTSIDE the stadium so I can marvel at the incredible architecture) take the news?


Well, no time to think about that—all is fair in the game of football fandom. I screamed yes down the phone, beyond excited to see my boys play and visit the shiny new £1 billion stadium everyone had been raving about! Woohoo! I was ecstatic!




📸 MNM



Excitedly and cautiously, I broke the news to Oliver, who with an abrupt tone and a huge sigh of relief, said, "As long as you don’t drag me along with you…."  We decided to get there early on match day to explore and take a million pics! And when we finally made our way to our seats, we were slightly gobsmacked as we were directed to the hospitality entrance. We had dressed casually for comfort, unaware that we would face extra security checks.


People kept questioning if we were in the right section and scrutinized our tickets multiple times to confirm we were supposed to be there. I should have been offended, but I didn’t care as long as we passed the checks and got INTO the stadium. And it seems we were! My girlfriend was equally surprised and taken aback by the questions and curious looks, but mostly because her colleague had failed to mention that these were hospitality tickets with complimentary food and drink. Bring on the sparkling!


📸 MNM



What an experience it was! The incredible crowd, the friendliest granddad and grandson sitting next to us. The grandad, a Chelsea supporter (yet another rogue Spurs fan – thank goodness!), was tasked with chaperoning his 10-year-old grandson, an incredibly enthusiastic Spurs supporter who sang every song, shouted, cursed at his team’s incompetence at times, and revelled in the joy as his team secured an impressive victory.


Meanwhile, I wore my well-practiced happy face, perfected over the last few months thanks to United's dismal season—full of losses, draws, and the occasional win when they could be bothered to make an effort!



PART II. A KICK-OFF LIKE NO OTHER


As the football season drew to a close, I received a last-minute invitation to the Emirates Stadium for the final game of the season. With just two hours' notice, I hurriedly donned a red dress—a cheeky nod to my beloved (albeit disappointing) Manchester United and a clever disguise to blend in with the Arsenal supporters. I stepped into the stadium, ready for whatever the day had in store.


It was the all-important Premier League title decider, and Arsenal had fought determinedly to the very end, playing some of their best football, which had me glued to the screen too!


Let me make this clear upfront – I am still not a convert and will never defect to Arsenal despite Oliver’s continuous coaxing.

He may be charming, but even his charm has its limits when it comes to football 😉😜


📸 MNM



The atmosphere was electric, the energy palpable. High hopes? You betcha. The game was a nail-biter, with every pass, tackle, and goal sending waves of excitement through the roaring crowd.


And Mikel Arteta’s impeccably groomed eyebrows? Well, let’s just say they deserve their own fan club.

And yes, if you’re wondering, I do have a bit of a crush—sorry, Oliver!



🎵🎶 'Super Mik Arteta'



Sharing the camaraderie with fellow fans, I watched the action unfold with bated breath. The thrill of the match, the electrifying atmosphere, and the shared passion for the game made it an unforgettable experience. The super-anxious Gunners fan next to me was ecstatic—jumping, screaming, high-fiving whenever Arsenal almost/scored—and despondent—cursing, screaming, and shaking his head whenever Man City almost/scored!


Even as a die-hard United supporter, I found myself backing the Gunners because, seriously, who wanted Man City to win the title again?

Apologies, Pep—I love EVERYTHING about YOU and greatly admire your management and leadership style, but Man City is still the enemy, lol!



🎵🎶 'North London Forever'



Unfortunately, although Arsenal won the match, they lost the title race—a hard pill to swallow for the manager, club, and fans, but especially for Oliver, who needed at least a week to recover from the heartache (cue eye roll!).



📸 MNM



As I left the stadium, my heart full and spirits high, I knew that this unexpected blessing would linger in my memory long after the final whistle. The game was exhilarating, the crowd was incredible, and the experience was nothing short of magical.


Sometimes, it's the unexpected moments that bring the greatest joy.

And who knows? Perhaps next season will be kinder and bring better fortunes to my beloved Manchester United.


Until then, I’ll cherish this delightful detour into the world of the Gunners and the electric atmosphere of the Emirates Stadium.


P.S. I had hoped that by the time you read this article, the whole saga with Ten Hag had come to an end. And indeed it has! At this moment, I’m still torn regarding Ten Hag! And in my humble opinion, a definite NO-NO to Southgate— it was the RIGHT decision ... just putting it out there!



PART III. A CHAMPION'S LEAGUE SURPRISE


As I strolled to the tube station after a business meeting in the City, I stumbled upon a giant inflatable UEFA Champions League trophy. Little did I know that I had wandered into a four-day festival for the UEFA Champions League final. The streets were alive with celebration, featuring some Bayer Leverkusen players at Tower Bridge as London threw an incredible party in anticipation of the Champions League Final.


The vibrant, joyful atmosphere begged to be captured in a series of pictures (below):



📸 MNM


As I eagerly anticipate the next season, here’s to unexpected blessings, Lady Luck, and the beautiful game of football. If there are any more complimentary tickets available, you know where to find me (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)!


Meanwhile, my husband decided to purchase an England football shirt for me for the Euros under the assumption that I would be backing England. It will be a challenge for him to convince me to wear it. On the other hand, he firmly believes 'it's be coming home' with one of the greatest English teams to have played on the pitch (in his opinion, of course)... all while I am stubbornly writing these words in my South African Springbok rugby jersey 😉😘



 

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1 Comment


Great read Mel...my fav being the Spurs experience given my long time love for the badge...Definitely a bucket list item for me and now just confirmation form another footy lover that it's an amazing experience. So proud of your creative work, keep it up, you are doing great...all the best..Yugs😀

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