First of all, well done to all the lads and lasses who made it to Austria.
Getting booked for Benfica proved a little bit troublesome, as direct flights from the toon to Lisbon were hard to come by. So Sunday morning sees us at the airport for a 6am flight to Faro.
Usual away match squad. Me, Phil from the Perri and the two Bris (AKA Itchy and Scratchy).
With the flight heading to Faro, it was full of families off to the Algarve. Descending into Faro, the sound of babies crying, whinging and needing their nappies changed, started to become overbearing. However, once the air stewardess had given Itchy and Scratchy some more beer the dramas stopped!!!
Canny day on the Monday by the Docas on the water front, meeting up with old pals, was the perfect opportunity for a catch up.
Come match day and it was down to Rosario Square for a few pre-match ports, absolutely mobbed with the junior toons who had all their different flags out, tied up outside the bars.
Now this is when it hit me, the junior toons were lads ranging from late teens to 20s / 30s. Seemed like this was the first euro trip for most of them. Whilst for all of them, if you were 15 year old when FCB took over, you would now be 30 year old ish, it is all our younger fans have ever known…
Anyway, off to the match.
First of all, the Benfica ground is a replica of the Emirates at Arsenal.
Secondly, the police after the game were a disgrace. Whacking toon fans indiscriminately who were waiting to get out.
However, the Benfica fans were brilliant. Applauding us leaving the ground and showing us how to go on about getting the metro back into Lisbon. Well done, you are a credit to your club and city.
Had to fly back into Stansted, then a train back home…so a special thanks to the train unions for cancelling our train back home. Luckily for me, my pal Scouser drove to Stansted and picked us up, so we got back late Wednesday night.
Roll on the home friendlies.