The Euros Paris Part 1
ats not a young Vladimir Putin 2nd from the right.*
Those who know me know that I am big into my football. I play at a decent level and I love nothing better than watching a great game. I got a text a couple of years ago planting the seed about heading to the Euros in France.
Only across the water sure and France is where my great grandfather came from before coming to Ireland to sow his oats. I am familar with France having been to Paris about 5 times, stayed on a boat for 3 month in Marseille and having been to Bordeaux with my wife a month earlier.
Kenneth, the planner & organiser of the group had the excel document done.
Tickets were scarce so the 5 that were going had to apply for 4 tickets each for the 3 games in the group. Belgium, Italy and Sweden. This was alot of tickets which would cost alot of money if we were successful. We were all given different tickets categories to apply for because there was no point on us all applying for the same ones at once, miss the lower categories and then be left with nothing. So I applied for the category 2 of course which were the best seats excluding the directors boxes. Kenneth had airbnb apartments booked in every city in France that the Euros were to be held. When the fixtures were released he cancelled six and kept the 3 locations. Paris Bordaeux and Lille. Isn't that just genius! The tickets were to go on sale at 9am the week after so we all managed to get near a laptop so we could apply. So we waited and waited to see which of us got tickets for the matches. Now bear in mind that best friends from where I come from wallow in the others misery so whoever got the most tickets gets bragging rights.
- Me - 8 X category 2 tickets (4 for Ireland vs Sweden and 4 for Ireland vs Belgium)
- Kenneth - 2 x category 3 tickets for Ireland vs Sweden
- Hammer - 2 x category 4 tickets for Ireland vs Italy (which noone wanted)
- Jos - Sweet fuck all
- Ian -Sweet Fuck all.
Kenneth is my bestie so he knew he was looked after with tickets plus he booked the appartment. Clever man. The Sweden match in Paris was covered. The other 3 lads had to butter me up because I was the key to the Belgium match in Bordeaux. I set up a "Be nice to Blanchy and you get a ticket because 3 into 2 doesnt go" tracker. It was a great couple of months of deals and backstabbing. I was in my element. In the end I managed to get 1 more Belgium tickets from the job but I didn't let on until I got there.
We flew to paris the day before the match and immediately went to the fanzones at the Eiffel tower.
The fan zones were mad. Old men jumping around singing. The fanzone had no cover and security was tight. I went to go to the toiletand thats when the downpour came. A really bad one.
Fortunately I was in the only shelter in the fanzone at the time . The portaloo. I rang Kenneth and took him I had shelter. Third one on the left and give 3 knocks.
Welcome to my humble abode I said as I opened the door to see all the drowned rats outside. We stayed in that beautiful setting for a good hour.Not one for slumming it we had enough of the Tomfoolery and headed for a glass of gin to celebrate our arrival in Paris.
The whole of Ireland is up at the Moulin Rouge said a guy.
We are going to get up there now. It is going off up there. One big party. And it was....
There were drunk Irish people everywhere, hanging out of signposts, singing, dancing. The corner shop that sold alcohol was doing its best trade in a decade. There was a good 2 thousand Irish fans there.
We met our friend Snowy in the green shamrock suit talking to a random naked guy about politics. He had lost his top in somewhere he had told us but did not mind a bit. At least he didn't lose his sunglasses. The Irish had landed and any car passangers that passed the Moulen rouge that night were taken out of their vehicle and ballroom danced with. It caused a logistical nightmare for the French police who had us all nice and safe in the fanzones. Why so many Irish ended up in the Moulin Rouge is the big question.
The next day we made our way to headquarters again and the party was still in full swing. The Romanian buskers were having a great time with us and I managed to film a short snippet of the atmosphere which was great. We love a good old Russian Kalinka.
We were 3 hours away from the match and found out the trains had stopped running.
How far it is from the Stadt de France?
Are you serious?
And like the good Irish farmers we were, we walked all the way to the stadium. The stadium looked great and we got there with about 30 minutes to spare. The atmosphere in the ground was amazing and Ireland scored first. Zlatan then got the equaliser for Sweden and the game finished 1-1.
We were catching the fast train to Bordeaux the following day for the next match but thats for another day!