Obviously since I’d already been here 4 days, it meant I was neglecting my soccer watching responsibilities, so I decided to go the intra-London primetime match between Tottenham and Crystal Palace.
When I said to a friend that I wanted to go to the game, I said “Soccer game. No. Soccer match. No. Football match.” I think I’m getting the hang of it.
I arranged to meet with a guy on craigslist to buy a ticket for £40. I also got one of those brick phones activated since I had gone and survived and thrived for 3 full days without a phone. I took the Underground to the Overground and travelled 40 minutes to the Crystal Palace stop. Then I stepped outside the station and asked someone “So where’s the football stadium” (told you I was getting the hang of it). She replied that the Crystal Palace stadium is not at Crystal Palace. I was like “Excuse me.” She said that Crystal Palace plays at the stop Norwood Junction. This is messed up. It’s like the New York Giants/Jets and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I won’t stand for it.
It took me another hour to get to the stadium even though it was only 3 stops away because the public transit system doesn’t like me. Actually, I just thought of a new oxymoron: public works. Anyway, the craigslist person of course didn’t call so now I arrived at the stadium (after a 5 minute, follow everybody else type of walk) without a ticket. The first thing I see when I get in range of the stadium is some drunk guy looking up to and waving his hand in front of the police dude’s face who was on top of a horse (in the way you might to the Buckingham Palace guards). So I kind of wander lost around the stadium yelling “Extra ticket?” in a increasingly dejected voice as it becomes clear that just like the bus thing yesterday, the Brits just don’t like talking to people in public. Then, as I circumambulate the stadium, I run into an actual riot, with a line of police holding hands blocking my way. This is just getting unpleasant. I turn around.
I go to one of the dudes selling officially licensed scarves on the street corner and go “so where do the people sell extra tickets” and he goes “they walk up and down this street…but I only seen one of em today.” I didn’t find him and the game started. I kept walking around and finally get to the ticket office (which was blocked by the riot earlier, which is why I had to go all the way around to reach it). They have a few remaining £40 tickets available but you have to be a Crystal Palace member which costs a whole bunch more £££. So I go in line and I tap the person in front of me and say “I’ll give you £50 if you buy me a £40 ticket” (I only had ‘ten-ners’ on me). He and his friend discussed it over and DID IT. I was in. I didn’t take any pictures in this whole ordeal because until this point I didn’t want to remember it.
Then we show up to our seats, which are in the second row – the SECOND row. The entire stadium is completely full except for this 30-seat block 15 yards from the midline in the first four rows. That’s how it’s done…