25th of February 2005 - 27th of February 2005
Coca Cola Championship
Sunderland - Cardiff City
score: 2-1 (4' min Gary Breen 1-0, 41' min Marcus Stewart 2-0, 85' min Tony Vidmar 2-1)
I was still in doubt if I would write a review about our trip to and back from Sunderland. But our Lazarus kept reminding me and so did the Daily Telegraph, Elsevier and Football International (and that cheque with 1200 GBPounds helped). Anyway, Lazarus had everything perfectly organised again.
Hillegom, 25th of February. In the early morning a convoy of 2 cars arrived at Pep and Drew's Hofzicht. Father Gup and Mrs. Peur (and Finn) picked up and brought Pep, Lazarus, Drew, Gup and Peur to Schiphol for the flight to Leeds/Bradford. The check-in was an eggy, but only the customs weren't and it was Gup again with the cucumber and the aluminium paper in his pants. Please leave this at home for the next trip Gup, it is always delay.... We were also looking for our old pal Barry Hughes, but no Barry this time. When we had arrived in Good Old England we took a taxi to Leeds' trainstation for the train to Scum city. (sorry, it is N#wc#stle, but my pen can't write that down, it is still enemy number 1, like C#nc#rdia). The taxidriver was from Pakistan. A nice bloke with lots of humour.
Finally on the train. There wasn't much space left. So we were all over the train. Drew had a good time with two men on the opposite of him. Both asleep. I think Drew told them about his sweet seashell collection. We arrived at N#wc#stle. We had another photo taken with the Sunderland scarf under the N#wc#stle sign. Last time we had no luck with taking this photo. We were on it, but the scarf and the sign weren't. It was no good photographer that time (or the Lads were too quick in getting the scarf in their bags again. You don't want to get caught by a group of Scum supporters). We took the train to Sunderland where our friend Jonathan was waiting for us. We said hello and walked to Jonathan's home. We smelled the nice Sunderland smell. But Guppio had to spoil it with a huge fart, so we regret our choice of getting that smell in the first place.
We arrived at Jonathan's and there had been a huge change! There was a woman in the house and they had weddingplans! Christ! You leave this man alone for 18 months, and this happens! Her name is Kathy, football mad (Nottingham Forest) and a nice and friendly woman. We dropped our bags in our rooms and off to the pub. It was time for a nice cold beer (the ones on the train weren't cold). First stop at the New Derby (near the old Roker Park stadium where there is new houses now) for something to eat, talk and drink. Then off to our "own" pub the Howard Arms. It is a special feeling when you walk inside. You feel at home. We had a great time because some of Jonathan's friends (and for us as well after all those years) came by to see us again. Steve, Dave and Tony drank a couple of pints with us. Later that night we were still drinking (but not for Pep, who needed something fressssssh; Gin Tonic) but now in the clubs in towncentre. The dress-code is a bit different then we are used to. The English women haven't that much clothes on in the freezing cold Sunderland-nights, while me and 4 other Dutch blokes are wearing there thick winter-coats. On the way back to Jonathan's we got into a take-away and Pep left a left-over outside the take-away. So time for bed everyone, tomorrow Matchday!
After a couple of hours sleep, we were early awake again. But that is also something special at Jonathan's. You can talk, have breakfast and play pool at the same time! Time flies when you've got something to do. And it was Matchday and we also needed to shop! We went into towncentre and ran straight into Sportsoccer. Sale signs were on (yes, we are Dutch), lots of bargain-shopping so double fun! With loads of shopping bags we went back to Jonathan to drop our bags there. Get dressed for the match (top on, make-up on etc.) and off to the pub where some other old friends were waiting for us. Mark and his wife (Sam) were there too. Mark was working for the British army and stayed in Germany for a couple of years. We met him about 4 years ago when Sunderland played some pre-season friendlies in Holland and Belgium (Fortuna, Vitesse, KV Mechelen, Antwerpen, NAC, AA Gent, Sint Truiden). We went to all these matches and sometimes (Heerenveen) the mrs. (Queen Lazarus; Lenneke, mrs. Peur; Jaime, mrs. Snoek; San) were also in the party. These games were in the middle of the summer and after the matches we were having a couple of drinks on the big market squares of the towns where the match was. We alway met, and were even sometimes in the same hotel as Mark and Sam. They live now with their two kids around Sunderland again, so we had a lot to talk about. Mark had never been in the Howards' and arrived earlier than us. He wasn't sure if this was the right pub, so he walked in, had a good look and saw our photo framed in on the wall, so it had to be the right one!
Time was flying again, so off to the ground. A quick stop of course for a burger with extra onions and get sucked in the red and white atmosphere again, because things are looking good for the club again. Sunderland is third in the table (behind Ipswich Town and Wigan Athletic) of the Coca Cola Championship (awful name) and still have title chances. The Dutch red and white army got on their seats inside the Stadium of Light and cheered at the players. Sunderland played against Cardiff City and they are from Wales. This is not England, so the Sunderland supporters chanted a sarcastic "Ingerland, Ingerland, Ingerland". There were also a lot of sheep-noises inside the ground. The ref blew his whistle for the start of the game. Sunderland started off the better and Lazarus just had said "a quick 1-0 would be nice when the 1-0 went in. Gary Breen was the goalscorer after just 4 minutes. The Cardiff goalkeeper punched a Sunderland corner straight at Gary Breen's feet who drove a great shot in the back of the net from just outside the area. That was a nice early cheer! Sunderland were still the better team for the rest of the fist half, but there were no real good chances. Cardiff was just defending. Just before half time a good cross from the right from Liam Lawrence and Marcus Stewart headed the 2-0 on the scoreboard. This will be a walk over, you start to think then, but you have to stay concentrated then!
Tea-time for the players, and wee-time for most of the crowd. In the mens toilet you stand next to your neighbour and piss in a long tub. When I walked in, Lazarus was already at the tub and behind him was a patient old man waiting for his turn. After a while he looked at Nick and asked if he had a horse-bubble cause it took way too long. The man had a lot of fun and so did we.
In the second half nothing had changed. Sunderland was still in control and it looked like there wasn't much more to see. But in the last couple of minutes Sunderland lost their concentration and former and also future NAC-Breda player Vidmar scored the 2-1. And that could cause some panic on the end of the game. We were on the edge of our seats, so did Gup, but it was just not to fart. There was also a red card for a Cardiff player (Alan Lee). Pffff, the ref blew the final whistle, cause you don't want to drop poins at home against Cardiff. 35.000 people were standing on their seats and the Stadium announcer said please stay inside for this: The other scores in the Championship are Gillingham-Wigan 2-1 and Ipswich-QPR 0-2. The stadium almost erupted. Sunderland were top of the league now and do we need a better reason for another couple of drinks?
Happy, glad and thirsty we went inside the Howard Arms. Mark was already in que for a pint. Five Dutch blokes walk in and.....yes, they get a pint as soon as they walk in from the bar. Mark could'nt believe his eyes, so we ordered quick another one for him as well, and everything was fine again. We had a great time again, but time flies again when you're having fun. The pounds went into the cash-register and we went to a wedding. It was hard to leave the Howards', but one of Jon's friends was getting married, and we were also invited at the party. So no karaoke, what was a shame for Lazarus who loves to do a karaoke.
We went into a taxi-van to a small village in the middle of nowhere. And weddings in England are much different that we are used to. There is a buffet with food. You can get anything you want from there. Chickenwings, cakes, saucages etc. But for the drinks......you have to pay! Not getting pissed on the account of the just married couple. You have to pay it yourself! Pep, Gup and Peur know if they still want to get married, where the are going to get married. Lazarus and Drew had a bit of mixed feelings. So if you get a cheque from them, you know where it came from..... You have to enjoy yourself by having fun together at a party like this. But this is not excactly our style. But anyway, we had a good time. There was much time for some good talking. We were talking about our own Hillegom 5th team (evaluation). There were some huge discussions with knifes on the tabel. They were there because of the food! Around midnight we arrived in the Howards' again. We knocked the secret code on the door (Heja Jan Bols) and we could get in. It was still crowded inside. It was our last night out, the end was near. Scott, the former owner of the Howard Arms, was there as well, He lives and works in Spain now, so it was nice to see him again. Around 4.00 AM the pub really closed, so we had to leave.
Four short hours of sleep later, we were already showered and we talked, had breakfast and played pool at the same time again. Why is time always flying when you're having fun? We thanked Jon and Kathy for their hospitality again and we went into the taxi which took us to N#wc#stle station, the train wasn't running. It was very busy in Scum city. Scum Utd played a home game this afternoon. A lot of people in those ugly home tops who were walking to the ground. It still is nice to watch as a footie-fan. A lot of people, men, women, kids who walk to their ground in their own colours. Why can't we have this in Haarlem for instance?
At the station, the train wouldn't start. It was an old train and we couldn't leave it alone. So truck- and bus-drivers Drew and Peur helped the train-driver. Drew was shouting at the driver, don't do that or you will kill the engine, pupil! Peur got his start-pilot out of his bag and yes, the train started. Tell us something about engines, hah!
We did everything the other way around. N#wc#stle-Leeds-Leeds-Leeds/Bradford and off to Schiphol Amsterdam. That was it again. From now on live-life-to-the-miniumum again. We have had a great time again. Whatever we do, we have to do this trips every year!
Red and white greetings from:
Nick, Peur, Pep, Tim en Drew
(written by Drew)