The Bucket List, part eight
8. These are the Champions de de de de de deeeee
Welcome to the Headers & Volleys Bucket List. World football is a big place and sometimes there seems almost too much to see. In this series we will be looking at the top things to see and do, before you pop your clogs. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section below, or contact us here and we will feature the best entries on the site.
Ryan Leverton of SportsLeviathan.com concludes his journey through his own Bucket List with today’s final instalment. Here, Ryan looks at one of the world’s most prestigious club competitions, the Champions League.
Whilst I love international football, in the most part because I am patriotic and I love supporting the same team as all my friends, hugging and chanting with people who on a regular Saturday would be a foe more than pal, club football is everyone’s bread and butter. I am certainly not one of these people who doesn’t care about England and would prefer to watch their club every week; there is space in my life for both and I would cheer Rooney one week in a white shirt and then snarl at his quality the following when white turns to red (the shirt not the card!). However, what gives me goosebumps, gets my blood pumping and epitomises my love for football is when you walk into a full stadium on a European night.
Liverpool fans I’m sure would testify their home games in the Champions League are electric and it is true I am sure of all clubs, well, at least once you get down to the nitty-gritty of the competition. In our English stadiums the attendance due to stewarding and safety is reduced, however, the atmosphere remains unrivalled. It illustrates many things, not least that people seem to care most about winning the Champions League as well as that fans are willing to go that extra mile to create a winning support, even more so in European matches than domestic.
I went to Chelsea 4 Liverpool 4. Despite being the craziest match I can remember, my lasting memory was that I didn’t think the atmosphere could get any better at Stamford Bridge. A home, knockout Champions league tie (preferably the second leg) is memorable and a must for our ‘bucket list’.
An away trip in Europe is also highly advised. As a young man I was fortunate enough that the team I supported were successful in Europe. I visited Stockholm, Barcelona, Milan and Rome. The excitement on the flight with fans singing at 30,000 feet, coupled with the continental squares full of football colours and litre stein glasses is unforgettable. As I previously mentioned, the idea of this list is supposed to be things that are achievable, but whoever you support, a trip abroad in some capacity is a must.
I have friends who support Tottenham and they have relished the Europa league and its opportunities to venture to pastures unusual. Growing up, the ultimate test was always ‘Europe’. Will they get into Europe? How will they cope in Europe? Can they become champions of Europe? It is a different yet nonetheless special experience and if you get the chance it is a ‘must do’
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If you love football, create a Bucket List and do those things before you die, here is mine.
1) Visit Ashborne and watch Shrovetide Football
2) Go to Austria and debate the weekend away in a Viennese Coffee house
3) Take a trip to Brazil play football on the streets, the beach and the Maracana
4) Attend an FA cup final at Wembley (or an equivalent final)
5) Watch a game on the terraces
6) Watch a ‘Derby’ match – Fenerbache vs Galatasary and Boca vs River Plate
7) Go to the World Cup
8) Experience a Champions League Knockout match (Home / Away or both)
We will be breaking from the Bucket List for a couple of weeks, but will return with more instalments of the things to do in football before you die. A huge thank you to Ryan for his extensive, detailed and intriguing looks under the skin of the best football experiences, and for providing us with no little laughter and entertainment along the way. We urge and implore you to check Ryan’s cracking site SportsLeviathan.com.
If you’d like to contribute to the Headers & Volleys Bucket List, with some of your own experiences you want others to try, or with the dreams of games or stadia or teams you hope one day to visit, please do get in touch.