Friendly Fun

7 08 2010
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Athletic Bilbao 1
Friendly

The Jet Set’s salad days were spent in the city of Wolverhampton so we developed a soft spot for this ugly, lovely place. We also have a soft spot for the Basque area of Europe in general and their football clubs in particular, The trouble is you don’t get to combine these two interests very often. We noticed that Wolves were playing Athletic in a friendly, Bingo!! What better way is there to combine the two!!! 

The weather was changeable as we waited to go in, veering between showers and sunshine.. The Jet Set decided to sit with the away fans as this was likely to be more fun, and it was!! The Jet Set expected to  hear the Basque language today but our untrained ears mostly heard Spanish. The Athletic fans were given a whole stand and despite numbering only 50 odd they were noisy as well as a bit of fun.

The action on the pitch didn’t offer more than a few glimpses of “action”. Wolves scored first and then Athletic equalised. Because the Athletic fans had the temerity to sing when Wolves scored some Wolves fans turned to goad us. Didn’t someone tell them it was a friendly and we were the guests.

There were a few distractions from the match. There weren’t just Basque visitors for a start, we had Irish fans to our right, with their political flags, there were fellow Britishers to our left with Athletic tattoos and half-time bonhomie, in front of us there were a couple of Villa fans, one of which was guilty about not going to see Athletic last season. The Jet Set had a nice chat with them. They commiserated when we told them of a steward’s warning, apparently we’d need a license to take photos at a friendly match. In our end there was bonhomie all round!

During the first half the Jet Set found out how Mexican waves start. Normally we disdain the bloody things but when you’re near the creation of one they don’t seem as bad. It started when one young lady stood up, on the second time a couple more joined in. By the next time they stood up other people had realised what was going on and joined in. Soon every Athletic fan was out of their seat with their hands in the air.

This is where the fun starts, the young lady that started the whole enterprise then encouraged the South Bank near us to join in. It took three goes before people noticed, after a couple of minutes this caught on and eventually the waves went around the ground. It was quite amusing to see the effect of a small group on a large crowd.

The second half was much of the same in terms of the football, except that Wolves scored a winner. Moments after lying prone Sylvain Ebanks-Blake arose to stand in the right position at the right time. After scoring he collapsed again. Unfortunately Athletic never looked likely to score as Wolves seemed a bit bulkier in the challenge.

Mind you friendlies are not really about the result. This friendly lived up to its description as the Jet Set had a very good time with loads of friendly people. Football’s nice after all.

(Pictures to Follow)

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