6.45 am and we are through security and in the bar area where hundreds of Evertonians were gathered and the amber nectar was already flowing. Dave Watson and Joe Parkinson were there, joining in the party atmosphere and happily sinking pints and having their picture taken with fans. Quality guys both of them.
We arrived at the hotel in Nuremberg city centre just after mid-day and already the town was a sea of Blue and White. Banners and flags were hanging everywhere and it was standing room only in all the bars and pubs. One of the best banners I saw was one which read:
"HELP WITH GLOBAL WARMING, STOP LIVERPOOL FANS FLYING TO HOME GAMES." Classic that one.
After a quick walk around the old town it was time to get stuck into the local beverages. Stieners of draught beer were sunk one after the other and the bar crawl was well under way. It was great to see all the old faces dotted about the place and the Evertonians who made the trip were doing the club and the city proud.
I must say that the German people were the most hospitable and friendliest hosts that I have ever encountered on my travels with Everton and that goes for the Police who were brilliant towards us. I didn't see one bit of bother and the Police kept a very low profile at all times. Spaniards and Italians take note.
Those fans who travelled to Nuremberg ticketless had no worries at all as tickets were on general sale from the club shop which was bang in the middle of the city centre. The touts who had travelled from Merseyside with bundles of spares were gutted. A ticket from the Nuremberg club shop cost 40 euros and the touts were trying to get £60 for thiers and in the end they were selling them face value.
At 7.00pm it was time to make our way to the stadium via a special train that had been laid on to take fans to the game. What a sight that was. There must of been 2.000 mad Scousers on board and it was rocking like nothing I have ever seen before at a football match!
The police allowed fans to get on board the train with their own alchohol and some of our lot were carrying on crates of lager and dishing it out on route. Bottles of spirits were being passed around and you could say that the party was in full swing. The only trouble I had was when the steak burger I had eaten earlier in the day (which turned out to be Horsemeat) started repeating on me and I couldn't help thinking about Shergar and whatever happened to him...
We get into the ground with a hour to spare and not once have I shown my ticket to anyone. The easiest bunking in ground in Europe that place is. The game itself only came to life in the last 10 minutes but who cared? The Everton Blue Army was in full voice and when Arteta slotted home the penalty to go 1-0 up the place went wild. When Victor buried his chance minutes later to make it 2-0 it was pandamonium with ecstatic Evertonian bodies falling and diving on top of one another.
In an instant it was as if all those years of pain and dissapointment in Europe had been wiped from the memory banks and I thought to myself ..... Collina you baldy Bastard ? look at us now!
When the Everton players came over to celebrate with the fans at the end of the match, I couldnt help but think, "This is what its all about, Tony." Standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow Blues and your mates having just beaten a German side 2-0 on their own patch and listening to the deafing noise coming from our supporters... GET IN THERE. Everton are back.
After the game it was back in to town where the drinking session got back in to full flow and still there were thousands of Evertonians in party mood. What amazed me though was the lenghts some had to gone to in order to get to the game. Driving to then flying out of London airports in to the likes of Amsterdam, Cologne and Basle in Switzerland and then taking more planes, trains and automobiles to get to Nuremberg. Some groups were not leaving Germany until Friday night or Saturday morning.
The return journeys must of been real ball breakers after all the hard partying they had just been through but who cares? When you have just witnessed another piece of Everton's history being made, a two-day return journey is nothing to complain about is it?
The next away game in Europe will no doubt be another cracker as Alkmar is only 30 minutes from Amsterdam. The big problem here will be getting your birds to let you go the game with it being so near to Christmas time but whatever you do don't mention the A word (Amsterdam) or you willl have no chance of making it.
My advice to you if you want to get there is give your missus something that is pink, 6 inches long,and drives women wild. Yes fifty pound notes. Buy your way over there if you have to, but get there you must. Believe me it will be worth it.
Missing Everton in European away games is not an option if you can afford it. You never know when we will get the chance to do it again and these are times and memories that will live with you forever. See you in the A place on the 20th of December.... COYBs
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1 Posted 10/11/2007 at 15:06:29
Just wanted to say well done to the Blue fans for behaving and making it such a special day for me, that train journey to the ground and in the subway was simply brilliant, I have goosebumps just thinking of it. Brilliant.
And thank you to the authorities and police for being sound and providing superb transport for us all, it was spot.
2 Posted 10/11/2007 at 15:29:41
It was my first time watching the blues in europe and would go as far to say that it was probable one of the best days of my life.
I went on the 1 day trip that was run by blue kipper.
The popular chant of ’nurnberg is full of blues’ about sumed it up. The german people and police were great and just let you get on with enjoying yourselves.
The 2 main memories for me were the singing on the tube and underground before the game and the only bad point of the day,returning home in the gales,boy did everyone shit themselves landing,the plane was all over the shop!
3 Posted 10/11/2007 at 16:37:16
As you say..easiest ground in the world to bunk into..thousands of fans disappointed at the ticket fiasco....Thousands of Blues mixing with the home fans....No trouble,letters of praise from Nurnberg fans sent to the club and the local press...You have all done the club proud..again..
The dark side would do well to take a leaf out of our book.....I still burn inside over the injustice we suffered from Heysel..
If justice had been done, only the club concerned would have been banned and the rest of the English teams in Europe would have prospered at their expense....
Lets set about putting things right, I really think we have an even better squad than 85..and its only going to get better..
4 Posted 10/11/2007 at 17:10:50
He has handled his young strikers fantastically. He has rotated with real intelligence and has given you a reason to look forward to the next two UEFA games. Yakubu is maturing nicely and gave a really experineced european performance. We won convincingly without Tommy, JV or AJ.
Valente slotted in like he had played all season, and there was a really confident air about the team.
The whole team seems to be learning along with Davey and it looks like they will qualify and get even more european experience.
Moyes deserves praise and credit for the way he has handled himself since Cheatenberg wrecked the derby.
There is a real sense of a good future about this squad. Maturity with the impetuousness and fearlessness of youth.
Interesting stat, we’ve only won two away Uefa games. Moyes has one one of them. One more win and he’s our most successful manager in that cup.
Credit where credit is due Mr Marsh.
5 Posted 10/11/2007 at 17:46:17
I think he said EFC needed 5 years to get to where he thought we should be, which is competing with the best at home and performing in Europe. And all on a shoestring compared to, for example ... well, who cares who else.
6 Posted 10/11/2007 at 18:29:42
7 Posted 10/11/2007 at 20:55:21
The ’A’ word? Alkmar?
8 Posted 10/11/2007 at 21:10:36
9 Posted 11/11/2007 at 01:00:48
We might end up with somebody like Benitez.
10 Posted 11/11/2007 at 05:35:43
Let’s just hope we’re seeing another positive post from TM after today’s match.
Right now is a great time to be a blue! Let’s hope it continues until May!
11 Posted 11/11/2007 at 10:31:06
12 Posted 11/11/2007 at 10:38:28
Some people have said it already, but I feel it is one of the most important points to be emphasised. The German authorities got it just right. Don’t get involved unless you have to. Stay in the back ground, be seen but not heard. They should be training the rest! I do think it’s a little wierd to praise grown ups for behaving, but I will anyway. Well done to the travelling Blue Army. You gave the German police an easy night and together Nurenburg fans, Blues and the German authorities showed everyone how it can be done!
I’m actually looking forward to an away tie at Chelsea now, but when I come back on to Toffeweb tonight I will remember this Tony...
"GET IN THERE. Everton are back."
So if we don’t get a result today, try to remember your words above and don’t be too pessimistic.
13 Posted 11/11/2007 at 11:30:32
From what I have discovered so far, the locals are quite unwilling to sell on extra tickets in fear of having their season tickets and clubcards taken off them - there are a few around, but they are like gold dust. Some Tickets are turning up on www.marktplaats.nl - type in ’AZ Everton’ in the wat zoet u? field and click ’Zoek’.
I speak the lingo so if anyone needs some help looking for tickets Im willing to give you hand. Just let me know.
To give you an idea I managed to get tickets but have paid 75euro for 25euro tickets
14 Posted 11/11/2007 at 14:42:01
Our fans were a credit and all of the Germans we met were different class.
Hand shakes at the start of the game and hand shakes at the end, did you hear their Ultras singing " I am a Liverpudlian " followed by their version of "build a bonfire" ? Only downside of the night really. The sheer tenacity of our lads and lasses getting over there has to be admired, from Stutgart,Cologne,Munich,Berlin Frankfurt etc.
Thanks to Tricia ,Steve,Bruce,Zigger Mark et al for a super party after the game and to Carl and Johnno at the Anglo Irish bar in Frankfurt on Friday night. Bloody great time, roll on the knock out stage.
15 Posted 11/11/2007 at 16:18:46
16 Posted 11/11/2007 at 16:28:39
WELCOME BACK TONY MARSH, it hasn’t been the same without you. Bet you’re having a great time at Chelsea, as we have just scored in the last minute!!
17 Posted 11/11/2007 at 18:26:26
Made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! I wish I was there - your feelings were matched by plenty of others who I’ve spoken to.
I think the trip to the Dam will be an epic - but tickets will be incredibly hard to get hold of - here’s hoping I get lucky this time!
Remember that feeling mate - next time we get beaten & you want Moyes head on a stick..................
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