Following on from my thread about our trip to Croatia, I thought I would give a report on our trip to Atalanta, not giving any opinion on the match itself as we all know what a crock of shit that was. Having had all day to digest the garbage served up last night, I finally decided to put finger to keyboard.
The alarm was set for 4:00 am, but I'm sure, like anyone else, if you have to get up at stupid o'clock, you can never sleep, so I crawled out of bed at 3:45, giving the missus a nudge to also get up as she was my taxi for the trip to the airport.
We left the house at 4:40 to pick my mate Dave up. By 5:15 we had checked in and cleared security. Maybe I could have had an extra half-hour in bed after all. We'd arranged to meet another friend, John Raftery, a known contributor to this forum, in the airport.
Upon arriving in the departure lounge, there were already plenty of blues there, the bars doing great business. As tempting as it was, I couldn't face a pint of Stella at 5:15 in the morning, so settled for a coffee instead.
We were booked on the official club day trip package, although there were 2 flights to Parma, the other trip arranged with Sports Options. Our flight, scheduled to depart at 7:00 am, incredibly left about 20 minutes early. We arrived at Parma Airport at around 10:00 am local time.
Upon clearing passport control, we made our way to the four coaches waiting outside to take us to Parma city centre where we would spend the next few hours. Dave and John decided to go on one of their stupid walking tours of Parma, so I teamed up with another couple of blues I know, to do a walking tour of some bars.
We found one which was ideal, table and chairs set out in the blazing hot sun, with waitress service. There were plenty of blues in this bar, and the adjoining one. Also on view was the local talent. As Del Boy would say in the Only Fools and Horses episode in Miami twice, "There is no such thing as an Italian nuffter". Now I know why!!
Dave and John finally arrived back after their stupid walking tour to join us for a few, before we made our way back to the coach to leave at 4:00 pm for the journey to the stadium, about a 45-minute journey. We arrived at the stadium just before 5:00 pm, still a good 2 hours before kick-off. Luckily outside our end were those mobile food vans which also sold ale. We decided though, to walk back to a couple of bars we'd passed just up the road from the stadium. There were a good few Atalanta fans there who were really friendly, unlike some of those in Split!!
As I said earlier, I won't give an opinion of what happened next, as we all know how garbage it was.
After the game, we were straight out and onto the coach back to the airport. We were informed by the Everton steward on the coach, that there would be an alcoholic beverage available to us upon production of our boarding pass at Parma Airport. Very kind of them!! I felt really sorry for the two people behind the bar trying to give away 150 free drinks, while also doing a five-bar gate and marking your boarding pass so you couldn't sneak back for a second freebie.
Parma Airport is really small, and there were only three flights scheduled to leave, ours, the Sports Options flight, and the team flight. The Sports Options flight left about 11:15 pm. We were scheduled to leave at midnight. We started to board when suddenly it appeared the airport staff and Everton stewards wanted us to board PDQ. Everyone was on board when we found out the reason for the rush. The Everton team started to come through and began boarding their flight. I can well imagine the abuse they would have received if the departure lounge had still been full of fans.
We left on time, arriving back at Liverpool JLA at about 1:15 am. A phone call to the taxi (the missus) to come and pick me and Dave up. We dropped Dave at home around 1:50 am before I arrived back home just before 2 am. I finally hit the sack an hour later at 3 am.
So, after being up for 23 hours, and being £450 lighter, was it all worth it? Too damn right it was. You can't beat European aways with the mighty blues, even if the football on display was turgid. Roll on, Lyon and Limassol.
Reader Comments (22)
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1 Posted 15/09/2017 at 23:21:05
2 Posted 15/09/2017 at 23:34:48
Mark "When I grow up, I want to be Rob Halligan".
Grow up, Mark!
3 Posted 15/09/2017 at 23:46:13
Every time I read that sentence, an angel loses its wings!
Keep 'em coming Rob. Top Blue.
4 Posted 16/09/2017 at 00:11:24
5 Posted 16/09/2017 at 00:48:47
A man after my own heart. Guinness is the preferred early morning, airport breakfast alcoholic accompanist.
On a serious note, Rob, keep up the European travels and report backs.
6 Posted 16/09/2017 at 02:55:54
On the other hand, it sounds like the hurricane in Atlanta was preferable to the footy in Atalanta. Fortunately I missed both.
7 Posted 16/09/2017 at 08:26:24
8 Posted 16/09/2017 at 09:08:01
Liverpool JLA has a nice atmosphere for flying from, whatever the destination.
9 Posted 16/09/2017 at 09:11:28
10 Posted 16/09/2017 at 09:52:19
Keep them coming please!
11 Posted 16/09/2017 at 11:01:38
12 Posted 16/09/2017 at 15:28:45
For Blues planning to travel to Lyon under their own steam rather than one of the packages OL have told me that Everton fans can pre book car parking at the Groupama, cars, mini-vans & motorcaravans pay €15 in advance giving the usual personal details.
It's really easy to find, jct 6 of the E13/N346 and a dedicated turn off. There's trams back to the city centre (10km) but fans can wait as long as 2 hours.
There's nothing much around the stadium, only a big supermarket (Le Clerc) & a prison on the opposite side.
13 Posted 16/09/2017 at 17:28:23
14 Posted 16/09/2017 at 19:48:10
Rob Halligan - great narrative, mate.
15 Posted 16/09/2017 at 20:34:54
People often knock the Europa League but it provides a greater variety of matches and locations than the Champions League. The European trips have given us many of our happiest days supporting the club since the turn of the century. We can only hope the team earn us a few more in 2018.
16 Posted 16/09/2017 at 20:43:01
17 Posted 16/09/2017 at 21:13:30
18 Posted 16/09/2017 at 21:14:35
19 Posted 16/09/2017 at 21:23:00
Definitely not Anfield though.
20 Posted 17/09/2017 at 00:19:50
Times have changed, but all away days are great, and soon this club will turn the tide.
The club must now start playing football, as this season to date has been a farce.
God help us.
21 Posted 17/09/2017 at 07:31:00
I wish Everton FC showed the same passion and ambition as our glorious fans do.
22 Posted 18/09/2017 at 13:38:43
I truly felt while watching the match, gutted for the fans who did make the effort, which is more than can be said for the team.
It's totally unacceptable the lack of effort shown by the team, and not just this match, it's not like these are a good side, but we made them look that way.
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