I've got to be honest, I'm one of the those ‘fans' who only go to live football matches these days if I get invited to go in the corporate hospitality section.
I’m not embarrassed, in fact I really enjoy it – it doesn’t stopping me watching the game, I’ve only stayed in the bar once for the second half of the game and watched in on the TV.
Despite what Roy Keane might say I’ve never had prawn sandwiches – maybe that’s what you got in the boxes at Old Trafford – you always get a better quality of grub at Stamford Bridge.
Yes, Chelsea’s my team. The team with so much culinary class that in the days of Captain Birds Eye (aka chairman Ken Bates) we had our own Chelsea wine (very drinkable) and not a prawn sandwich or fish finger in sight. He had class that Ken.
I’m not embarrassed about the corporate hospitality because I did enough years of standing on open terraces and getting rained on to realise it’s not glamorous.
It’s cold and it’s wet, and I don’t miss it.
But more importantly the only way the ‘casual’ fan gets into a game nowadays is through corporate hospitality or borrowing a season ticket of mate.
The one bit of the terraces I do miss is being able to walk (or queue) to get into a game if you wanted. It didn’t matter what game it was – unless it was an all-ticket match – you could get into a game. You just had to queue a bit earlier.
Them were the days.
And, so to today.
Like most clubs in the Premiership we have a shiny stadium, you can’t get a ticket without booking through TicketMaster or buying a season for a grand, but we do win matches and trophies. And the corporate hospitality is awesome as anyone who was a beneficiary last season courtesy of Schroders will have seen.
So with no corporate hospitality in sight I’ve booked my seat in front of Sky to watch the latest ‘Battle of the Century’ on Sunday afternoon. This time it features Chelsea and Man United and will come as welcome diversion because the first Ashes Test might be already over by the time they kick-off at 4pm.
There’s another fundamental difference now about Chelsea – they win.
And I fancy them to win 2-1 on Sunday afternoon and close the gap on United. If they do, I’ll treat myself to a prawn sandwich, not just any old prawn sandwich, an M&S prawn sandwich. Enjoy the game.
Lawrence Gosling is a consultant to Incisive Media (publisher of IFAonline).IFAonline
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