The Jan Breydel Stadium, Tuesday 13th September 2016.
Having tested the ISDN line, ensured our kit hadn’t been damaged in transit across the channel – with Elliott having used it as his footrest in our BBC Ford Fiesta ride – I looked up to discover a practice session of the fluttering UEFA football flag in the middle of the pitch. The music played as the selected few shook in sequence, following their Champions League issued instructions, maybe printed on Champions League paper whilst possibly wearing their sponsors’ pants of choice, such is the tight grip the custodians of European football have on the game we love.
Jason and Matt didn’t say a word, I looked to my right and there were just smiles, one of those really fresh breaths of air blew across our faces on a sweltering continental night. We took in lungs full.
The Champions League theme tune played and we were knocked sideways by the gravitas it carries. like being asked by your favourite band to watch a soundcheck at Wembley the day before the gig, with seats on the front row and believe me the impact created as much of a wow for this small selected audience.
We’d won the lottery. Being in the privileged position to be employed to report on a historic game and able to witness the club we all loved in the greatest competition amongst the elite of our continent.
Jason looked and me, bemused, we didn’t quite get it. Our first game together was a pre-season clash at York City, a forgettable nil nil draw incidentally, but now we were soaking in the blistering Belgian sunshine with 5000 fans in Market Square. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Albrighton scores, City win, we celebrate, home.
Then the Premier League returns, Leicester City’s build up for Burnley at home includes Sam Chambers’ legendary Andrea Bocelli Nessun Dorma package, chocked, a win and two goals from the new record signing. Somebody pinch me.
As followers of this football club we’ve been given a trolley dash at Willy Wonka’s new place, and stocked the house with as many sugary treats as possible, taking them out when we want and gorging, good init?
Willy’s new place has closed down and only the standard supermarket goodies are available when the cupboards are bare, so enjoy it whilst you can, the feast won’t last forever.