Station Hotel FC
To Faro and back via Lisbon & London
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Station capitulate as Forrest run riot
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A Faro e a parte traseira através de Lisboa & de Londres
|This is a report of several Station FC members trip to Portugal to watch England in a friendly.|
Well, well, well..... a complete fiasco of the highest possible order.
At 5am on Wednesday 18th February 2004 a super-charged red Orion pulled up at my house. In it were 2 of the Station globetrotters, along with driver John Southworth, landlord of the Station. The 2 globetrotters - Martin Keith Price (Pricey) and Dominic Southworth (Doz) were excited and looking forward to a potentially disastrous trip. Pricey was so loud and laughing that much he woke my parents up. Later granada news reports said it measured 8.9 on the richter scale. The orion met up with the 3 other globetrotters at a lay-by near the M65. These were Danny Finney, his brother Johnny Finney and Lee Kenny.
The dash to the airport highlighted the excitement - we just wanted to get there. This trip was going to be up there with the best - Sofia, Ankara, Celtic.... Despite Pricey believing we would be in a serious car accident on the M61 we did eventually make it to Terminal One of the large, bustling Manchester Airport. Little did the holiday makers parking up know where the globetrotters were heading off to. After checking in, and only approx 20 minutes going through passport control we boarded the small BMI jet to London Heathrow. Kenny caught up with the gang minutes later as he was being thoroughly checked for weapons of mass destruction. The attendant seemed very interested in his camera. He snorts Anthrax for fun so these checks can only be expected at this level.
The short plane journey to Heathrow flew by (no pun intended). The first of the 189 cheese & ham toasties I was about to have over the next few days was consumed. Not bad for plane food. Shame about the puffs handing them out. Obviously Pricey reminded them they were gay just in case they had forgot.
On arrival at London Heathrow.... the worst possible site greeted us after the giddy mood we were all in. A bunch of Chinese men in olympic tracksuits - the globetrotters thought it was the Chinese Olympic Cockle Picking Team. We didn't bother asking them....
As we had e-tickets we had to go to a counter and get our flight tickets and check in accordingly. Whilst waiting for our tickets, a stupid old woman who had a massive bush in a plastic carrier bag was causing chaos at the next counter. She then walked off and left her passport and ticket on the counter. Oh dear. She did have a nicely trimmed bush though...
<< God this article is going to be well long - we haven't got to Portugal yet >> Oh well, here goes....
The globetrotters wasted no time in finding a bar at Heathrow for the 2 hour wait for the connecting flight to Lisbon. Several bottles of Becks were consumed before we were confronted by the friendly police task force. We were quizzed about if we had tickets (we didn't), whether we were in the england members club (we weren't) and when we were travelling back (Friday). Eventually, they left us alone and let us carry on drinking. Some other fans had passports checked to see whether they had criminal records. Its a good job they didn't check ours...
Finally, it was time to board the large boeing 747 to Lisbon. If Matt Strahan would have been on this trip he would have been completely scared off flying for life as Pricey seemed convinced we would be plummeting to earth and be killed. However, the only disappointment on this flight was yet another cheese and ham bloody toastie. Well, I ate it anyway. Kenny refused to eat a thing. In his words 'I don't eat shit'. He may not but he talks plenty of it. Das moist? (we'll come to that later)
After a 2 and a half hour flight we landed in Lisbon. Upon arrival it was the same old story - passport control blah de blah de blah. Anyway, the main thing; as usual was finding a bar. It didn't take so long. Within minutes we were queueing for the local beer 'Super Bock' It sure was super !!! At 5.5% it did a job. Whilst chatting about the task ahead (getting a ticket for the game) over a beer - we were approached by an ugly, smelly, dirty, scruffy, pissed tramp. It was like feeding a pigeon - he was after food and he stank. Obviously we took the piss out of him and even had a picture with him (that camera is probably now broken). We had several beers and something to eat .... yes, you guessed another cheese and ham bloody toastie! I felt like a piece of cheese by this stage.
The flight to Faro was 27 minutes long. And very funny. Large amounts of vodka and fanta were consumed in a bid to get us pissed. It did eventually do the trick come the end of the night. Upon arrival in Faro - a small, basic airport we were delighted to see the warm sun beating down. It was better than the sub zero temperatures of the UK. This was going to be a good afternoon, you could just tell. First of all we approached Tourist Information at the arrivals lounge of the airport to try and get some basic accomodation. Basically somewhere to dump the bags - that were really getting on our tits by this stage. We wanted ale, ale and more ale (as well as a match ticket). The fat hairy monster on the helpdesk pointed out a youth hostel in central Faro. So we hailed an 8 seater taxi and shunned the BBC camera's. We could understand why they wanted to interview us, being the nationally recognised Station Globetrotters we are but we had other matters to deal with i.e. drinking vast amounts of 'Super Bock'.
After a short taxi journey through Faro we reached the Youth Hostel and booked the last 4 places. As there were 6 of us we had the intention of sneaking the other 2 in the early hours when we got back from a bar. The taxi then went on to, in the drivers words 'England Fans'. I said 'Yes' and also asked him if he was busy and what time he was on till. He was baffled. Upon arrival at the main square in central Faro all we could hear were England fans signing in their pissed state. It was packed. Beer tents had been erected for the influx of supporters and the plastic pint and a half glasses of Super Bock went down well. One England fan enjoyed it so much he climbed up a lamp-post with a flag and nearly fell off.
As we mingled with the fans, we came across several ticket touts; some English, some Portuguese - the prices started at 170 euro's.... we met a bloke from Birmingham who even had his own business cards. He sold us 6 tickets for 60 euro's each, about £40 sterling. This capped off a great day - a ticket to the match. Something tells me that being a ticket tout for the upcoming championships in Portugal will be a highly profittable business indeed. The brummy tout even took some photos for us and had a beer...
About 2 hours before kick off we decided to try and make our way to the stadium, which is actually nearer Loule than Faro - bloody miles away from where we currently were. Us 6, along with about 50-odd other England fans hijacked a bus and ordered the driver to take us to the stadium. Its a good job he obliged or ugly scenes could have followed. The 2 old women on the bus didn't know what to do...apart from listen to 'Wheels on the bus go round and round' sang by us and some Burton Albion fans. Then there was the pissed Brummy bloke who kept doing pakistani shop owner impressions and some other rubbish ones. He was absolutely pole axed shouting 'Baba Ding Ding, £2.99'.
Eventually we arrived at the fantastic (but strange) stadium, in the middle of nowhere. By this point, a few rovers songs were blurted out and we had a much needed piss in a field next to the ground. The thousands of England fans, mostly pissed made their way into the ground. They were dotted all over the ground and not just in the 4,000 capacity away end. You could tell who we were as we refused to join in the Mexican wave - well, it is sad after all. The Portugese fans were not impressed, but vented their frustration by giving Figo, their best player since Eusebio a great reception in his 100th appearance. We had great seats on the half way line in the Portugese end.... shame about the game. It was a non-entity and the only highlight was new boy Ledley King putting in a great performance. It was still a great atmosphere even though every England song were greeted with boo's and jeers from the Portuguese. Anyway, they sold some weird steak sandwiches in the ground which were nice - a nice change from cheese and ham toasties for once!!
After the game we quickly made our way to the waiting buses. These were full of England fans and the cheeky driver charged us all a euro even though it was supposedly free transport. Should have ripped his silly tash off his face come to think of it.... Eventually, we got back to Faro and straight into a McDonalds. The globetrotters decided to just eat shit the whole day so why stop now?! In here, it was like being in one in Blackburn - just full of English people. One guy, who was absolutely comotosed tried to rip a life size cardboard figure of a Portugal player off the wall. But the McDonalds staff saw him and told him to behave. However, he was adamant he wanted it. So, he ordered a pint and shouted 'Decoy' and threw it over his head - piss wet through over an expensive stone island jacket. Funny as hell - his mates disowned him and walked out. He just sat there pissed up. I dread to think where he ended up that night. In a gutter probably.
After munching a large Big Mac meal and watch the pissed 'decoy' bloke messing around we moved onto a bar. This is when things took a turn for the worse. Several pints and a rake load of Tequila ensured we were banjoed. Kenny asked the Annie Lennox look-a-like if she was moist, in his own personal language 'Das moist?' She was asked several times but didn't have a clue what he was going on about. Hilarious. At approximately 4am local time we left the bar and made our way to the youth hostel. When we landed at reception we were greeted by some bad mooded, angry mutant who would not let the other 2 sneak in our room. All he did was say 'Ciao' and 'Bye Bye' to them. What a dick!! At this, we all were disgusted and left the youth hostel. We couldn't leave just the 2 of them out on the streets. So we all ended up on the bloody streets! For the next hour or so we roamed the streets pissed up and tried to find the bus station for a coach back to Lisbon as we had a flight to get on the Friday back to London.
After a venture round the desolate streets of Faro (waking up the locals) we accidentally came to the bus station. Here we met a complete twat in green overralls who would not let us get on the bus to Lisbon as we did not have a ticket. How can we buy a ticket if the ticket office isn't open? The dick. Anyway, we messed about here for a bit in the freezing cold. We then saw a scruffy, hobit-like creature scrambling into the luggage area underneath the coach. He had a shit pink bag which gave his cover away. We quickly grassed him up and he was eventually hauled out after scrambling round like a rat. We then proceeded to chase after him and abuse the mutant for a while. He threatened to shoot us. I doubt it. The only thing he could shoot is heroin.
After all that excitement, we decided to find the train station. If only we were in the Station back home drinking Carling was my thoughts at this stage... we were told at the desk that the next train would be 7:30am to Lisbon. A 2 hour wait was made shorter when we were told it was only 8 quid from Faro to Lisbon. A bargain for a FIVE hour train journey. To pass the time, we set up refuge around a park bench - some slept on the bench, others on the cold, hard pavement. Its a good job we were banjoed. That banjoed, Doz started hallucinating and wanted to go to one of our mates houses.... shame we were 3,000 miles away. All that Super Bock had finally taken its toll. His hallucinations woke all of the globetrotters up so we made our way across the road to a pokey cafe for some warmth... oh dear what can I say? It was about 6am in the morning and everyone was boozing. Even the fire brigade stopped and downed several brandy's each before being called out. Unbelievable. Some guy managed to really wind me up - the knob. He was speaking French, Italian and Portuguese mixed with a bit of English. I came close to knocking him out.
When 7-30 eventually came we clambered on the train and went straight to sleep. It had been a long long night.
The day in Lisbon was spent walking round with heavy bags and looking round the new state of the art Benfica stadium. There is no way that ground will be finished - loads if lazy men drinking tea. Argh !! Oh and we went to Pizza Hut. The night in Lisbon was excellent - we went to some pole dancing bars. Shame there were only us there and not even a pole dancer in site. We did see one hairy, smelly black woman going to get changed so we dashed out as quickly as we could.
This is the end of the report for now... it has taken me ages to get this Far-o. And I am tired...
Picture: England fans in Faro
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