June 2, 2011

Lucky Duck at the Champions League Final


Two days ago I sat in a VIP seat and watched the Champions League Final at Wembley; 87,695 people sat around me, screaming, whistling and shouting for either Manchester United or Bacelona FC. It felt like a video game was being brought to life as top class footballers played just meters ahead of me. As I witnessed one of the most anticipated sporting events in the world I thought to myself: How did I get this lucky?
I’ve worked for Flair Events since my first year at Uni and I’ve been very lucky to have worked at some great events; Daft Punk, the Isle of Wight music festival and the Royal Wedding in Hyde Park were a few of my favourites. When I signed up to work at the Final I didn’t quite realise what I was getting myself into! I was told that I was one of a group of about 50 or so people who were handpicked to work in the VIP Merchandising booth. 
When we arrived at the stadium we went and had a look at the pitch; it was enormous! 90,000 capacity and it was spotless; we giggled as we posed for photos, not expecting to be able to return here within a few hours.
We started our shift at 2pm and started selling around 4 pm. Within two hours the crowds had swooped in like locusts and we sold out of every last jersey, flag, pin, ball and programme. People were offering money for the shirts we were wearing (I was given an official Adidas Wembley Final polo which will be making it’s debut on e-bay shortly!) and everyone was desperate to get their hands on valuable memorabilia. 
As the excitement built up, we realised that we would be finishing our shift earlier than we had expected and our Managers hinted at being able to watch the game. We snuck through the sides and tried to make ourselves look as small as possible as we stood next to the security staff and watched the opening ceremony. You could feel the electricity in the air; the Spanish Barcelona fans were singing and waving flags as the Man U fans chanted: “ROONEY ROONEYYY ROONEYYY” I couldn’t stop smiling as I tried to take it all in.
Unfortunately we were warned not to bring bags to work so we had to travel with whatever fit in our pockets and I only had my Blackberry camera on me. The video quality is horrible but I managed to take a few good shots!
The atmosphere was euphoric, every single person was so excited to be there and the football game kept the crowd on their feet. We were sent away from the VIP Heineken area by the Head of Security for not having tickets but a few of us snuck in to another area to keep watching. Whilst standing behind the glass door, a Nigerian security guard asked me where I was from and on hearing my reply he cried : “BARBADOS?! No wayy!! Me and you are like brother and sister then! My friend, let me show you where there are some empty seats…”
And that’s how I found myself singing amongst the VIP Barca fans, on the verge of tears as the team carried the Cup across the field after they had won, wishing I had my brothers and a few male friends with me to share the experience :)
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