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Saturday, 3 March 2012

What a Day

Well – almost a week has passed and I can just about find time / the words to describe the events of Oman vs Thailand.  For those that don’t know (and you must have been wearing ear plugs – the noise generated would surely have traversed the globe) – Oman moved to the final stages of qualification for the FIFA world Cup in Rio 2014.  Given their past results in this process – this was a BIG day for Oman

And hence (in my job) a BIG day for me.  And believe me it was an awesome experience.

I have worked in sports for a good number of years now – and have managed an event at Wembley (65k), been an honored guest at a final at Old Trafford (70k), visited some great grounds as a paying (or not primarily) punter (Giants Stadium e.g.).

But I have to say that last Wednesday was the most exciting event I have been to.  Stadium was not full (though it was fuller than it has been for a long while – self-congratulatory pat on back to accompany), but it was certainly rocking…..

The punters arrive about 3 hours before the game (no tailgating here – it’s just roasting in the sun) and the noise starts then.  From then on it is just relentless – with the only change being the volume increasing as more and more folk arrive.

With so much riding on the game – with the team having come so far since the first three games of qualification (1 point) – with history being made – with Saudi starting so well in Australia (they were to eventually fall 4-2) – with SO much riding on the result – it was an energy sapping day.  I am still yawning now just trying to recover from it all.

The team played well – fully deserved the win – but football is such a sport that had Thailand hit the net rather than the post – then surely all that match dominance would have ended in heroic failure (with the 2nd goal scored at the death probably not happening).

Over-crowding in the VIP section, screaming in the VVIP section (my wife and family – including mum over for a trip – sat next to some very passionate well heeled dignitaries), kids (from invited schools) arriving at different locations and police with a point to prove (see earlier games) – in many ways it was carnage.  

But what glorious carnage…..  A few staff at the heart of it all – holding it all together……  And with the knowledge that despite some little niggles, what we had worked so hard for – a big and passionate crowd was going to see, nah – was going to help, the team achieve their historic victory.

My black suit was a bad wardrobe choice, my lack of sun screen a further poor decision – but what a day!!!
All I can say now is that (thanks to the glorious on pitch performance) we have 4 more days like that ahead of us.  
Roll on Rio!!!

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