(GROUND NUMBER 235)
Date of First Visit: 6th MAY 2004
STADE VELODROME, MARSEILLE, FRANCE
OLIMPIQUE MARSEILLE 2
NEWCASTLE UNITED 0
(Marseille won 2-0 on aggregate)
UEFA CUP SEMI FINAL 2nd LEG
ATTENDANCE 60,000 (5,000 Toon fans)
WHERE! Div ah start wih this one!----(YES FOLKS!---it waz one of THEM! trips!)
So here ganz!
"NO ROOM AT THE INN!"
A’d booked the flights with Easyjet from Luton tih Nice and a hotel in the centre of Marseille through an agent on the internet, for meesel and one of mee ‘sidekicks’ Norman the Cowboy Plumber' who waz gannin’ with iz.
Barrett Meen Time’s flight from Toon Travel waz nearly three hundred smackerooneez, and because this waz mee seventh trip tih Europe this season alone, ah HAD tih gan the cheapest way ah could az funds were getting’ a bit low in mee piggy bank!
Aaltogether, includin’ the car park and train from Nice tih Marseille it waz gannih cost wih less than two hundred quid each, so that’s why wih went from there.
Ah did the forst stint of drivin’ tih Woodall Sorvices on the ‘M1’ which waz aboot half way tih Luton and Norman drove the rest of the way while ah calmed meesel doon for the flight with a few cans of LCL (az previously mentioned many many times, a’m not the worlds best flyer!)
The plane which waz half full of Geordies arrived in Nice bang on time, and the ‘current bun’ came out tih greet us az we disembarked. (A good omen?-----Divvint yee believe it!)
The shuttle bus then took wih tih the train station, where, amid chaotic scenes from the hundred or so Toon Travellers queuein’ at the station kiosks, wih purchased wor ticket for the two and a half hour jorney tih Marseille.
The trip proved tih be uneventful apart from a few Toon fans (who were much the worse for wear!) singin’ to an unfortunate female who waz waalkin’ past them doon the train. And what they sang made me and Norman crindge!
“GET YOUR T*** OUT FOR THE LADS!”, they sang at hor!----the anly problem waz, shih waz an aad aged biddy, aroond aboot the 70 mark! (The anly plus side waz----shih could’nt understand a word they were singin’---which waz just az well!)
(Pleeze lads!---keep yih traps shut next time---EH!) (Totally oot of order, lads!----totally oot of order!)
Wih met up with Davy ‘the silver fox’ and hiz better half, Barbara (who had travelled by Eurostar the previous day) at Marseille station and heeded for wor hotel, which waz a few stops on the undergroond and on route for the match.
However!---on wor arrival at wor hotel we were telt by the receptionist that the hotel waz infact FULL! And that like Jesus, some two thoosand years before hand, they did’nt have a room for us!
(Aalthough, tih be fair!---Jesus waz torned away from an Inn in Bethlehem and NOT! a hotel in Marseille!)----------(Er?---come tih think of it??---it might’iv been Joseph and Mary who got torned away from an Inn in JERUSALEM???) (Quick!---Pass mee Bible!)
Ah protested that a’d made the bookin’ some time ago ower the ‘net’ but waz telt that the agent who’d booked it for us, had (in othaa words) ‘dropped a bollock’! (Ah wonder if Jesus had booked HIZ room ower the ‘net’!???)
Anyway!---We had nee time tih argue az valuable drinkin’ time waz bein’ wasted!, so we agreed to their offer of anotha hotel ten minutes away, az lang az they paid the taxi fare.
The agreement waz that we dumped wor bags there and pick them up after the game where a taxi would be waitin’ tih whisk wih off tih the other hotel.
“WHERE’S MEE LUCKY SOCKS?”
Wih still had a few hours tih the kick off , SO!, (az yi’d expect!) we were ‘off on the hoy’ (once again!) tih lubricate wor tonsils, which in turn kept wor vocal chords ‘in trim’ for the match! (az yih de!)
Afta a canny few gargels of the local brew it waz time tih heed for a warehoose next tih the groond az instructed. (That’s reet----a f*****’ warehoose!)
For that’s where we were telt tih gan by the French Dibbles so we could be fleeced before they let us intih the groond!
And then it suddenly dawned on iz!----a DID’NT have mee ‘lucky’ black ‘n’ white socks 'on' which bore the club crest!---The reason for this of course waz because the hotel waz full and ah did’nt have anywhere tih change mee ‘dickory docks’!
(plus the fact that it had completely slipped mee mind anyway!)
Once inside the groond we heeded for the corner section where the Toon fans were hemmed in, surrounded by high fences and a moat!
Some Toon fans had managed to get tickets for the home sections and with the official followin' on some 3,500 and extra 1,500 were elsewhere in this huge open bowl which held 60,000!
We started off brightly az we attacked the far goal from us, but disaster struck after 19minutes when a Titus Bramble cross woz cleared upfield and Marseille stricker Didier Drogba made nee mistayk az he beat Shay Given in the Toon goal to send the 55,000 home fans into delirium!
|"IZ IT THE 5th OF NOVEMBER!?"|
Flares were lit and hoyed towards the pitch (and us!) and one set fire to the moat with huge flames and smoke risin' above the home section behind the goal!
The fire woz ragin and it looked to get oot of control before some firemen rushed towards the burnin moat with fire extinguishers
and finally put the flames oot!
Back on the pitch, NUFC tried in vain to find a way back az this goal woz the forst one scored in the tie, with the forst game at SJP endin' goalless!
We just couldn't match the home side az we huffed and puffed to try and find an equaliser!Worse woz to follow near the end, when a 2nd goal by Drogba in the 82nd minute with a side footed shot from 12yards oot sealed the semi final tie and the dream of a European final for the 2nd time in wor history woz gone!
After the final whistle we were locked in the groond for more than an hour by the riot squad, before finally bein' let oot at 'midneet bells'! (the match had kicked off at '9:00pm bells' local time!)
After we'd finally been let oot onto the streets we heeded back to the hotel for a quick 'gargel' before retirin' to wor room for the neet!
"LET THE TRAIN PUDDLE YIH BRAIN!"
Next mornin' we heeded for the breakfast room in the hotel for some scran, which woz part of the deal (or so aa thought---read on!) A continental breaky of croutons, toast, and cheese, washed doon with some orange juice and coffee!
The jorney back from Marseille to Nice the next day woz uneventful for the forst part of the jorney, and a'd said to 'Norman the Cowboy Plumber' the trains in France were dead reliable and aalways on time!-----UNTIL!---we got to a place caalled St. Raphael!
The train stopped----and didn't move again-----we were there for an hour, when the alarm bells started ringin' (in mee heed!)
We finally got some info that a goods train had derailed forthaa up the line and had brought the power cables doon!---ie: we wornt gannin anywhere fast!----We then got told that the train would be stuck there for at least anothaa 2 hours while repairs were carried oot to the owerheed cables
We got off the train to find that the lift to the street below wasn't workin'?----We foond a way doon some stairs and heeded for a nearby café bar for sommik to eat and drink---but aall the electric woz off there az well, because the goods train had not anly pulled the trains power lines doon, but aalso the electricity power lines for the region az well!
So they couldn't cook us any food and so we had to make dee with a bottle of the local brew instead!
But worse woz to follow----on retorn to the train station we were told that the damage to the power lines woz substantial and that the train would be stuck there for a lang, lang time!
PANIC STATIONS!----We were now in danger of missin' wor flight from Nice to Luton and so we asked a taxi driver how much he would charge us to get to Nice airport?
"It's 50 kilometres, about 100 euros!", came the reply----luckily there were a couple more Toon fans on wor train and we clubbed together to pay for the taxi----a jorney by road of 1 hour, which gave us more than enough time to catch wor flight!--PANIC OWER!
It woz then straight to the airport bar to get rid off some more unwanted and unneeded euros! (coz we lost, which brought an end to wor European adventures)
“Surely nowt else could gan wrang!?---COULD IT!??”-------(“OH yes it COULD!”)
Az a’d had mee usual pre flight ‘liquids’ tih calm mee norves (again!) (purely medicinal yi understand!) it meant that Norman had tih drive the whole way back himsel!
Az ah waz tryin’ tih get a bit ‘shut eye’, the final ‘nail in the coffin’ came az we were fleein’ up the ‘M1’ past Trowell Sorvices.
Mee mobile ‘tellin’ bone’ rang and it waz wor lass on the othaa end.
“Some foreign gadgy’s phoned up and left a message on the answer phone!”
“YES!---it’s sommik aboot yih breakfast at the hotel yih were stoppin’ in!”
“YES!---Have a listen tih this!”
(Answerphone) “THEES EEZZ ZEE BOOKING AGENT!---ZEE HOTEL YOO STOPPED EEN SAY YOO NO PAY FOR YOUR BREAKFAST WHEN YOO LEEVE THEES SMORNING!----SO! I HAVE TAKEN ZEE MONEY YOO OWE OUT OF YOUR CREDIT CARD!---ZANK YOO!”
“NORMAN!”---“PASS THE PARACETAMOL!”---“AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!”
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