The world of sport has always been a huge passion of mine. Whether its competing individually or as part of a team, the enjoyment it brings not to mention the health benefits cannot be underestimated.
Enjoy it while you can...
England v Croatia at Portman Road, Ipswich - 2003
Way back in 2003 I was in the early years of promoting the destination of Croatia to the UK travel industry and it was only then that the famous red and white checked football strip of Croatia was becoming one of the most recognised international football kits in the world (in my opinion along with Brazil and Peru)
As one of very few Ipswich town fans it was therefore a bit of a dream come true when I heard that the England national football team were to play Croatia at of all places Portman Road, the home of my beloved Ipswich.
Thankfully back in those days entertaining travel folk was the thing so I arranged a box at the game and promptly invited a select band of travel VIPS to the game.
What was always going to be a famous day for me turned into a real once in a lifetime experience as next door to our box was the BBC live broadcast team featuring legendary commentator John Motson and West Ham icon Trevor Brooking.
They really were so great to us with John Motson coming into the box to say a few words and pose for a few photos although there were no mobiles then so I guess I had my box brownie with me 😉
England won 3-1 (Beckham, Owen & Lampard) but who cares….. its the memories that I will cherish.
Football World Cup 2018 - Russia
The FA Cup - 2018
Its every schoolboys dream to lift the FA Cup at Wembley stadium…. well it was for me when I was growing up in the 70’s supporting as I still do today, Ipswich Town.
They got there hands on it in 1978 with that famous (to me) goal from Roger Osborne where the celebrations were all too much for him and he got substituted soon after.
Forty years later I too “almost” got my hands on it back in 2018 at the Not Just Travel annual conference. Two burly minders kept us from actually lifting this iconic trophy but a photo and to get this close was special enough for me to transport myself back to those magical days of cup final saturdays when you used to wake up excited to watch the days proceedings, from the players leaving the hotel to that long mesmeric walk from the tunnel at the old Wembley stadium.
For me the FA Cup has today sadly lost its magic – I put that down to the semi finals also taking place at Wembley which has devalued the final, the hoardes of empty corporate seats not to mention the modern day influence of money on the top teams who more often than not are the ones that dominate the latter stages of the competition.
That said those wonderful days seeing the likes of Wigan, Coventry, Southampton, Portsmouth and indeed Ipswich lifting this trophy will always live long in the memory of this aging kid….