26 October 2008
This was part of SOH's birthday present, to go and see the Saints versus Chargers at Wembley; neither of us had been there before and were looking forward to it. We headed down to Wembley at 2pm, parking had been booked at Ruislip station which guaranteed us a place and the rail fares worked out to £4.60 each which meant that travel was a lot easier than going into the centre of London.
The crowd was amazing, many people stopped to take pictures of the stadium from the station as it is awesome but the police were quickly moving them on so as not to hold everyone up. People were wearing NFL shirts in a range of teams, it was the sport that was important not the teams playing on the day.
We were up in the gods, level 5 of Wembley and just behind the Chargers end zone, so we had great views down field. The opening ceremony had the Saintsations cheerleaders dancing along and dirigibles with the team names on being hauled around the stadium; this actually looked like hard work as they seemed hard to control at times.
Stereophonics played a short set, accompanied by the cheerleaders dancing, and then we had the National Anthems, first the American Star Spangled banner and then the United Kingdom God Save the Queen.
I was amazed at the fact that not only did many of the fans stand and sing along with the American Anthem, they did the UK national anthem proud by singing along with Joss Stone loud and clear and with gusto. I thought that many people these days didn't pay any attention to it and I was thrilled to see such participation.
The game was fast and furious, and both teams played their hearts out, but by half-time the Saints were starting to show dominance in the game and Chargers were left battling more than 10 points behind. However things changed in the second half, and the Chargers started to claw back some of the lead and in the final quarter nearly, very nearly scored another touchdown which would have put them in the lead but the Saints held them off and finally won 37 to 32 points; having given the Chargers 2 points when running a safety.
Travelling home was congested with happy fans, and we had a chance to see the Metropolitan police mounted unit guiding the fans back to the rail stations and their onward travel. I don't do crowds very well, and found this the hardest part of the journey, but we managed to get back to the car in good time and we were home by just after 11pm.