My Day at the Match – Chelsea, Besiktas Stadium, European Super Cup Final, August 14th 2019

My Day at the Match – Chelsea, Besiktas Stadium, European Super Cup Final, August 14th 2019
August 19, 2019 Chris Rowland
In Free, My Day at the Match

 

By TTT Subscriber Nishal Sodha.

Al Pacino said it best in The Godfather.
After trips to Anfield for the Huddersfield game, and to Madrid earlier this year, I promised myself that I wouldn’t let Jürgen Klopp’s Red Men make me skint yet again. Of course the resolve didn’t last long. The long and arduous visa application, the visa fees, the flights and hotel bookings, the disappointing UEFA ballot outcome and subsequent hunt for matchday tickets…somehow all worked out thanks to Simmer Bachher, Chairman of Kop Kenya (@kopkenya) as well as Raj Gandhi, Head of the LFC Red Indians. 

Visas, hotel booking and matchday tickets in hand, 10 Kop Kenyans flew out at different times and joined LFC Red Indians as well as members of Dubai Reds to create everlasting memories of yet another European away. 

What an awesome three days in Istanbul: the city is out both East and West – you just never quite know where you stand as you enjoy the best of both worlds and the varied cultures!
We landed in Istanbul on the afternoon of Tuesday 13 August and were already meeting and making friends with Scousers on the bus ride into the city. A quick shower at the hotel and off we went looking for a Liverpool friendly bar to take a load off. 

The Dubliner Irish Pub was a 5-minute walk away and owned by a Liverpudlian – naturally the base for the next few days. Ishmael, who worked at the bar, did one of the most incredible, hospitable jobs imaginable! What a first impression of the city. 

These days when there is a Liverpool Football Club European game, there is a Jamie Webster gig. Kudos to Liverpool FC Turkey for a phenomenal Boss Night with the legend himself.

The energy he expends reverberates around the venue and for the first time I experienced what I’d (till then) only read about. The Sanat Performance that night was a microcosm of boundless ‘chi’. Words cannot do justice, or even remotely capture the sense of belonging and family. Reds from Georgia, Kosovo, Turkey, Singapore, Oman, Malaysia…you name the country, and someone or the other was there to represent!
A truly magical experience!

Roll on Wednesday and there was palpable tension in the air:
Which Chelsea will show up? 
Will Liverpool be on the ball from the get go?
What is in store for us?

And yet, as we ambled out to the Dubliner Pub at mid-day, there wasn’t a blue T-shirt in sight! Just like in Madrid barely three months ago, a Red carpet had descended onto the city, enveloping every alley and corner in its wake. 

The Dubliner was unrecognisable: the street was covered in flags and banners and whilst it was a pedestrian only zone anyway, there was no walking anywhere today. It was packed to the rafters with boys and gals clad in the Liverbird. Our songs were belted out of loudspeakers; replica footballs, scarves and caps dotted the beautiful sky as Reds from the world over soaked in the atmosphere and the comraderie that can only be cultivated in the company of fellow Reds, I feel. Luckily Ishmael had us covered and got front row seats to the spectacle!

As 5pm approached, we retired for a quick siesta before the big event. At 7pm, the trek to the stadium started with a meander around Taksim Square, some bar hopping before the descent into the BJK Vodafone Park. 

An impressive stadium it was and with some difficulty (poor signage and temporary pathways outside), we made our way to our seats which were closer to the Chelsea wedge of the stadium than I’d have preferred (so the threats were correct: there were some Blues in the city after all!).
I have to admit though: the vantage point for the penalties was awesome!

The match was there for all to see so not much to comment on, save for the fact that, contrary to popular belief, Bobby Firmino is not part of Klopp’s system. 

He is the bloody system! 

What a buy from Hoffenheim this beautiful Brazilian has turned out to be. (Oh and Kante is a beast!)

All in all, it ended well and I couldn’t help but feel that karma is a bitch: Abraham dived for their equalising penalty and then missed the telling one to restore Liverpool onto the perch (in terms of total trophy count).

The flight home was uneventful – Reds made it home safe and excitedly share memories only to make new ones very soon, I’m sure. 

Please: don’t anyone utter the name “Doha” to me anytime soon…
If you want to learn more about Kop Kenya or would like to join, please send an email and the secretary will get back to you. 

Twitter: @kopkenya
Facebook: Liverpool Supporters Club – Kop Kenya
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