England v Lithuania at Wembley Stadium

I live with a family of football fanatics. There’s my 11 year old son, who plays football, my husband (who coaches, plays and supports), as well as my 13 year old son and 9 year old daughter, who are both supporters. I don’t generally watch football myself, but used to watch it before I had the kids and understand that football is important to my family.

My husband and kids are Man Utd fans and have been lucky enough to go to Man Utd games, as well as to our local team, Cheltenham Town. My husband also wanted them to go to Wembley to watch England.

 

Wembley stadium

So we went to see England v Lithuania in the qualifiers for Euro 2016. Yes, even me!

Sounds expensive? Actually, it was cheaper than most Premier League games. Adult tickets were £20 each and the kids’ tickets were £10. You have to be a member of the FA to get tickets, but being a member is free and you can join as you book the tickets. For more information go to http://www.thefa.com

I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I know that the whole thing was a much better experience than I’d imagined it would be.

Parking wasn’t cheap, but we pre-booked a space right by the stadium which ensured us a quick getaway. The stadium is right by a big outlet shopping centre, with lots of restaurants (although they do get VERY full when there’s a game on), so you could make a day of it.

Wembley Stadium is a stunning and very impressive building. It really has to be seen to be believed. Inside, everything is very clean, and queues for food, drinks and the toilet are remarkably short. The merchandise was surprisingly good value too – £8 for a hat and £8 for a scarf seemed very reasonable to me. Being in the family stand, there was no swearing or anything horrible. And there were ladies there to paint kids’  (or adults’!) faces – all for free!

 

Face painting, England, Wembley Stadium, Football, Daughter

 

Even for someone who’s not a big football fan, walking into Wembley almost takes your breath away. It’s hard to describe, but it just looks so perfect – perfect green playing surface, perfect red seats. And it’s just so huge! It was incredible to think those seats would fill up, but they did! Even better, it turned out our seats were on the front row, right behind the goal.

We arrived quite early, but didn’t get bored as there’s plenty to look at. The players come out to warm-up, there’s a marching band, Three Lions coming out to high-five the kids and there’s lots more going on.

 

Three Lions, Wembley, Wembley Stadium, England, Football

Before we knew it, the game had started. England were shooting into the other goal and we realised the downside of our front row seats – we couldn’t really see what was going on in the other goal. From where we were sat, it looked like Rooney had scored within three minutes, but the reaction of the crowd showed he hadn’t. A replay on the big screen made it all much clearer. Just three minutes later, he didn’t miss! The crowd (including us!) went wild.

What an amazing thing to see Rooney scoring for England at Wembley within six minutes of the game kicking off. Even for someone like me, who’s not a big football fan, that felt like something really special.

On the radio later, reporters described Lithuania as being dreadful opposition. They weren’t. But it was great that an England win was never in doubt and it was 2-0 at half-time.

The second half was even more exciting as the action was happening right in front of us. We could see Rooney in action just metres away (yes, Rooney is basically the only England player I know these days!). When England were 3-0 up, Another goal, Rooney went off and Harry Kane came on. Even I’d heard of Harry Kane. He scored within about 18 seconds of coming onto the pitch.

We made it to the car, beat the traffic and were home by 11.40pm. It was pretty late, but with a weekend for the kids to recover from their late night, it was OK. In future, I might consider tying it in with a weekend in London.

Going to Wembley to watch England is a really fantastic experience, which I would recommend it for all football fans. I think you would be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

 

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