Sunday, May 18, 2008

Are you ready for some (English) football?

Today's the day. The rain of the past few days is gone and the sky is a brilliant blue. A nice contrast for the Amber Army about to invade London--a few pubs open at 11am so some folks will be heading down on the 10am train even though kickoff is at 4pm. The British version of tail-gating, I guess. I've enjoyed watching Cambridge this week gear up for the big game. It's been the front page story on the Cambridge Evening News twice and the paper put out a 12 page special section on Thursday. When I went to pick up my tickets that day, there was a TV crew interviewing people standing in line. And everyone there was buying United t-shirts, flags, banners, etc. --I had to buy a few things as well, of course. The online fan forums are going crazy as people urge everyone to out-sing, out-chant and out-cheer the Exeter fans. It's a interesting mix of NFL football fanaticism and college football enthusiasm--the Aggies out there might be interested to hear all the discussion of the crowd being the 12th Man today. I watched the FA cup on TV yesterday and those fans must have had about 5,000 flags. It will be fun to 20,000 people bouncing--I learned this week that the Bounce Bounce chant is not an old English tradition--it may even be unique to the U's here in the UK. The chap who pounds the drums for United recently went to South America and saw that at soccer matches there, people started counting down--10,9, 8....and then started bouncing. He decided that would be a family-friendly cheer for United--many of the English football songs/cheers are laced with profanity--and so adapted it to "Bounce Bounce Amber Army Bounce Bounce". The first Bounce Bounce was only at a September game. KT and I will be wearing our Bounce Bounce shirts today--The U's are Going Up!--JT

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