Here's a picture from the BBC - this is what we were seeing amassing on our way to the station...
And the fans were not happy with their loss (but then they may have done the same thing had they won), the article headline is: Uefa Cup fans class with police which you can click to read if you like.
Here's the main roundabout in Edgeley, my neighborhood as I see it as I walk to the train station.
And then the station after a loaded one left for Manchester (I waited for the next one).
Today was my "accompaniment" day with my manager. That means a "ride-along". He rotates and goes out with his sales staff to do one-on-ones etc. on a regular basis. Today for us, though, it was more about getting to know each other since we hadn't spent any time together since my first day on the job. My manager's great, very genuine and good-natured. He's so excited about pause and believes in it with all his heart. Our "accompaniment" day started with each of us taking the train into the city centre and rendez-vousing at...Starbucks! Picadilly is a pretty big train station with 13 platforms (my local station, Stockport, has 4). And by the way, I walked to the station today to catch my train!! Yes, the threat of huge parking costs has deterred me plus the weather was really nice, not too hot. Anyway...
When I arrived at Picadilly, there were a lot of guys in blue jerseys, many said "Carling" on them, which is a beer. I figured there was some football (soccer) match on somewhere. But keeping in mind it was 9:45AM! When I met up with Carl, he remarked it might not be a good day to be in the city since the UEFA finals were being held in Manchester. It's a European football championship and the city was expecting some 150,000 people to visit for it, even though there were only 17,000 tickets sold. Where would the other 133,000 mostly male football fans spend all day? Pubs. Or before the pubs opened, they'd be drinking from their personal stashes and trying to find ways to use the bathrooms in other establishments (saw this first hand, I did at yes, you guessed it, another Starbucks).
By 11am it was getting serious. The blue shirts were everywhere as were lots of flags and singing of Royal Britiannia in loud, lager-infused voices. Carl and I attempted to cold-call (my very favourite thing to do of course) but it was getting so loud out on the streets (which should've made us want to go into business more not less) and so many bodies, did I mention they were drinking? A LOT?
We thought we were smart in our choice of direction - turns out there was no right route for the throngs of fans. Oh, did I mention that these fans were all down from Scotland? Manchester was only hosting the match. It was the Rangers vs some Russian team.
My boss told me about the football leagues in Scotland and how there are two main teams that are any good, the Celtics and Rangers, both from Glasgow. And they are fanatically opposed to each other (the fans). When these two teams meet, someone ends up stabbed in the crowds etc. He joked that he's lucky I wasn't wearing Celtic colours today because I'd get smacked in the head at some point in the day, even though I was a girl. Anyway, the two teams' histories and hatred goes back to a religious divide, a la Northern Ireland. So the Celtics are catholic and the Rangers are protestant. He told me more but I'm running out of caring about these football teams...
All I know is that they prevented us from working all day (darn!) It got so crazy, loud, smelly (beer, cigarettes, bodies, urine) that at about 1 we made our way back to the station thinking it'd be calmer in there. Now this is about 1:00 and keep in mind the match wasn't going to be until 7:45 in the evening!! I tried to take some pics as I could but I didn't want to stop for fear of being run down by hordes of celebrating Scotsmen (which may normally sound like a nice thing but in this context not so much). And boy do they swear! I was hearing words most people would never dream of saying unless they were beyond upset coming up in what sounded like every day conversation. Still, with those accents, I didn't find it nearly as offensive. :)
Anyway, hope all those Ranger fans can cheer to a big win tonight and here's to moving on...moving forward...letting go...and August reminded me of one of her favorite sayings, "if you have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow than you are pissing on today." Cheers to that.