‘I wish I was a spaceman the fastest guy alive’. So sang Steve Zodiac in the old Gerry Anderson series Fireball XL5. But it wasn’t just Steve who went into outer space. So did a lot of Rovers fans in Amsterdam, before and after our UEFA Cup match against Feyenoord.
It might not have been the best of starts. But Blackpool Airport was great. After checking in, we went back to the pub next door, where we’d already been for our tea. We flew to Amsterdam’s airport, which sounded like it was called ‘Shi*hole’. But Schiphol was far from that. In fact we were in and out and on to this brilliant double-decker train before we knew it. From Centraal Station, we were only round the corner, dossing on the Boatel. So within a couple of hours we’d been by train, plane, and train again, to end up on a boat – full of Rovers fans. This boatel even had its own in-house porn channel on the telly. It is Holland you know!
Once we checked in and dropped off our gear, it was a bee-line for the red light district. First pub we went in had its own little bar-within-a-bar, selling all sorts of strange cigarettes. Didn’t need to buy any as the air was full of wacky backy smoke already. It was the same in the other bars we frequented. Loads of Rovers fans where all over the place, in more ways than one. It was said the majority of our fans were lads between the age of 16 and 25. Surprise, surprise! They didn’t go to Amsterdam for the tulips either.
Highlight of the night before the match was going in the Olde Sailor pub. This seemed to tbe the place where most Rovers fans met up on this trip to Amsterdam. There were some dodgy characters round here. Including a man who wore a plant pot on his head. Not sure what kind of plant it was, but you could probably have smoked its leaves.
It was going to Feyenoord where things got a bit more difficult. Me and my mate fancied a look down the Oude Haven, so we caught an earlier train to Rotterdam. Our train didn’t stop at the main station here, but one called Rotterdam Blaak. We had to get off and join another to the ground. It was a bit dodgy as Dutch fans came on the station and the train was full of them too. But our little group of Rovers fans kept quiet and we were at De Kuip before we knew it. As for our trip to the Oude Haven, it just didn’t happen. Might not have been a bad thing as other fans we talked to were herded all over the place before landing in the ground.
At least the atmosphere was great and we got the point we needed. Bit of a long time before we were let out the ground and put on our trains back to Amsterdam. Didn’t bother trying to find a bar when we got back, I was knackered by now. But, there was one more afternoon round the red light district before flying home. We met one Rovers fan who’d missed his plane. Fortunately he managed to get on another cheap flight back to Blighty.
I really enjoyed this trip. Wouldn’t mind drawing Ajax some time in the future. Amsterdam – definitely not to be missed.