A ‘Lille’ Plan

Since starting university I have heard a fair share of my lecturers talk about how they would go off to France to ‘talk about journalism’. Why not I thought?

9:13am – ‘Shit, I need to shower, I’m going to be horribly late.’

10:00am – I arrived at university on time and we were given a task for the day, resulting in a PowerPoint presentation to present to the class, who probably didn’t care. We were ordered to do some journalistic research into a subject of our choice. Me and Liam chose to look into whether English football fans pay too much for tickets compared to the rest of Europe. They do.

10:39am – We had completed the first stage of our research – to take an average price of tickets for every Premier League team. It was £53.70, with Arsenal’s the most expensive. It was tedious and our heads were in other places, so we went for coffee.

11:00am – After much confusion with a new coffee machine, we returned with maximum strength coffee for £1.20 and we started to think… ‘What could we buy for £97?’

11:02am – ‘I have found tickets that are only £4.50, mate’ I said to Liam ‘Are we focusing on French football? It’s between Lille v SC Bastia’. Good prices for their local fans, I’ll make notes of that in my Word Document. Coffee and cheap football tickets make for a good flavoured Latte, mixed with a pinch of self-belief we concluded that we could always go. It isn’t really that far. Bastia, themselves, would be travelling further to actually play the game. We shared a moment of understanding. We have to make this happen

12:00pm – People may be getting ideas of what we were planning but there was no chance we were to confirm these suspicions to anyone, not yet, not until our presentation to the class – maybe they would care then.

13:13pm – I phoned my mum to confirm reports that my 03 plate Vauxhall Corsa would not make it on the 700 mile round trip. These reports were confirmed. That’s that idea off the cards. Olly refused to drive, there is a bonfire that night and he wanted to spend it romantically.

2:00pm – After looking at other transport methods, me and Liam were beginning to get rather excited. In fact we were very excited. We were imagining croissants and coffee and the newspapers we could read in coffee shops and the stories we could find and the adventures we could write about and more coffee. It was all so perfect. We shook on it; it was happening.

3:00pm – Our presentation was to start. Oh no, wait! Richard holds us back to present last, almost like he knew that we had amazing news to share. We had to listen to Teeth Whitening presentations and Skin Whitening presentations (I didn’t even know that was a thing).  But we were still feeling a buzz from spontaneous trip ideas and coffee breaks almost 5 hours ago. So much that we were still buzzing at 4:25 when we did our presentation.

Good job we had coffee considering our PowerPoint, I’m sure that no-one cares about Swedish TV Licences to watch football, even us two. The presentation went well.

6:00pm – After much research and hard work into the travel ideas (and of course the PowerPoint). The young chap, Olly, sitting just a foot away from us all day, puts the idea into our heads that he drives tonight. To Ghent. In Belgium, To watch the Champions League. It wasn’t bonfire night after all. We got into a chat with our lecturers about their travels to talk journalism and to watch football. As you expect, we are all buzzing now.

6:15pm – We make it back to our flats and agree to meet at mine in 20 minutes.

6:35pm –  Unsurprisingly ,my family were very confused. Amazing journalists do amazing things.

6:36pm- Fashionably late, they arrive. Olly breaks some news, his tyres may not be legal or safe. During a misty, drizzly evening in Derby we take a walk to Watson’s car – a nice little Audi A3. He had us in suspense for a good seven minutes. The longest seven minutes of my life. Infact – being a Stoke fan – that is not true. He was right, the tyres weren’t legal, Ghent was off.

Or was it?

7:30pm – A round trip to Ghent and back to Derby in time for Thursday’s lecture was £58 each was jaw-dropingly cheap but physically impossible. Where was my passport? In Stoke of course. The train left in 10 minutes. No chance. Our heads dropped.

8:00pm – ‘I think I may have saved the world’. Our heads lifted. Liam was persuading his flatmate, Luke to drive us. Swinging by Stoke on the way down to Dover, amazing.

9:00pm – Obviously not amazing enough. Luke refused. Ghent are no Leicester though. Our attentions turned back to the Lille game, a much more realistic target.

We are only 12 hours into the whole adventure. We have already been set back by a few things, but this is just the start of A Lille Plan we made.

On Saturday morning we will be on our way to France to watch two teams we totally don’t care about, to prove a point that English football is disgustingly overpriced.

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2 thoughts on “A ‘Lille’ Plan

  1. Passports? Pah! I once set off with a colleague to go to France by train, only to discover as we pulled out of Derby that he didn’t realise that he needed a passport to cross the Channel! Don’t panic. He rang his wife to find the passport and get it to my office. I rang a colleague and asked her to get a motorbike courier to take it to St Pancras where we were supposed to be catching the Eurostar. As we arrived in Leicester, my colleague rang from the office to say she had good news and bad news. The passport had turned up at the office and she had given it to a courier who was sure he could get to St Pancras before our train to France left. The bad news? The passport was out of date! Undeterred, we pressed on. The out-of-date passport duly arrived at St Pancras in time for the train and we decided just to board as if there was nothing wrong. Passport checks in London were so lax that they didn’t even notice. In France, they didn’t even check! It wasn’t until we were coming back into England that a border control officer noticed the issue. What could he do? Not much, apparently – he let my colleague through, telling him that he needed to get a new passport.

    Have a great trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This article makes an interesting read, especially Keeble’s points about English football being overpriced. But let’s be honest, if you’re going to a football match, you know you’ll get a lot more value for money if you go to see a top premiership side like Stoke, who can actually score goals! But that’s just my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

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