Last Thursday night I attended my first Player of the Year Awards. It was part of my brothers 21st birthday present and I have to say I was a little excited about going myself. The chance to meet some of the players whilst dressed to impress rather than in my usual football attire of jeans and footie shirt, was appealing.
Not that I was under any illusions it would end as my dream the night before in a torrid love affair with an attacking midfielder who would whisk me away to a romantic beach cottage in the closed season and ask me to marry him. The idea of having a relaxed chat over a glass of wine, was more my expectation, I realise this was probably equally as far-fetched as my dream!
The night was good, the food and wine were excellent and I was lucky enough to share the table with some lovely people. We even had some auction winners on our table. As much as I would have loved to be able to afford to bid for some of the items I was happy to be sharing a table with those who did.
My brother enjoyed the night more than I did. He drank considerably more without the fear of having to go to work the next day. He was also regularly mistaken for a member of the Chelsea FC Youth Team, much to my amusement. He even had a chance encounter with Juan Mata as he was leaving and had his photo taken with one of Juan’s Player of the Year trophies. Again much to my annoyance as I had not managed to get near any of the players!
If anyone is interested on knowing what the night is like, I’ll do a quick run through. You arrive under the Shed End for a drinks reception, we had the worlds biggest gin & tonics which were almost served in vases. We headed through to the Great Hall under the West Stand for a lovely 3 course dinner and as much beer and wine as you could drink until midnight when you had to get your wallet out! Then we headed over to Under the Bridge for the After Party until our Taxi at 1am.
By 12.30 I was flagging, the wine and guilt about having to work the next day was beginning to kick in. It was also about the time they turned the music up and my ear drums almost burst! I have never been one for clubbing, this was my first night in a club, only for me to realise the music is too loud and I’m now officially too old for nightclubs!
We didn’t get to see much of the players as they were in a penned off area in the middle of the room, which was a little disappointing. We did see them go up and get their awards and the Europa League trophy was on display on the stage all night, having brought the silverware home from Amsterdam that morning, meaning we were the first ones to see the team with the trophy at Stamford Bridge!
Would I go again, the truth is I don’t know. It was a fun night and I met some nice people but the absence of any player interaction was for me missing a trick. I didn’t expect the players to be on hand to answer every question under the sun but a quick photo from the back of the pen and a wave would have done me.
Its something I can now say I’ve done and in terms of experience I was glad I did, whether it is an experience I would repeat remains to be seen.
Some photo’s I took of the night: