Sporting Travels

Growing up in England, football was always going to be a big part of my childhood, and I took in a few games in the early 80s, firstly with family and then my father before going it alone from 1985. After moving to London in 1990, I went a little overboard with games and even had the idea of going to every football ground in the country. That idea ended after I moved away from the UK, but I managed to attend some decent sports events over the years and more recently I've picked up a new hobby and added a few Baseball Parks and Stadiums on recent trips to the US. 

 

As for football, there are a few stadium duplicates in there, but I've tried to add in my first visit to the stadium, as well as any memorable matches that I've also witnessed. Looking back, I went to some great stadiums, a few of which are no more. I saw some great matches with some superb players, some of whom are now considered legends. I'd love to say there was never a dull moment, but given my luck in picking matches, there definitely were.

 

Back then, we could decide to go to a game on a whim with no planning involved. As a kid, I could get the bus to West Bromwich, walk to the ground, stand in the Brummie Road End, get a programme and the bus home all for less than a fiver. Living in London it was a little more expensive, but we could still look at the day's fixtures on a Saturday morning and decide which game we were going to see. Today, we all know the game has changed a lot, but what has changed most for me is that I wouldn't even know where to start if I wanted to watch my team from the Brummie Road again.

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Roker Park: Sunderland 0 - 0 West Bromwich Albion
Scorers: n/a
My first football match and of course my first West Brom game. I was the only Albion fan in the family, so the decision to go was surely taken with me in mind and probably decided on a whim while we were staying in nearby Cleadon with my Grandparents. No goals, but I got to see some Albion heroes that day including Bryan Robson, John Wile, Tony Godden, Remi Moses, Ally Brown and two of the Three Degrees - Brendon Batson and my all-time hero Cyrille Regis. Unfortunately I was just a year or so too late to see the last of the Degrees - my other Albion hero, Laurie Cunningham. All I remember of the game was being at the front of the stand with my brother, close to the half-way line and big Cyrille collecting the ball to take a throw-in just in front of us.

December 26th, 1980

May 8th, 1982

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 0 - 1 Aston Villa
Scorer: Pat Heard
My first game at The Hawthorns, just after my tenth birthday. There was a 'family enclosure' but I'm glad my Dad took me to the Birmingham Road End, where we used to stand behind the goal. I got to see a few other Albion legends that I didn't see in my first match including Derek Statham, Ally Robertson and Martyn Bennett. I also got my one and only Albion player autograph that day - a young player by the name of Derek Monaghan. Bad result on the day, but we likely would not have seen the last-minute goal as my Dad liked to leave ten minutes before the end to beat the traffic, and the violence. I distinctly remember being guided away from fights which were starting well before the final whistle.
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November 13th, 1982

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 3 - 3 Swansea
Scorers: Nicky Cross, Martin Jol, Peter Eastoe, Leighton James, Jeremy Charles, Robbie James
Every football fan truly believes that the things they do before and during a match directly influence the game. Some of us believe we really can jinx a result. Not sure what I did here, but this may have been the start of my 'Albion luck' as we blew a 3-0 lead in the last 20 minutes. Looking back, I think we were sat in the family enclosure, and maybe the only consolation that day was that I got to see big Cyrille Regis for the last time. 

April 8th, 1985

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 1 - 0 Aston Villa
Scorer: Carl Valentine
Just short of my 13th birthday I finally got to see us beat the Villa and I should remember more. As it happens, it became our last win against Villa until April 2011. Looking back now, the crazy thing about this match is that is was the last time I saw Albion play in the top-flight.
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February 21st, 1987

Fellows Park: Walsall 1 - 1 Watford
Scorers: Trevor Christie, David Bardsley
Nothing much to write home about, I went with a Walsall-supporting schoolmate to see this FA Cup match. It was a great Cup atmosphere - Third Division versus First Division, with some notable players on show - a young John Barnes and former and future Baggies Nicky Cross and Craig Shakespeare. 

May 9th, 1987

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 2 - 2 Bradford City
Scorers: Gary Robson, Don Goodman

Last game of the season of our first back in the Second Division. A new breed of players that I would see a lot over the next few years including our scorers above, Stuart Naylor as well as a young Carlton Palmer.

This would have been my first time watching from the back of the Brummie Road End, which was always a wild experience especially when we scored. After the two-minute frenzy settled down, you'd could be anywhere from 5-10 metres away from where you were before the goal, but hopefully still in one piece. All good fun.
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December 18th, 1987

Villa Park: Aston Villa 0 - 0 West Bromwich Albion
Scorers: n/a
I remember this one as it was a Friday night game and it being a local derby away from home, I had to promise my parents I was meeting friends, which I wasn't. I sat with the Albion fans, so avoided most of the aggression. 

March 8th, 1988

St. Andrews: Birmingham City 0 - 1 West Bromwich Albion
Scorer: Robbie Hopkins
A midweek game, I went with three Birmingham City supporters - two schoolmates and one of their Dads. We stood in the Birmingham end as Birmingham-born, ex-Birmingham City player & Birmingham City supporter, Robbie Hopkins scored a last-minute goal. I managed to keep my excitement in check to get out in one piece!
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January 7th, 1989

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 1 - 1 Everton
Scorers: Colin Anderson, Kevin Sheedy
From memory, one of the greatest atmospheres I ever experienced in the Birmingham Road End and maybe the biggest attendance I was part of at over 31k. It was FA Cup day, and Albion were high flying in the Second Division and 'one of the most in-form teams in the country' as per Match of the Day. Everton were in the First Division of course and it was a superb game. We gave a great account of ourselves and should have beaten them. We gave Peter Reid a lot of stick too. 

February 24th, 1989

Villa Park: Aston Villa 0 - 3 Wimbledon
Scorers: John Fashanu (2), Paul Miller
Most of my mates are Villa fans, so I sometimes tagged along for a good day out. I didn't last long on this day though, as I was escorted out of the ground for making 'obscene gestures' (flicking the V-sign) by some over-zealous West Midlands Police Officers. First and last time, but it's a story that's served me well over the years!
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April 8th, 1989

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 2 - 3 Chelsea
Scorers: Colin Anderson, Tony Ford, Graham Roberts, David Lee, Kevin McAllister
Both teams were doing well in the Second Division, but this defeat pretty much ended our run at automatic promotion and we missed out on the play-offs too. We played well, scored first but were not good enough against the eventual champions.  

April 15th, 1989

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 2 - 2 Plymouth Argyle
Scorers: Colin West, OG
Not a memorable game, but one of the most horrific days in the history of English football. I arrived at the ground as normal, but in the run up to kick-off, I felt nauseous and light-headed and had to sit down below the stand to get myself together. Feeling better as the match kicked off, we heard on someone's radio about 'crowd trouble' at Hillsborough, with one person dead. Then it was six. We didn't get the full story until we got home. The most tragic day ever in English football and the worst day ever for the 96 families who lost their loved ones on that day. All they did was go to a football match, and they never came home. 
Looking back now, I can see it from both sides. As a football supporter in the 80s, this could have happened at any ground on any given Saturday. The conditions in the stands were always geared towards restriction and control, and the police treated supporters with disdain and contempt. Afterwards, I never felt that it could have been me - I was 16 and life moved on. But as a father looking back, I still read the stories of parents whose children never came home, of families who lost fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters and it now hits home. To the 96, Rest in Peace. 
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July 10th, 1989

Edgbaston: The Ashes - England vs Australia 3rd Test
In the summer of 1989, I took a part-time job at Edgbaston Cricket Ground during the 3rd Ashes Test. It was an easy gig, selling bottled beer to thirsty punters but I didn't get to see much action in the first three (damp) days. Fortunately, I was able to use my work pass to access the ground on the fourth and fifth days (the Monday and Tuesday in those days). I sat in the stand with a good bunch of rowdy fans and saw the Aussies all out for 424 before a rough innings from England, tormented by Terry Alderman, Merv Hughes and Geoff Lawson. Fortunately Ian Botham came in and hit a decent 46 in a nice partnership with Jack Russell. The match was drawn, but great to have seen an Ashes Test with some legendary players on show.

January 6th, 1990

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 2 - 0 Wimbledon
Scorers: Gary Robson, Kevin Bartlett
A great FA Cup win against First Division opposition. I used to talk up the great partnership between our natural goalscorer Don Goodman and winger Kevin Bartlett, who had such pace. I was sad when he was sold for peanuts later that season. 
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January 27th, 1990

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 1 - 0 Charlton
Scorer: Tony Ford
A miserable day weather-wise, but a great win in the fourth round of the FA Cup against another First Division side. I'll always believe that Tony Ford's shot was not going in until a goal-line puddle diverted it into the goal. Who cares, they all count. 
Side note - Tony Ford played over 1,000 games in his career, but never in the top flight. 

May 5th, 1990

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 1 - 3 Ipswich Town
Scorer: Gary Bannister
I have no memory of this game itself, only the build up. I had turned 18 during the week and celebrated with friends on the Friday night before the match. Needless to say I had a terrible hangover which was made worse by sitting on a stop-start, jerky and stuffy double-decker bus, and as we pulled into West Bromwich town centre I was not in a good way. As we shuffled along the bus to exit, I couldn't hold it in and threw up over the back of the legs of the poor old lady in front of me. I didn't hang around and continued throwing up in the bus station while my mate apologized to all concerned. The match itself, who knows, but if my memory serves me well, I think we saw the return of Romeo Zondervan to The Hawthorns, playing for Ipswich of course.
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July 9th, 1990

Edgbaston: England vs New Zealand 3rd Test
A year after my first Cricket match, I was back at Edgbaston for the same beer-selling gig, this time against New Zealand. Once again, I didn't see much action in the first three days, but was able to sneak back in on days 4 and 5. England ultimately won the match, and I (think I) remember watching big Devon Malcolm steaming in for 5 wickets and New Zealand legend Richard Hadlee's last ever test match after also taking 5 wickets including one with his very last ball.

September 29th, 1990

White Hart Lane: Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 1 Aston Villa
Scorers: Gary Lineker, Paul Allen, David Platt

My first London game and a post-Italia '90 match featuring some of it's stars including two of the scorers above as well as Paul Gascoigne. No real dog in the fight for me, but always nice to see the Villa lose.
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October 2nd, 1990

Craven Cottage: Fulham 2 - 2 Birmingham City
Scorers: Trevor Matthewson, Vince Overson, Gary Brazil, Leroy Rosenior
I must have been homesick, so when Birmingham City came to town, within (long) walking distance of my new student digs in London, I took the chance to go. I don't remember much, but it was a decent match in the company of some fellow Brummies.

October 6th, 1990

The Den: Milwall 4 - 1 West Bromwich Albion
Scorers: Colin West, Teddy Sheringham (3), Alex Rae
My first Albion match in London. I stood towards the back of the away stand and gladly taunted the Milwall fans until they started taking polaroid photos of us. Supposedly they used these to identify and beat up the opposition fans after the match. A terrible game for the Albion, but I suppose it was 'good' to have seen an England legend in his early years. After the thrashing, we were kept back for 45 minutes, then given a police escort to the coaches. Unfortunately I had to break away from the safety of the group and head home on the tube. Nasty.
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October 20th, 1990

Plough Lane: Wimbledon 0 - 0 Aston Villa
Scorers: n/a
I went with a few college mates and stood with the Villa fans in probably the worst worst game of football I've ever witnessed inside probably the worst ground. "Hans Segers, you play for a shit team" was the only memorable moment - shouted at the Wimbledon keeper by some Villa wag.

November 17th, 1990

Highbury: Arsenal 4 - 0 Southampton
Scorers: Alan Smith (2), Anders Limpar, Paul Merson 
My first Arsenal game and the beginning of a small crush that lasted until West Brom started to play them after our eventual promotion to the Premier League. I fell in with a few Gooners at college and made the trip up to Highbury a few more times that Championship-winning season. It was a great season.
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November 24th, 1990

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 1 - 2 Sheffield Wednesday
Scorers: Gary Robson
No idea why I went back home for this match, but it was memorable only as it was the return of 'Big' Ron Atkinson, after twice walking out on West Brom. Firstly in 1981 when he went to Man. Utd and took Bryan Robson and Remi Moses with him, and then again in 1988 when he went to Athletico Madrid. Both big clubs of course, but we're a proud club and I'm ashamed to say that we gave him an awful lot of stick that day. He had the last laugh though, with two late goals and was quite happy to celebrate on the pitch when the second one went in. We probably deserved it to be honest - some of the abuse was way over the top.

November 28th, 1990

Highbury: Arsenal 2 - 6 Manchester United
Scorers: Alan Smith (2), Lee Sharpe (3), Mark Hughes, Danny Wallace, Clayton Blackmore
A mid-week League Cup thrashing, but a great game for a neutral which saw the emergence of some of Fergie's youngsters including hat-trick hero Lee Sharpe. Both teams had clashed on the pitch in their league match a month or so earlier, so lots of bad blood in this match but it ended in Arsenal's worst home defeat for fifty years.
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December 1st, 1990

Upton Park: West Ham United 3 - 1 West Bromwich Albion
Scorers: Tony Ford, George Parris, Trevor Morley, Frank McAvennie
A missed penalty by Colin West is the only thing I remember about this easily-forgettable thrashing. I also recall some fun taunting of the ICF (Inter City Firm - West Ham's hooligan element), and being held back for way too long after the game. Once again, I had to break away from the safety of the herd to go home on the tube.

December 2nd, 1990

Highbury: Arsenal 3 - 0 Liverpool
Scorers: Paul Merson, Lee Dixon, Alan Smith
My third match in five days - no wonder I was always broke as a student. After the midweek thrashing, the Gooners feared the worse, but destroyed the previously-unbeaten Liverpool that day. Kudos to Bruce Grobbelaar who playfully acknowledged the taunting when 3-0 down. Not many do that with 5,000 people standing behind you in the Clock end.
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January 19th, 1991

Loftus Road: Queen's Park Rangers 1 - 1 Manchester United
Scorers: Mike Phelan, Mark Falco
I don't remember anything about this match, but tagged along with my Man. Utd supporting mate. I seem to remember a late equalizer though - I think for QPR as I think my mate went home gutted.

March 9th, 1991

Stamford Bridge: Chelsea 3 - 2 Manchester United
Scorers: Tony Dorigo, Ken Monkou, Gordon Durie, Mark Hughes, Brian McClair
Another game with my Man. Utd-supporting mate, and I don't remember too much about this one either. But some legends amongst the scorers.  
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March 30th, 1991

Putney Bridge: The University Boat Race
Having moved to London for University in 1990, watching The Boat Race was an obvious choice given my college was just a short walk from the race start at Putney Bridge. I don't remember too much about the rowing, although there is not much to see - just two boats getting ready for the start. The pub of choice was always The Star and Garter which gave a decent view of the river. Once they started, that's pretty much it as far as watching the race, although there were plenty more beers to be had. Looking back now, we would have seen four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Sir Matthew Pinsent in the Oxford boat, who by 4 1/4 lengths. All good fun.

April 13th, 1991

Selhurst Park: Crystal Palace 0 - 0 Aston Villa
Scorers: n/a
My Villa-supporting mates came down to London for this match - long way to go for a nil-nil draw. The night on the town made up for it though!
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April 23rd, 1991

Vicarage Road: Watford 1 - 1 West Bromwich Albion
Scorer: Don Goodman
Not much to write home about I'm afraid, but a good, hard-fought point away from home. Not sure what happens when you go there now, but I remember arriving at the stadium, but then being directed around a large allotment before finally getting to the away end. Albion were struggling in the League though, they needed more than one point.

May 11th, 1991

The Dell: Southampton 1 - 1 Wimbledon
Scorers: Jimmy Case, John Fashanu
The worst day in Albion's history - we dropped to the third tier for the first time in 113 years. I couldn't get a ticket to go to Bristol to support them, so I went to Southampton with a Saints-supporting mate to keep my mind off it. When the news came through, I cried tears over Albion for the first time ever. 
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August 31st, 1992

The Belfry: English Open Golf Championship
During the summer months over a 2-3 year period, I did some general labouring at The Belfry - setting up and pulling down the stands for the English Open Golf Championship. Obviously no work to do while the punters were enjoying the golf tournament, so I went along on the final day to join in. There were no massive names on show this day, but I followed the final group and saw Vicente Fernandez hole a monster putt on the final green to win the tournament. It was a seriously massive putt, probably 40m in all, from the lower tier, across the middle tier, all the way to the upper tier until she dropped. The guy went crazy, but unfortunately in those days, there were no video cameras around to record it.

October 19th, 1991

Griffin Park: Brentford 1 - 2 West Bromwich Albion
Scorers: Don Goodman, Kwame Ampadu
The Third Division, no fun at all. But we played some new teams and won more than we lost. Despite winning, Bobby Gould was almost universally despised and anger was vented for the whole 90 minutes. I was in the home end, so had to keep schtum as we scored a late winner.
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November 9th, 1991

Elm Park: Reading 1 - 2 West Bromwich Albion
Scorers: Don Goodman, Gary Robson
More winning against new teams. Zero memories of this one, but it was just a train-ride away, so of course I went.

October 14th, 1992

Wembley Stadium: England 1 - 1 Norway
Scorer: David Platt
My first England match and my first trip to Wembley - the real one. It was fun walking around looking for your team's flag - all teams who had played there had a flag in the rafters. Everyone wears their own Club's shirt too, and no serious animosity noticed. As Norway lined up to take a throw-in deep in our half, I noticed a big guy unmarked just outside the area and said the same to my mate - better watch out for him. He scored. This was an early qualification game for the 1994 World Cup which England ultimately failed to qualify for.
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November 7th, 1992

Brisbane Road: Leyton Orient 2 - 0 West Bromwich Albion
Scorers: n/a
West Brom still in the Third Division and more new teams to the 'home' of Laurie Cunningham - where he started out as a young player. I drove in my old mini, with a mate, his girlfriend and a girl I was seeing at the time. Not the ideal recipe for a fun day out at the football to be honest. A terrible game. One of those matches that give you zero pleasure whatsoever. Luther Blisset was playing for us for some reason. He missed a sitter. No goals, no hope.

January 2nd, 1993

The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 0 - 2 West Ham United
Scorers: Clive Allen, Mark Robson
Another one of those matches where you wish you'd not bothered. The fog was so heavy, we literally couldn't see the other end of the stadium and West Ham didn't have to do much to win this FA Cup match. Then I worked my way back to my car only to see I'd left the lights on. After a two-hour wait for the AA, I was on my way home. Lousy day, and my last game in the Brummie Road End before it was pulled down in 1994.
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May 30th, 1993

Wembley Stadium: Port Vale 0 - 3 West Bromwich Albion
Scorer: Andy Hunt, Ian Hamilton, Nicky Reid
One of the greatest days in our modern history. I had no ticket, but made my way to Wembley with 40 quid in my pocket. I asked a tout and was quoted 60. He took my 40 in the end, and as I walked away I realized I hadn't even checked which end it was in. Luckily I had a great seat behind the tunnel and after a goalless first half, I saw my team win at the old Wembley. Not many Albion memories will top that, and we haven't won there since. 

June 1993

The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon
I had been to Wimbledon a few times over the years, once in the late 70s (I think), when I was lifted up onto some shoulders to catch a glimpse of Borg or McEnroe. During the 80s, I managed to blag a ground pass two or three times and went down to London to see some lesser matches on the outside courts. There was no 'Henman Hill' back then, so all we saw of the show courts was a big scoreboard. Once at College in the early 90s and living a stones throw away from Wimbledon itself, I continued my ground pass visits, but the one year I remember was 1993, when I blagged myself onto No. 1 Court and watched Pete Sampras in the early rounds. He went on to win the first of his seven Wimbledon titles, so it was good to see him in his early years.
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December 11th, 1993

Roots Hall: Southend 0 - 3 West Bromwich Albion
Scorers: Andy Hunt, Ian Hamilton, Bob Taylor
Back in the Second Division and one of the greatest turnarounds of any match I've attended. At 0-0, we conceded a penalty which of course spells the worst. Up steps Tony Lange, who saved the penalty, throws it out and we head straight down the other end and score. All within 30 seconds. Never have I witnessed such a fast swing of emotions at a football match.

April 12th, 1994

The Manor Ground: Oxford United 1 - 1 West Bromwich Albion
Scorer: Bob Taylor
Second time lucky for this match. I drove up for the first attempt but it was called off. After we got the news, we headed for the pub and bumped into John Byrne and I think Jim Magilton who didn't take long to get the beers in. Second time was luckier with a great atmosphere and a hard-earned point in my last ever game on English soil.
Pictures of West Bromwich Albion legend
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September 21st, 1996

St, Pierre Hotel & Country Club, Wales: The Solheim Cup
Not sure how this came about, but I ended up driving down to Chepstow with my Mum to watch some ladies golf. It's a pretty big tournament these days and was also fairly big back then although we managed to get some tickets for the first or second day. I don't remember too much about the golf, but we did follow Laura Davies around for her morning fourball and I distinctly remember her eyeballing me when I gave her a 'well done Laura!' as she strode past me after a good putt. Europe ultimately lost this one, but it was good to see some quality golf up close.

March 22nd, 1997

Hong Kong Stadium: Rugby World Cup Sevens
I've been to the Hong Kong Sevens many times over the years with the most memorable being in 2006 when I saw England win (and they have not won since). More on that below. I have since introduced my kids to the tradition and they went through this wild rite of passage as teenagers with their mates. But the first time I went was in 1997 when it was also the World Cup Sevens. Not a wild one at all, I only went on day two but saw England win their group matches against Canada and the Cook Islands. Not much to write home about but the England team featured a few young players who would go on to win the real World Cup six years later - Mike Catt, Richard Hill and Neil Back.
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November 16th, 1997

Macau Grand Prix: Guia Circuit
Despite spending so many years in Macau and Hong Kong, I only went to the famous Macau Grand Prix one time. My hotel was doing the catering, so I managed to get a pretty good vantage point from the roof of some building or other. The F3 Grand Prix has some serious history seeing the likes of Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard racing and winning. It's a pretty good day out and was a great atmosphere at the start and at the end when spectators were allowed on the track and up close and personal with the cars and the drivers. Looking back at the drivers line up that day, the biggest future F1 name on the grid was Mark Webber with Ralph Firman also going on to race in F1. No idea who the fellow is in the photo, but that shows how close we were allowed to go before the race.

May 1st, 1998

The Macau Golf & Country Club: The Macau Open
During the last year of my first stint in Macau, I managed to get a ticket for an early round of the Macau Open Golf Tournament. Not a massive tournament on the Asian Tour, but two big names were on the card - one of my golfing idols - Nick Faldo and Vijay Singh. I followed Faldo for the whole of his round, and it was great to get up close - probably only 10 people in the entourage so we could get pretty close at the tees. Close enough that his caddy, Fanny Suneson, told me off at one point for taking photos on his back-swing. Sorry Fanny. Anyhow he didn't tear up the fairways, but it was superb to watch a six-time major winner in action. 
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April 2nd, 2006

Hong Kong Stadium: Hong Kong Sevens 
As mentioned earlier, I've been to the HK Sevens many times over the years, but this one was the most memorable of them all. Not just because England won the whole thing, but it was also a wild weekend with a few old mates.
I was living in Cebu at the time, and flew in to HK to meet up with an old mate who had flown in from the UK. I arranged the accommodation and we ended up in a tiny box in downtown Mong Kok. Not my best choice. The rugby was great though, as we went on all three days and as any group of lads does, we naturally spent a fair bit of time in the South Stand. The most fun came though when we blagged our way into one of the boxes and enjoyed free drinks and an absolutely amazing view. I was still in there for the final, which was a thriller of a match, as described below:
The 30th edition of arguably the biggest event in the Sevens version of the game saw what Planet-Rugby.com called an "absolutely mesmerising" final. The first half belonged to England, who took advantage of a Fiji sin-binning to break open a tight game to take a 19–7 lead at the break. Serevi's men stormed back in the second half to level the score, and eventually took the lead on a Ryder try. However, they turned the ball over as the full-time siren sounded. England took advantage, with Ben Gollings scoring a try to tie the match and converting to win.
Notable players on show: Waisale Serevi, Ben Gollings

July 3rd, 2015

Yankee Stadium: Tampa Bay Rays 5 @ New York Yankees 7
A long wait to resume my sporting travels, but 2015 saw my first visit to the US and the start of a new hobby to visit some classic US stadiums.
This was our first night in New York, and as much as I love baseball, it's hard to stay focused when jet-lagged and cold. We left at the middle of the 8th Inning with the Yankees down by three runs. Unfortunately, that's when the game came to life with another nine runs and a Yankee win in the bottom of the 12th Inning. 
Notable players on show: Alex Rodriguez
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July 12th, 2015

Fenway Park: New York Yankees 8 @ Boston Red Sox 6
A visit to the oldest ballpark in America and home of my Red Sox was always going to be top of list.
Not the result I wanted, but plenty of hits and a few lead changes. We were always in the game and not far from forcing extra innings with 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th. A pretty hot day in the centre field bleacher seats, but a great day out for all the family. The girls got to run the bases after the game and I got close to the hallowed turf.
Notable players on show: Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, Nathan Eovaldi, 

July 21st, 2017

AT&T Park: San Diego Padres 12 @ San Francisco Giants 9
Two days before running the San Francisco Marathon, my daughter and I took in a great Giants game. Lots of hits in this one, the Padres were up by 3 runs until a great comeback by the Giants in the bottom of the 9th. Unfortunately it was getting colder and colder as the night wore on, and we bailed just as extra innings got going. The Padres finally won it with 3 runs in the top of the 11th inning. 
We had great seats close to the 3rd base line in the hope of catching a foul ball, but it wasn't to be. 
Notable players on show: Eduardo Nunez (prominent Red Sox in our 2018 World Series run)
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November 7th, 2018

Staples Centre: Timberwolves 110 @ Lakers 114
The first night of my week-long sports-fest in L.A. saw me heading to Staples Centre to see LeBron James and the Lakers. As a Celtics man, I'll always root against the Lakers, but had to see arguably the games greatest ever player when I had the chance.
Very much of a touristy atmosphere around, but a pretty good game saw Lakers coming back in the 4th Quarter to win, with a decent 24 points from LeBron.
Notable players on show: LeBron James of course, and Rajon Rondo (Celtics 2008 Championship player).

November 9th, 2018

Vivint Smart Home Arena: Celtics 115 @ Jazz 123
A short flight from L.A. was all it took for me to see my Celtics in action. 
A very passionate home crowd with constant jeering for the returning Gordon Hayward saw the Jazz come out on top. The Celtics got within 4 with 35 points in the 4th Quarter, but couldn't quite complete the comeback. Ex-Celtic Jae Crowder made the difference with 20 points off the bench. 
Notable players on show: Jason Tatum, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown - young Celtics now but future legends.
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November 10th, 2018

Staples Centre: Calgary Flames 1 @ L.A. Kings 0
While I'm not the NHL's biggest fan, it is something I follow from a distance and I took the chance to see a game when I got back from Salt Lake City. As usual with US sports, the national anthem is played at the start, but on this occasion with the Canadian Flames in town, we got two anthems. 
Not much to write home about this one, with the only goal coming early in the 1st period. I'm glad I went, but I now know why I don't watch too much NHL.
Notable players on show: Who knows?

November 11th, 2018

L.A. Coliseum: Seattle Seahawks 31 @ L.A. Rams 36
I've been a NFL fan since 1986, so had to get a game in during my week-long sports-fest. Going to an NFL game is a big day out for all involved, with tailgate parties starting hours before the game starts. The food offerings are amazing too with all the classic American favourites available.
A great game saw several lead changes with the Rams coming out on top on their way to the Superbowl where they eventually lost to the Patriots. A great day out in the L.A. sunshine.
Notable players on show: Russell Wilson
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November 12th, 2018

Staples Centre: Golden State Warriors 116 @ L.A. Clippers 121
My third visit to Staples Centre in the week, and the last game of my L.A. trip.
The reigning NBA Champions Warriors were in town against the Doc Rivers-led Clippers. A better atmosphere than the Lakers game with more real fans around, we saw a great game which the Clippers took after overtime. 
Notable players on show: Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Clipper's Head Coach Doc Rivers.