FSF fans' embassy member and vice-chair of the Pompey Supporters Trust Ken Malley reports from Brazil on his experiences of getting to Manaus, and what the fans' embassy have been getting up to. The blog originally appeared on the website of the Portsmouth News.
England fans were thin on the ground in Manaus at first and helpline enquiries were mostly ticket related. So it’s quiet so far – let’s hope it stays that way.
The only major incidents we’ve heard of so far is one fan is in hospital having picked up a hernia lifting his suitcase at the airport. I kid you not! He’s travelled 6,000 miles only to miss the first game because his bag was too heavy!
His friends were concerned that, when they flew on to Sao Paulo, he would be left on his own in a hospital where no-one seemed to speak English. We got the British Consulate involved and they were quick to reassure him they would be on hand to help him on his way when the doctors are ready to release him.
The only other incident of note we heard about was after the game when a young England fan was assaulted by a rather large Italian. Locals were quick to step in and separate them and to summon some nearby police. The Italian was arrested and when we got the consulate involved, the Englishman’s only decision was whether he wanted to press charges.
While on the subject, I must say that the consulate have been extremely helpful. They sent their own team of five people to Manaus, and four of those spoke Portuguese.
Now the action is under way, the trials and tribulations of the travelling to reach Brazil are a distant memory. Most of us are used to checking our bags all the way through to our destination, but not so in Brazil. Even if you are connecting with an internal flight, you must collect your bags and then check in again. We had to tackle a horrendous queue for immigration and passport control, which took us about an hour to negotiate.
We then decided to pick up our match tickets from the Fifa collection point – cue another long queue and 45 minutes killed! We eventually reached our hotel in Manaus about 3.30am – 26 hours after leaving Heathrow.
It was a tough trip, but I have to thank the Brazilians for making it more bearable for us.
It didn’t go well for England on the pitch against Italy in terms of the result. But, I can tell you, everyone is having a great time off the pitch out here in Brazil. The game was the hottest I’ve ever been to!
No-one has been too down about the result. Unlike South Africa, everyone agrees the players put in 100 per cent. It’s just a shame they didn’t take their chances.