Pretty much packed and ready to go!
For those of you who can’t make the trip to the Euros I hope you will find my blog over the next two weeks will give you a flavour of what’s it like during our historic trip.
After much tooing and froing and a well publicised spat with the IFA I finally obtained tickets for all three group matches to follow the GAWA and mark my ultimate bucket list priority.
An estimated 1,800 are set to travel from the Maiden City over the next two to four weeks with some remarkable tales of travel arrangements as they descend upon Nice for Sunday’s game.
40,000 are expected from Norn Iron and I hope to catch up with a few Waterside locals and ex-pats during my time there.
Reflecting on how I feel, it’s a bit (I imagine) like being a parent the night before the school nativity play. Excited and nervous.
You know there will be other kids there who are going to better than your own, but you don’t care. You only have eyes for our own. The whole focus will be on our own.
Even if they turn out to be the worst back end of a donkey ever, in my eyes it will be Oscar winning.
Even if they turn out to be rubbish, we will be proud and will have the countless videos and photos to show otherwise.
Tomorrow I begin the trip with three other intrepid travellers from Dublin to Nice via Lyon.
30 years we have waited which pretty much the same length of time I have been going to Windsor to support the team.
The other day my friend Jonny Ming reminded me of that first trip - a 1-0 victory against Chile in what at the time was recorded as the lowest ever attendance at an International fixture, of about 1,800.
In fairness it was the same evening Arsenal beat Liverpool to win the league title at Anfield and those of us that were there spent more time trying to find out how that game was progressing.
Those days of practically having the whole Kop terracing to ourselves though are long gone. I have been a consistent member of the GAWA ever since.
I was there during the lows of the infamous night in November in ‘93 against the Republic, although in fairness the red carpet was hardly rolled out for us either during the corresponding first fixture at Landsdowne Road in those World Cup qualifiers.
Even UEFA though recognise that the transformation has been remarkable (although there is no sign yet of an award winning play). A word of caution though as I’m not exactly a lucky omen on away trips. I’ve travelled to about a dozen away games with a record of 1 draw and 11 defeats. I’m confident though that record will change.
So here’s to a fortnight of adventure, socialising and success, or French rail strikes, sunburn and hangovers, or all six!