Wow! That was the best experience of my entire life!… Istanbul wrote me off…
I flew out there on the Thursday with Turkish Airlines from Manchester, I had a taxi pre-booked that I made from booking.com which was return journey to my hostel in Faith… When I woke on Thursday morning I was buzzing for it and I couldn’t wait to get on the plane. I got to Manchester Airport three hours before the flight was due to take off and I went straight through security, no queues whatsoever, and I went straight to the bar! 6 beers in and I overheard someone saying they was going to smoke, I followed them to the smoking area! I didn’t even know Manchester Airport had a smoking area! So straight out there for a vape..
Got on the flight on time, and arrived in Istanbul at 23:10 Turkish time… I had to go and fine the exit gate to meet my transport and if im honest the taxi company put me in a bad mood, just shy of 90 minutes I had to wait for my taxi… Shambles but I was determined not to let it ruin my holiday, I arrived at the hostel at around 2am and my first question and after checking into the hostel was do you sell beers?!! So I ended up having a few cans before getting my head down.
The hostel wasn’t anything special, but at £62 for four nights, I wasn’t really expecting anything more than what I got anyway. I had a room with a bed and chair, and the toilets and showers were shared.. The hostel also doubled up as a sauna so believe when I say this, it was fucking roasting.
Woke up the following morning about 8am, I wanted a massive lay in but I didn’t happen so I ventured outside to see what food was about, I wasn’t in the most tourist part of Faith so there wasn’t much that looked appealing, so I went into a place and put said give me anything, with coffee, I was given this pasta type dish with what I think was feta cheese and alongside that I had the most amazing Turkish coffee which a shot glass of water.
After food, I realized I needed a Turkish plug so that I could charge my portable chargers and phone, and I asked around for a phone store but not much around this area. I eventually got talking to a Turkish fella around the corner who said he had a plug in his motorcycle so I sold it to me, of course I paid well over the odds at spending 250 Lira on one but I didn’t care, my problem was solved and at the same time I knew the money was much needed to someone. I mean I would probably have spent more buying one at the airport anyway.
I then got talking to a Scottish fella called Keith who seemed a genuinely nice bloke, and he was on his way to Taksim which is where I was heading anyway, we decided to walk from Faith to Taksim as it would be great to take in the views of the city and when we looked on the maps it said it about 40 minutes walk. so off we went over the bridge from Faith and we took in the most amazing views, it was all uphill and we just headed straight trying too find shortcuts, but instead we just found ourselves in the backstreets of Istanbul, it felt safe enough so we didn’t care, we ended buying bottles of water at every second shop because we was sweltering and we eventually arrived in Taksim at a bar called Edenborough Bar which was packed with City fans..
From the moment we arrived at the Bar we was buzzing, the atmosphere was fantastic, blues just chatting and having sing and chant every so often. I decided I needed some food, and a little bit of sleep as I could already tell the night ahead was going to be heavy as I was already chatting to people that was there the night before who said they was around the area drinking until 2/3am so I wandered off back to the hostel where I managed to grab a shower and about three hours sleep.
So I woke to and I was straight over the city to Tasksim, I headed back to the Edinburgh Bar, sank a few beers and then went on a wander but I only got as far as the next street! Navizade Street!! FUCK ME…. WOW… I’ve never experienced anything like it, you couldn’t move, City fans from one end of the street to other and and it was none stop, I think I spent around 3 hours on a table chanting and singing. It was utterly amazing and this was the night before the game.
Getting on for early hours of the morning I decided to head back to the hostel because we had the biggest day our lives coming up and the plan was to get some sleep then get over to the stadium nice and early…
Its football day now! And I thought I am going to head back over to Taksim as I did see some really nice food going over there, and I though there may even be a fry up going! So the plan was head over there, grab a bite to eat because I had a hangover from hell… So i evtnually made it there, and it was pretty much like nobody left the place. 10am and the place was rammed, chanting and singing and the moment I arrived back there, any plans I made went straight out the window, I got myself some food with a few beers… I met with Kieth again and we went for a walk around Taksim, spoke to loads of people, City fans and Inter fans, the whole of Taksim just a buzz like ove never experinced before and it so nice to be part of it.. After a couple of hour of wandering around we headed back to Navizade Street where it was packed even more, right to point where you couldnt move again and so I decided to get on the drink again! Absalutly pissed up and thats it, back to stading on tables and chairs again chanting.
Ederson and Ake
Walker and Akanji
Ruban Dias Jonny Stones JOHN STONES
Best Defence in Europe
We are Manchester City on our way to Istanbul
Were the boys in blue
Coming after you
That chant was just ringing in my head from the night before… It was fantastic scenes again! and I cant remember the time but I ended up grabbing Taxi with three other blokes Gaz and Gary and I cant remember the other guys name (sorry mate) and we went to the stadium.. We got a taxi because people had sent us videos of the queues from the transport hub and apparently it taking 3/4 hours to queue for buses and get there! So 1000 Lira and we was in a taxi, The driver was nuts, got up close (ish) to the stadium and there was a road Manchester City to the left and Inter Milan to the right.. The City road seemed to be packed with traffic and this is about 2 miles away, so without even speaking to us the driver just went straight through the Inter Milan road which was dead, no traffic at all and we was dropped off not too far from the stadium, however we was dropped off on the inter side so we did have to walk round which took forever but it is what it is.
We eventually got the Fanzone, and it was packed, it looked like Parklife Festival inside there! so we got back on the beers and a few hours deep at around 19:00 we was told no more beers are left, you have drunk the place dry!… So off to the stadium it was, in there just over 2 hours before kickoff… No beers inside the ground which we knew anyway.. So we just soaked up the atmosphere.. The ground itself was not the best, the food inside was the worst ever had in my life and the choice of soft drinks was shocking… UEFA failed with this one..
So anyway the build up to the game was too bad, I don’t normally watch the build up shows as I am busy drinking, but with no beers available, what else was I going to do?… I will admit that I enjoyed the build up though.. But yeah the game eventually kicked off..
The first half was not the best at all, and I know every City fan in the ground was thinking the name as me, Typical City…. Were going to bottle it, everyone on that pitch was crap, Inter were the better side during that first half and even they wasnt good, that tells you just how poor City was… The second half and Kevin went off injured, we later found out he snapped his hamstring and at the point everybody just thought about this being Porto all over again, but then Lets talk about Rodri…. Wow this was the moment Manchester become CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE… I at the time from where I was stood that Rodri smashed it into the net, but he didn’t, he just placed that ball beautifully around two defenders and into the net, and the Man City fans went crazy! I ended up landing two rows down from where my seat was, the backs of both of my legs was cut and very badly bruised, and that last ten minutes felt like half hour! It was also from the moment Rodri scored, everything seemed to go Inter Milans way! I even started chewing my nails which I have not done in so long, Inter Milan hit the bar, and there was a ball that was heading towards goal but Ederson came from nowhere to punch it out… 5 minutes added time which felt like a full half.. It just seemed so slow but eventually the final whistle went…. The scenes in that Manchester City end was unreal, I cried my eyes out… All the way from division 2 to winning the Champions League!…. I couldn’t event process it, I was just in too much shock. and even now at the time of writing this a few days later it still hasn’t sunk in but it will do.
So after the game, and the celebrations I made by way to the fanzone to get shuttle buses back to Faith and it was nightmare! Our bus didn’t even switch its engine on for over an hour, and then it took another hour just to get out the car park, and then it was just over an hour to get dropped off back in the city… Once back in the City I went to meet up with Keith again, as he actually travelled over without a ticket and he watched the game at some fan park near the transport hub with about 30,000 locals… we had a couple more beers and I eventually retired to back to hostel at about half past six in the morning! I was drunk, I was tired and I felt really emotional, I got a taxi from a walkable journey which would taken about 5 minute on foot, I think I ended up paying about 400 Lira for the taxi..
The Sunday gave me the worst hangover ive ever had!… The local shop sorted me out some pain killers, and after some Kebab for breakfast and lots of coke I had another hours sleep and then headed back up to Taksim to have one last day at it.. Got up there and everybody was just buzzing like I’ve never seen before, it was so nice to apart of it… It was also on the Sunday someone asked me, what doe it feel like to be a treble winner?!! Fuck me, I forgot we won the league and the FA cup.
I arrived home on Monday morning and if I am honest, I felt completely emotionally drained. I did want to head into town and be part of the parade but I needed to be at home, I needed to spend time with the daughter and the other half, I missed the terribly… That said I’ve had the best 4 days of my life without a shadow of doubt. It was such a surreal experience and one that I hope to be apart of again and again, but Istanbul will never leave me, thats a memory that i’m proud to be part of.
Whilst I was Istanbul I did hear of a lot of negative stories, but I am not going to get into them as I am sure your going to be reading about a lot of stuff over the coming weeks…
So what’s next for Manchester City? Can we retain it?
Well lets find out next season… MCFC OK!!…