I was looking forward very much indeed to the game on television between Kosovo and England, especially so as the venue, the Fadil Vokrri Stadium, is one that brings back great memories. To be special, memories don’t have to be in the distant past, and in this case we are talking just July this year.
The New Saints looked to be cruising against the champions of Kosovo, FK Feronikeli, in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League game at Park Hall, when the visitors hit back with goals in the 89th and 93rd minutes to level the score.
The tie now was very much in favour of the Kosovans, but not for the first time in his TNS career, Dean Ebbe scored a vital goal to secure a 1-0 win come the final whistle. It was a fantastic moment when the referee blew for the final time, as we then looked ahead to a mouthwatering tie with the Danish giants, FC Copenhagen.
As well as the game itself in Pristina, I loved the wider experience. The travel, the hotel, being with the players, the interviews conducted, the social media interaction, the UEFA Delegate’s meeting – everything in fact. It’s not just the ninety minutes on the pitch but the whole package.
It was my first time in Kosovo, one of those places that I might never go to again in my life. That’s what working in football has done for me, it has taken me to some great locations. As I enjoy travel anyway, it’s always been a real positive.
Memories are great, and remember, they don’t have to be ‘big, ‘expensive’ or ‘once-in-a-lifetime experiences’ to be special. They are what we make them, and don’t forget, today’s experiences are tomorrow’s memories.
The lead image was taken from the press box prior to kick-off. It’s also been the screen image on my iphone ever since, so that tells you how much I enjoyed the evening. It was also a good one for England, and beforehand I predicted a 4-0 win. I don’t gamble, so I didn’t make any money from it, it was just a personal guess, that’s all.