Blog template Rock the Crossbar: Billy Bragg Was Onto Something

Rock the Crossbar

Thursday, January 19

Billy Bragg Was Onto Something

Years ago, I remember hearing about Billy Bragg introducing a song with this observation: "You may be the most powerful nation on earth, but you can't play football for $hit!" Regardless of how one rates the U.S. National Team at the moment, I think we can all agree that our boys have improved considerably since 1990. Having said that, however, our national federation is right in line with Billy's observations and may as well be in the developing world when it comes to their ability to handle and communicate certain logistical realities. I had the unique pleasure of applying for tickets for Germany via the USSF and found it profoundly disturbing and just plain annoying. The inconsistency of communication, lack of professionalism, and general unresponsiveness were astounding. As if the game doesn't have enough obstacles here in the States, the governing body here seems roughly as well organized and run as a middle school student government. Oh yeah, I got four tickets for each USA first round match and the round of 16 should we qualify. So you won't hear me complaining too much after this. Rock the Crossbar


  • Can't imagine how it could be much worse than attempting to get tickets for the games in Japan. My brother was living there temporarily so we thought, he'd get tickets, I'd fly over, we'd drive up to Oita, what could be bettah?

    Well for a start, the only forms were in Japanese and Bob had to get an assistant to translate the form. Only to have it returned with a frosty note about how tickets were open only to Japanese residents. So he filled out another form and transliterated his name into Japanese. Same frosty note comes back saying, don't play the fool. So he then gets the assistant to fill in the form under his name. This form is sent back saying that all the applications to be considered were already submitted, sorry very much.

    It was sheer luck that the Italians got the Oita stadium. I blagged two tickets from my Italian journo client and we're in!!!!

    But not quite. See, the media tickets are going to be held at the Italian team hotel until literally hours before the match. So we have to drive to another city in Japan on a maximum 60 KPM road in time to grab the tickets, and then drive another hour to Oita.

    Fine, we do that and get the tickets with Massimo somebody or other's name on it...more on that... and drive over to Oita. As we approach Oita, start to see big signs saying Welcome World Cup...Parking! So we follow the signs which are soon replaced by happy uniformed ladies and gents waving WC Japanorea fans and directing us up one then down another and then up and down another street ad infinitum. Finally, we pull up to a field with parked cars and then it starts. The old dear wants something, but it's not to see the tickets, or our passports, or some cash. But what it is is not apparent. He just keeps speaking in Japanese, and then runs off to get a pamphlet, which also turns out to be in Japanese.

    It turns out he wants a parking sticker that came with all WC Tickets--all except blagged media ones. So we're compelled to leave and find parking somewhere else.

    Which we luckily do, but just as we're pulling into our space in the lot, and I'm wondering, is this on the honor system because there's no attendant, the back end of the car starts to lift. Once you block an electronic eye in the paving, a hydrolic arm rises and lifts the rear of your car so that if you don't pay, you leave an axle.

    More hilarity ensued when again the instructions were printed only in Japanese, but there was a hotel with an English speaking front desk clerk who told us how to pay.

    So we trudge back to the field with the buses to the stadium and are happy to find that the service is free and our media tickets will get us on the bus -- the foreigner's bus. Which drops you and your smelling foreign brethren off just in sight of the stadium. And when you finally walk all the way there and arrive at the stadium entrance, you see that the Japanese person's bus drops you right outside the entrance.

    Have fun in Germany.

    By Blogger gooner71, at 9:47 PM  

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