I’m hitting pause on the A-League and going on the Euro football holiday I’ve always dreamed of


At the time this column usually goes live next Monday morning, I’ll be in the stands at Selhurst Park watching Crystal Palace take on Manchester United alongside my wife.

I’m finally going on that European holiday folks like us always fantasise about.

Yes, it’ll be full of cultural activities.

And oui… I’m looking forward to trying some new and exotic dishes because I’ve catastrophically misinterpreted a French menu.

But mostly the whole thing is just an excuse to watch some top-flight European football.

Watch every match of the UEFA Champions League exclusive & ad-free, live & on demand on Stan Sport.

Despite being reasonably well-travelled, I’ve never actually been to a Premier League game before.

But I’ve already had the full English experience before a ball has even been kicked, because Sky Sport’s late decision to broadcast the game resulted in kick-off being moved back a mere 53 hours – forcing us to cut a planned visit to Amsterdam short.

The move prompted a fed-up Manchester United to blast the Premier League for re-scheduling yet another game their travelling supporters have no chance of realistically getting home from.

Manchester United’s Rasmus Hojlund and goalkeeper Andre Onana. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

We want to inform you that we are writing to the Premier League to this effect and will be asking for greater consideration to be given to match-going fans when agreeing fixture schedules with broadcasters,” United thundered.

Which is a bit ironic for us Aussies, since we can not only watch every Premier League game live on TV – unlike in England – but those late kick-offs usually make ideal breakfast-time viewing.

Had I timed things more fortuitously, I probably could have pushed the boat out and secured tickets to the second leg of Paris Saint-Germain’s UEFA Champions League semi-final clash with Borussia Dortmund at the Parc des Princes.

Next stop, Paris ???????? pic.twitter.com/2fqccPJHqw

— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) April 17, 2024

Which is, again, somewhat ironic from my point of view – as I’ll be watching both of those clubs in domestic action not long after their continental showdown.

The plan is to watch Paris Saint-Germain’s penultimate league encounter – and last home game of the season – against Toulouse at the famous Parc des Princes.

I haven’t informed the missus yet that she’ll be holding up one corner of the “free Denis Genreau!” banner, but in case anyone was wondering, we regularly watch Ligue 1 in our household.

Not long after that, we’ll be two of the 81,365 fans in attendance when Borussia Dortmund take on relegation-bound Darmstadt on the final Bundesliga matchday of the season.

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— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 19, 2024

I’ve been corresponding with German author and renowned football journalist Uli Hesse for years now, and he’s been kind enough to offer to take a couple of starstruck Aussies to the game.

He’s just published a biography in English on the late Franz Beckenbauer called ‘The Three Lives of the Kaiser’ for anyone who’s into that kind of thing.

I was telling him about chatting with former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Paul Lambert up here in Brisbane recently.

Lambert was one of my idols growing up – he was in BVB’s starting side at the first Bundesliga game I ever attended – and he had some typically forthright Scottish views about our final footballing destination.

“The Olimpico’s a dump,” he politely informed my wife Ashton upon hearing that we’ll be attending Lazio’s final Serie A game of the season against nobody’s favourite second team, Sassuolo.

That may be true, but sadly I never watched Giuseppe Signori banging them in for either of the two Milan sides on the old Football Italia highlights show we all used to watch on SBS on a Sunday morning.

So it’s off to the north of Rome for the chance to enjoy a thrilling nil-all draw between two sides who may have nothing to play for by the time the game rolls around.

I can’t wait!

This trip has been a long time coming – and I’m looking forward to watching some football without feeling like the whole thing is about to collapse at any minute.

I hope I’ll be back on A-League duty again next season.

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But if not, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

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