The Alexandra Palace experience

Hello again,

I know my last post was only yesterday, but I thought I would update you all on my trip to Alexandra Palace to see the boxing.

As with most trips there are always hiccups of sorts and this was no different right from the get go.

I got a little impatient waiting for the 13:11 train to London Euston so decided to hop on the 13:00 London-Midland service which took over an hour longer and had screaming children on all the way down (never good).

So I eventually got there in longer time than the brother had taken to get from 300 or so miles more up the road in Newcastle, and got on the train to Finsbury Park. We passed the Emirates Stadium on the way which to be honest looks visually spectacular, and from closer up looks better than Wembley. Just an opinion, agree or disagree.

As we got dropped off at the ‘Hotel’, I do say that in commas because it wasn’t the most sanitary place I’ve ever stayed in. It does remind me of the last time I sorted out accomodation for a boxing trip, that being a bed sit in Cheetham Hill in Manchester which I found out during and after was the ghetto of Manchester. It was that bad there that the taxi driver wouldn’t drive down our road to the bed sit, so we had to walk through an estate that made Shameless look tame.

Anyways getting away from the point, this hotel was certainly on par, situated in a heavily jewish area (basically huge hats and dodgy haircuts everywhere) but was run by an Irish/pikey (not sure which?) guy named Jim who is a spitting image of Mark E Smith from The Fall (get on google images) but he had no front teeth.

These are the sort of things that make trips like this ‘cultural’ shall we say, it was a rough area no doubt as about 300 yards down the road was a wall covered in flowers, and a school blazer (which I found quite disturbing) from some lad who had been killed in the area.

There were a couple firsts on this trip though, the first being having a Dominos Pizza as it was the only recognisable food outlet in the high street. It was quite nice mind and bloody huge, you can get good sides from them as well. We had these spicy chicken nuggets that went down a treat.

So it was time to get changed and head off to the Palace, luckily we got a bus to a much more civilised place called Wood Green, where we were a short bus ride away from Ally Pally. From the venue I have been so far for boxing gigs, the O2, MEN Arena, Altrincham Leisure Centre (Spot the odd one out) the Palace was certainly one of the most impressive. It was just huge with just one huge hall inside dedicated to the boxing, god only knows what the rest is used for.

If I go to events I do keep a watch out for celebs or in this case recognisable boxers, and it didn’t take long to see the first one as Kevin Mitchell who is fighting at Upton Park next month against Michael Katsidis, jogged past us on the way in.

Their were a few more in there though including Dev from Coronation Street (I didn’t spot him and couldn’t tell you his real name if I tried) who had a bloody huge entourage. We saw Spencer Oliver who does some minor punditry for Sky going to the hotdog stand and walking back dejected after they had shut.

While were on food I must point out the masterstroke of the event organisers, hats off to Barry Hearn or whoever thought of having a sweets stand as it looked like it made a killing, I bet at least one third of the people had a bag of sweets that I saw.

The boxing itself wasnt bad either mind, we saw a local lad called Tony Dulstan stop a nobody in about a minute, Michael Lomax who won a Prizefighter at Light-Welter (I think?) and Gavin Rees who I personally don’t rate plus he has a pumpkinhead.

The main event sparked (I think thats quite appropriate) into life in the final round after Audley Harrison knocked Michael Sprott clean out with a fantastic left hook right on the jaw. There were some lads behind us who were quite funny as well, shouting ‘get into him Mr. Harrison’, I don’t know why but that just made me chuckle. Think of it being said in a thick north London accent, maybe it was just spur of the moment.

But when the knockout happened, in a fight Audley was comfortably losing on points, the place erupted we were jumping on our chairs like mad chimps just shouting ‘oooooooooooooooh!!!!!!’

Its what you pay for at the end of the day, its what boxing can provide just flashes of brilliance that can literally take your breathe away. Thats the only way I can describe I was shocked, maybe not as much as Audley mind.

Having said that, say what you say about Audley but he did what he set out to do, personally I think he panicked under pressure and took the risk needed to win. I think everyones criticism of him is that he doesn’t show that all-or-nothing stance enough, but when he does decide call it a day at least he has been a champion at least on a European level and good luck to him.

I don’t know if I relate maybe to his struggles as I have certainly found it hard to get a proper worthwhile job on a full time basis since Uni, but if someone is so blatant and has that sort of tunnel-vision regarding what they want to do with their life then to achieve it must give them such satisfaction. Having said that putting it in perspective with the Haye fight the week before, I don’t think Audley can live in that class bracket of Haye and the Klitschkos, although I think it would be great see him spark a Klitschko out. I literally would send tremors round the boxing world and also give a lot people myself included some humble pie to chomp on.

I think as well if the ‘Yes I Can’ t-shirts were less than £15 I might have half considered it, they were selling quite well to be fair.

Anyways after getting back in one piece in a taxi drove by a friend (or so he thought maybe) of Emre, you know the Turkish player who used to play for Newcastle, it was time for a deserved rest on the most uncomfortable bed.

I was also quite disturbed to find what I hope were paint stains on the bed sheets the next morning, having said that I did go for a wee in one of tea cups instead of braving meeting Jim in the middle of the night in the hall on the way to the loo. Don’t worry I did clean out after, it was just a spur of the moment thing really.

Anyway it was straight out of there by 9:15 to get the bus to the station, then I indulged in another first: that being of a McDonalds breakfast. I have to say that for bacon sarnie, a hash brown and a small bottle of orange £3 odd was it a little steep, but I suppose thats London.

The trip back was uneventful in comparison, and normality was resumed with a trip down Kidsgrove to see them play Goole earlier.

I did manage to win around £9 I’m told on the Grand National (I don’t know how work it out if you back the horses both ways) so that was a nice little bonus.

Paintballing tomorrow morning should be eventful, cue the post moaning about bruises tomorrow.

Ok rant over,

Laters,

Paul.

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