Search

Special report: Olympic Stadium-hopping

PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 October 2018

London Stadium ahead of West Ham's 8-0 victory against Macclesfield (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

London Stadium ahead of West Ham's 8-0 victory against Macclesfield (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

Archant

From Carabao Cup to Champions League, via a step into the past

West Ham United's Robert Snodgrass celebrates scoring his side's sixth goal of the game with Ryan Fredericks (Pic: Joe Giddens/PA)West Ham United's Robert Snodgrass celebrates scoring his side's sixth goal of the game with Ryan Fredericks (Pic: Joe Giddens/PA)

Three Olympic Stadiums in a week.

It all started with a trip to the home of the London 2012 Games, when West Ham United welcomed Macclesfield Town for a third round tie in the Carabao Cup.

And that ended in an 8-0 win for the Hammers in impressive style with braces from Robert Snodgrass and youngster Grady Diangana and goals from Angelo Ogbonna, Lucas Perez, Ryan Fredericks and Michail Antonio helping them breeze through to the next round and a home meeting with Tottenham.

As if that wasn’t enough entertainment, I opted to spend a few days off from work at the start of this week and, like any other sports reporter would (I hope), took in more sporting events and sites, with a trip to the home of the Olympics in Athens.

Greek gyros with a pint of Mythos (Pic: Jacob Ranson)Greek gyros with a pint of Mythos (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

My trip to Greece started on Monday morning, after my midweek trip to the London Stadium had been followed by a visit to Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday afternoon to cover their 3-1 defeat to Ebbsfleet United, as I boarded a flight first thing to Athens.

After landing in Athens, I jumped on a shuttle bus to an airbnb apartment near the Acropolis, before dinner and a few jars of Mythos overlooking the iconic statue that was built in the fifth century BC.

The next morning it was off to the 2004 Athens Olympic Stadium to grab some tickets for the Champions League match between AEK Athens and Benfica that evening.

On the way back from the ground, my dad and I stopped off at the Panathenaic Stadium, the home of the 1896 Olympic Games, and what a site to see that is!

Panathenaic Stadium, the home of the 1896 Olympic Games (Pic: Jacob Ranson)Panathenaic Stadium, the home of the 1896 Olympic Games (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

The marble stadium was one of the most impressive places I’ve seen and I’d imagine if you were an athlete you would only dream that it would host a retro Olympic games to get to be able to make an appearance there.

An audio tour was provided as you wandered around the stadium, with facts and fun stats about its history over the years, including that they finished the 2004 Olympic marathon at the iconic venue.

The views from the top of the stands were spectacular as you could see over Athens, the Acropolis, and the temple of Zeus from afar.

After that we took in some more sights and traditional food, and of course some beer, before bumping into a Benfica fan who asked for a picture with us as we revealed we were also big fans of the Portuguese side.

Athens Olympic Stadium ahead of the clash between AEK Athens and Benfica (Pic: Jacob Ranson)Athens Olympic Stadium ahead of the clash between AEK Athens and Benfica (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

The chap then offered to take us on the away fans bus that was going to the ground later that night.

We met the Benfica fans, but in the end opted to walk to the nearest train station after hearing the buses would be police escorted to the game straight to away stands and we ended up buying home tickets that morning.

Once off the train, there were stalls everywhere with cheap Athens shirts and scarves, as well as food stalls.

It was pitch black due to the match starting at 10pm local time but we took our seats to embrace the calm before the storm.

A flare going off at Athens Olympic Stadium during the match between AEK Athens and Benfica (Pic: Jacob Ranson)A flare going off at Athens Olympic Stadium during the match between AEK Athens and Benfica (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

The Champions League music began booming out over the sound system before the Athens fans poured into the stadium to create a rowdy atmosphere, singing throughout the entire 90 minutes, despite going 2-0 down in the opening quarter of an hour of the match.

With their team completely on the back foot, the home fans continued to let off flares and sing their hearts out, until their luck turned when Benfica had defender Ruben Dias sent off on the stroke of half-time.

Athens came out all guns blazing in the second half and found themselves back on level terms by the 63rd minute thanks to a brace from Viktor Klonaridis.

They dominated the second half until substitute Alfa Semedo broke up the pitch and smashed the ball into the back of the net to seal a 3-2 win for the visitors.

A colorful flare during the match between AEK Athens and Benfica (Pic: Jacob Ranson)A colorful flare during the match between AEK Athens and Benfica (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

Despite deserving at least a point from the match, what amazed me most was how the Athens fans applauded their side off the pitch, and that was that – no booing or criticism.

Leaving the ground, there were motorbikes everywhere and more stalls, where I did pick up an Athens shirt for just 10 euros as a souvenir.

The next day concluded my trip with a walk up to Acropolis, before jetting back to London and returning to my desk, with a view of London Stadium in the distance.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford Sports News

First-half goals from Snodgrass and Antonio settle matters for Hammers

Yesterday, 19:09

Tom Potter saw red on another disappointing day for Romford as a heavy defeat at the hands of Heybridge sent them closer to the foot of the table.

FA Trophy: Ebbsfleet United 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 1

Fri, 18:00

Everyone Active Raiders head coach Sean Easton wants his side to maintain their momentum as they welcome Swindon Wildcats to Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (5.30pm).

Fri, 17:00

Boro without a win in their last nine league matches, including a 2-0 loss at Witham Town last weekend

Fri, 16:00

Defender set to come against former club as Essex club make trip south of the Thames in FA Trophy

Fri, 15:00

The second-placed club in the London Two North East will aim to finish 2018 with another win on Saturday

Fri, 14:00

AFC Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson is desperate to get a win under his belt before the Christmas break to get him in the festive cheer.

PROMOTED CONTENT

From November, The Mercury in Romford begins to celebrate Christmas. The mall has plenty of gift ideas, fun events and activities for everyone

Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. We put the SUV, now available at Tony LeVoi in Romford, to the test.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

News from your area

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now