For my moment of the season at the half-way point I’m not going for a goal, a slick passing move, an assist, or a save.
No, my moment of the season so far was a personal moment; seeing Napoli live for the first time which ended up being combined with meeting some of our listeners and mingling with the Napoli support.
Back in October last year I headed for Manchester to take in the Champions League clash between ourselves and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, having already arranged tickets in the home support along with my Manchester based Brother-in-law, Ian.
Everything was in place, the train from Glasgow Central to Manchester Piccadilly early on match day to get down there in ample time and head to the oddly named Sinclairs Oyster Bar (yes, it’s a pub!) where I was told the travelling Napoli support would be.
However, in the days leading up to departure I received a DM on Twitter from long time listener of the show, Joey Bennett (@Joe_Bennett) who told me he had managed to get me two tickets in the Napoli end; I was blown away.
Long story short, Ian and I met up with Joey and his Napoli supporting mates as well as another listener, Thomas Haywood (@tomsky11), before heading to the stadium and collecting our tickets.
After some of the most stringent security checks I’ve seen at a football ground, we were in and amongst our own fans.
The atmosphere within the Napoli support was incredible, even pre kick-off, which is more than can be said for the video game inspired Etihad crowd with their generic banners and songs which made the place look like the living embodiment of FIFA 18.
I’m sorry Manchester City fans, and perhaps this is just the Premier League in general, but the whole experience was very synthetic.
Back to the Napoli fans however, and as the Champions League anthem blared around the stadium (roundly booed by the home support may I add), I knew what was coming.
I’ve witnessed it on the TV but to finally stand there be able to roar, “THE CHAMPIONS”! alongside the Partenopei?
What a feeling!
On a more humorous note, well when I say humorous I mean for you guys reading this, while I was recording the Champions League anthem my index finger accidentally hit the volume up button on the side on my iPhone and stopped the video … just as we were about to shout, “The Champions”, but hey I’ve still got that memory, and it’s something I’ll never forget.
As the match kicked off, a couple of supporters behind me heard my accent and asked where Ian and I were from, and when I replied “Glasgow, Scotland” they cheered and replied, “Scotland! Your people are very like Neapolitans, very friendly … English, not so much”.
Poor Ian! To be fair, he took it in his stride when he piped up with, “I’m English”! and there were laughs all round.
Sadly, we wouldn’t be laughing much longer as City raced into a two goal lead, but the entire experience of that day is my personal moment of the season so far.
I got to see Napoli play, but got to do so among our own fans, taking part in the “Champions” roar, while mingling and chatting with some of our fans; and yes, I did put a little plug out there for the podcast by showing it on my iPhone when I was asked why I supported Napoli (come on, I had to …right?!).
Also, regardless of it being a penalty, Amadou Diawara has the honour of being the man who scored the first Napoli goal I seen with my own two eyes; it would have been Dries had he not missed his penalty late in the first half.
Come May, when myself, Kenny and Raffa head to Naples, that could easily become my moment of the year but for now, many thanks go to Joey for going out of his way to arrange tickets in the Napoli end for a guy he’d only heard on a podcast and spoken to on Twitter.
I was always going to see Napoli in the flesh for the first time that night, but thanks to Joey I got to see them the right way.
Grazie mille Joey … Forza Napoli Sempre.
By James McGhie Follow @jrmcghie