Watching the Beautiful Game Abroad
If like me you can’t help but take football a little more serious than you should then you might be worried about how you’re going to keep up with the beautiful game while travelling.
Before we continue I have to be clear. This is aimed at the English folk out there. Not that weird in no way similar but similarly named game they play in the US or OZ.
So here is the thing, you need not worry – At least if you’re backpacking SE Asia.
It turns out despite the game being played in our own country, we have some of the worst TV coverage of the sport you could ask for.
It’s true living in Bangkok I don’t have the luxury of Soccer AM to soothe my hangover on a Saturday morning but that I can (just about) live with. What I do get is every single premier league game, live on my television. Not just the lunch time and late games like in the UK but every single game played across a number of channels.
It gets better still. Despite meaning getting up in the middle of the night I also get all of the Europa and Champions league games as well.
Meaning since March this year I have not missed a single game of my beloved Tottenham Hotspur (Apart from a few friendly games, most of which were also shown live.)
But how was it when I was travelling?
SE Asia has been brilliant for the backpacking football fan. Often the first thing I’m asked after “Where are you from?” is “What team do you support?”. Football is huge over here it’s just a shame they all support Man U, Chelsea or Liverpool.
The big games are always easy to find, bars are always advertising the next games to try and draw the crowds in and many games are shown on channels available in hostels or hotels.
I remember once in a Cambodian hotel, after talking about football to the night staff he instructed me to wake him up at 3am to let me in the lounge for a game, can you imagine that back home?
The people in SE Asia have a real love of the game and makes keeping up to date with your team very easy. Unfortunately it’s not going to be quite this easy all around the world. I found games a lot harder to come by in China despite the presence of shops selling merchandise of that horrible other team in north London. Luckily Internet access was often good enough to stream the games from the Internet.
That horrible moment is always inevitable with the internet though, your team is about to kick off and you can’t get a stream or find anywhere showing the game. My best tip for this scenario? Throw stuff at the wall and blame your girlfriend while praying when you check the scored in the morning your team won.
Have you been able to keep up with your favourite sports teams while travelling?