More Than Just A Game Part 4…Oh What A Night!

Where do I begin? Well let me firstly say how relieved I am that we did not lose. However Asamoah Gyan dancing his way through the England penalty box before placing a pinpoint shot past the keeper in the 92nd minute was only half the story on what was a memorable night at Wembley.

The evening began with ecstatic noise from the crowd which could be heard all the way from Wembley Park tube station as the vibrant and colourful Ghanaian contingent made their way up Wembley and into the stadium. I was actually running late myself and got to my seat just in time to hear the last 30 seconds of the national anthem which I was quite disappointed about ( as I wanted to beat my chest with pride throughout whilst singing along !) but the 93 minutes of action which was to follow more than made up for that disappointment.

As the game kicked off you would have been forgiven for thinking this was a ‘friendly’ game. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and the players on both sides rose to this as the game was played at a blistering high tempo. The 21,000 Ghanaian fans played a huge part in the atmosphere with chants of “go Ghana, Ghana must goal & put pepper in their eyes” and the English came back with chants of “England, England”.

On the pitch the players did an excellent job of keeping us entertained with chances for both sides. In truth it was a game of two halves with England having the better of the first half and Ghana coming back in the second. When the half time whistle blew the Ghanaian fans were still in good spirits even though we were 1-0 down and the sight of Andre Ayew warming up brought cheers and optimism from the crowd.

Throughout the second half the atmosphere was immense as the players kept up the high tempo. Ghana had really settled into the game and were creating chances, surely it was only a matter of time. Then on 92 Minutes Mr Gyan stepped up to the plate and produced a piece of individual skill that was worth the entrance fee alone, it was sheer pandemonium on the terraces as we celebrated wildly,  there were high fives all round and I saw strangers hugging each other, it was truly a moment to savour. Celebrations continued after the final whistle as the players saluted the crowd and I struggled to find my camera to get some pictures of the players.

As the fans left the stadium nobody, English or Ghanaian left with the feeling of being ‘short changed’ as is the case a lot of the time with International friendlies.  Ghana have raised the bar for future friendly games at Wembley with such a committed and passionate display. One English fan even came up to me and suggested that England v Ghana should be an annual fixture as it was such an enjoyable watch and with talk of a return match in Accra who knows.

Although Gyan will inevitably take all the plaudits, credit should go to the whole team and to the fans who were brilliant and conducted themselves brilliantly throughout the night I was truly proud to be Ghanaian last night and thousands more were too.

Ben JK Anim-Antwi