Sunday 27th June
Our new driver friend Dumi turned up bright and early for the drive to Bloemfontein.
We knew that it was going to be a long drive but it was much longer than we had bargained for.
The road is long.....
The minibus that the four of us were in with all our kit was swaying over the road quite disconcertingly at times.
We had doubts about Dumi’s driving ability on this busy road.
That was until we stopped for food not that far into the journey.
The warmish wind was certainly blowing our flowing locks about, well all except Mark’s.
....with many a windy straight....
The traffic was very busy and most of it was football traffic.
.....the traffic's heavy. It's a bother!
We whizzed passed one little thing that I was not quick enough to get a photograph of.
Not that far before our destination there was a light aircraft sitting just of the carriageway at right angles to it.
There were a few police cars with their blue flashing lights surrounding it.
The only explanation, as far as we could see for it being there was that it had landed on the road and been moved to the side.
Have the German's taken to the vuvuzela?
(at least they might have something to blow about)
When we got to Bloemfontein a lot later than we had expected the first thing we did was to go and say thank you to the first of the people that were putting us up.
There were absolutely no rooms in the city. The travel company had been trying ever since England came second in the group they should have topped, but had come up with nothing.
The prospect of an all nighter did not fill us with joy, followed by another five hours in a bouncing cramped mini bus swaying all over the road was not what we wanted.
Then we struck gold.
The ever resourceful Richard Gaisford made a speculative phone call to a random guest house and suddenly we had enough beds for us all, not enough rooms, but at least we were guaranteed a proper bed each.
A short time later he received a call to say another place had been found so there would now only be two having to share.
As we got closer and closer to Bloemfontein and the big game there was still one unresolved problem, and it was quite a biggy.
Our usual source for tickets, ITV Sport, were unable to supply any to us and HBS the host broadcaster had already allocated all their tickets.
It would be difficult for Richard to talk about his first hand experience of the game if he was not actually watching it from inside the stadium and make getting fan’s reaction at the end slightly more difficult.
At all the other games we could easily have gone in without showing our tickets because security and ticket checking was not the most rigourous.
This time it was a little different.
Although purely by chance we did end up inside the stadium by taking a wrong turning but a vigilant steward spotted that one of us did not have the requisite pass.
So we were politely ushered back out to join the mass of fans trying to get through the turnstiles.
We went to go to the media area to try and hoover up any spare tickets that are usually knocking around.
We were going through the cursory security check when an eagle eyed operative spotted that Nick’s camera did not have the special sticker needed to get through the outer cordon.
I had used my camera at other games as had Nick, neither of us had stickers on. It was just today that I had actually stuck my sticker on.
So I was free to go, however a polite but firm security boss decided to take charge of the camera until either we produced a sticker or took the camera away.
The camera in custody.
After much haggling there was no sign of any movement so Nick took the camera back to be left in the safe hands of Dumi the driver.
Whilst this unfruitful set of negotiations were going on ITV Sport came up with the goods after all and provided us with the tickets.
The tickets in my hand.
We had only just taken our seats when thoughts of organising flights home started in earnest.
Upson about to get England's early consolation.
The German's keep at it..
...in athletic style...
....and still celebrating.
To say that it had been a bad night for England is putting it ever so mildly.
A very clear goal disallowed, an abysmal performance and a thumping defeat.
After the game we began the rush to get impressions from the pundits and fans on how they thought things had gone.
First in line for us was a quick interview with Jim White of the Telegraph and then Martin Lipton from the Mirror.
They were rushing to get into the mixed zone to try and do interviews with the players and Fabio.
It was all a very hectic affair, at least that is my excuse.
Jim’s short and speedy interview was over and done quickly. I pressed the record button to stop recording and switched off the camera light.
Then Martin suddenly appeared round the corner. Richard dived in with the mic, I pressed record and fired up the light.
There was a rather irritating light behind his head and I was intent on doing something to try and frame it out.
Richard finished off the short interview and I pressed the record button again. Martin was already heading into the building to got a good position for the interviews.
The searing pain of stupidity struck home instantly when I saw that the red light was still on.
I had committed the worst schoolboy error in the cameraman’s operational hand book.
Always press the button hard enough to start or stop the recording and then don’t fixate on the frame there’s a red light to be checked.
I was as pissed off about that as the England players should have been with their performance.
The saving grace was that all the other interviews with fans and pundits rendered the unrecorded interview redundant.
When we had finished the filming of sad and dejected fans we just needed to get the material edited and sent to GMTV in London.
That was done in a restaurant that was just about to close. We managed to get something to eat and combine it with finishing off the work.
Richard concentrates on the edit.