(Click the pic to view the very small gallery.)
(Click here to view a short video clip. 4kb, ~6 seconds, .mov format)
Marco and I visited Highbury last week to watch Arsenal vs. Everton in the Carling Cup. Highbury is Arsenal football team's home grounds. We were able to get tickets for the game for non-exhorbitant prices because the Carling Cup is considered somewhat less important than the other games played by Premiership teams.
Arsenal is currently so good that they played their "first" team members against their opponents, who were playing their starters. The first team consists largely of extremely young players (18-20 years old, sometimes younger) that they're trying out to see if they're a good match for the starting eleven, and starters who are coming off of injuries (Edu, in this game).
I knew that soccer was an intense game from watching Marco play and watching a few of the games on television, but nothing compares to actually attending a professional event. The energy is amazing, at least coming from the English fans. Some of the tourists around us were pretty stodgy, but for the most part, people watched both 45 minute halves without taking their eyes off the field. They gave running commentary, they chanted and screamed until they were hoarse and a disproportionately large percentage of them seem to favor smoking special cigarettes from Holland. The pictures are not great, but they do give you an idea of just how packed the stands are. I also shot a few brief videos. You can't see much, but the audio track says a lot, I think, considering the dinkiness of the microphone on my camera. The link goes to a clip of the chanting crowd just after Arsenal scored their first goal to equalize with Everton. Arsenal won the game 3-1.