The Euros 2016

The Euros 2016

With the number of teams taking part in this year's competition increasing from 16 to 24, it was my hope that I would be able to see my team, Scotland compete in France this June.

Who would have believed it when my dream came true - a friendly in Metz a week before the tournament began.

The Euros 2016 in France.

This meant I could see how things are in France, before the tournament begins.

I was actually at Paris Orly airport the week before, on my way to Malta, when I had my first reminder of life in France. We had already been advised that our plane to France had been delayed by bad weather…there was no sign any problem as coming from the UK we would have regarded it as a perfect summer's day…little did we know!

Whilst waiting for the plane that was to take us from France to Malta a number of attendants ushered one of them to step forward and make an announcement. Unfortunately my French is rather limited, but I understood the gist. My flight was to be delayed, due to the Air Traffic Controllers going on strike. As this was read out the other attendants clapped.

I am not quite sure what was going on but despite this announcement we arrived in Malta less than an hour late.

My next hurdle was getting to Metz. I had chosen to fly to Paris and then get the train.

The French had other ideas. First of all they cancelled my flight out to Paris over a week before, no reason was given, but there was another Air Traffic Controllers strike threatened. On a positive note, knowing in advance I was able to change my plans and with a bit of help (Thanks Darren.) I was able to travel to Paris by Eurostar. Sorted.

Or so I thought. On the Thursday before I travelled to Metz, it was confirmed that there would be disruption to the train services, due to strikes. I checked and found my train to Metz from Paris was running. Others had received emails advising of cancellations.

Luckily I checked my return journey, but found it was cancelled. If I had turned up for this train, I would have missed my flight home and work the next day.

Despite not having an email, I arranged to travel back to Paris by Megabus. A 90 minute journey by train the day before turned into a 5 hour nightmare.

We arrived in Paris on time and were moments away from the bus station, which just happened to be yards away from the River Seine. The Seine had overflowed and there were Fire Engines pumping water from an underpass, back into the river. This meant our road was blocked and our driver followed diversion signs which took us round in circles for an hour. Eventually he stopped another bus, got instructions and did a three point turn, in the tightest of spaces, before making it to our destination when the bus clapped and cheered his achievement.

The Euros 2016.

On the football front Scotland didn't show up. No shots on target in two games means that we have something to work on. Having lost in Metz we became the first team in June to head home from France.

I did have realistic hopes at least of making the play offs as I remembered Scotland’s last tournament appearance (apart from their victorious Kirin Cup campaign in 2006) was at France in 1998. Looking through the records I also noted that France had won major tournaments in 1984 and 2000……can you spot the sequence!

Now that Scotland have freed me from watching them I am free to carry out my very own Tour De France with a two week visit, where I will set out to visit all ten stadiums and take in 14 games in the next two weeks.

Well that's the plan! What could possibly go wrong?

Ross Clegg


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