As he sits down, my ten year old son looks mighty pleased. He calls me over and whispers: ‘This is the best seat. Can you take a photo of me?’
The chair he’s sitting in is usually occupied by Ajax football team captain and Holland midfielder Siem De Jong. We’re on a tour of Amsterdam Arena, home to Ajax, and we’re in the press room. I’m sitting in the journalists’ seating area with most of our 20-strong tour group while my son and three Brazilian guys face us in the interview seats. Anita, our tour guide, explains what happens at a press conference and then everyone has a chance for a photo in the hot seats – the Brazilians produce their national flag when it’s their turn and look quite emotional. I, a football ignoramus, can’t fathom why they’re doing this, but nobody else seems bothered.
When Anita leads us through the players’ tunnel to the edge of the pitch I can’t understand why the rest of the group is taking so many photos. It’s my first time inside a football stadium and initially all I can see are thousands of seats around a partly covered pitch.