Entry is verboten


That is the EM-Stadion in Salzburg, that is the name showing on the front of the number 1 bus and that's good enough for me given what we found.

Despite the Austrian season having already started some weeks ago work was still frantically being carried out to get everything ready, particularly with the new upper tier. Many of the seats, even in the older lower tier are still to be bolted in place as I found to my cost, falling over on one of them and creating a domino effect as the one I was originally sat on fell over.

Our inspection was going smoothlz enough until some bloke appeared from nowhere screaming, "Verboten, Verboten." We played dumb but did get the impression that he wanted us to leave, and leave immediately. Surely he was not some officious football ground safety officer. We left, we didn't fancy a life ban.

We did have the opportunity to visit the club shop. There were no branded lederhosen here but if there had been then it would not have been advertising football. This is no football club any longer, it is nothing more than a marketing opportunity for Red Bull and even the team's home shirt has sold out with two red bulls emblazoned across the front. This really isn't football.

Back in the city we immediatelz saw the Custard car again and this time it was carrying passengers. We have no idea who was enjoying the ride bzt the woman did look very much like a member of a royal family - maybe she was Her Majesty the Queen of Todmorden.

Suddenly news came through that we were signing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and we could hardly contain our excitement. It really does serve us right for believing speculation on football message boards.

A short walk and we were ready for the railway up to the castle. Martin is known to enjoy the company of Americans and as we boarded he must have been delighted when an oldish visitor for across the pond said to him, "Hi, are you American?" Martin at the time was wearing a shirt with the letters E-N-G-L-A-N-D on the back. Maybe she thought he was David Beckham.

It was time for a break and a relaxing drink in the sun. It had been another beautiful day in Salzburg, but as we took our seats a cloud started to pass over. "It's going to rain," said John, but I was having none of it. Just a few minutes later we had to run for cover as the heavens opened.

It did ease off during the evening but back it came with a vengeance and all but one of us arrived back at the hotel drenched. Only John will know just how he aquired that umbrella.