Wednesday 23rd October 2013, 9.45pm (day 790)
I am a Brighton & Hove Albion fan but I am also a football fan, I just like going to games whoever is playing. When the work colleague with whom I’ve come to Moscow pointed out that we would be there when CSKA were hosting Manchester City in the Champions League, we decided we would go. She is a City fan but I was neutral in the matter. I just wanted the experience of going to a big game abroad, which I have only ever done once before (Benfica v FC Porto, December 1990).
Experience it definitely was, and a good one. It was also a cold one, below zero for most of it, including the last 15 minutes during which these 200 or so CSKA fans bravely took their shirts off. I apologise for the technical deficiencies of the shot but bear in mind this was taken at an angle, with a very long zoom, through plexiglass.
I should also point out that I have seen stories on my return regarding alleged racist chanting by the CSKA fans. As someone who was actually at the game, neutral, and understands basic Russian, I have to say that these allegations are at best dubious. In my informed and objective opinion there was no ‘racist chanting’ whatsoever evident at this game.