Bringing the world together through football and Heineken
It’s never easy to host a big group at one go, especially when it involved many individuals from around the world.
But as one of the Champions League’s main sponsors, Heineken certainly did not disappoint with their hospitality and programmes when they brought over fans from around the globe to Cardiff for the Champions League final.
For Heineken Singapore, over 250 teams of three friends each had to earn their stripes by partaking in Heineken’s #ChampionTheMatch campaign.
Displaying the camaraderie synonymous with football during weekly challenges, one team emerged as Singapore’s top dogs to take the golden tickets home with them and FourFourTwo Singapore was privileged enough to join them on their journey.
The party had already began the night before the game between Real Madrid and Juventus kicked off, with the Bristol’s Aerospace — home of the last British Airways Concorde — playing host to Heineken’s pre-match welcome gathering.
Party revelers were given a huge treat with the Concorde 216 being the centrepiece of the venue, giving them a chance to stand on the wings to take snapshots and have drinks.
It could have been an awkward event to attend, given that almost everyone was a stranger there, but with a good blend of music, food and a common love for football — as well as a little Heineken — the differences between nationalities and cultures were bridged.
Going to Cardiff
But the real fun and heartwarming experience came on match day, when Heineken invitees travelled across the border to Wales to collect their Champions League final match tickets at Motorpoint Arena Stadium.
Navigation to the stadium was easy, but trawling through it proved both challenging and exhilarating, with the multitude of fans from all over the world crowding the streets to share their love for the sport and club they support.
Even the local law enforcers got in on the act, embracing visitors alike with welcoming smiles to the city of Cardiff. Some even posed for the fun-loving civilians while keeping a vigilant eye on the streets.
This show of cohesive togetherness continued throughout the day, when FourFourTwo Singapore commenced on a pub crawl tour of the streets, organised by Heineken.
Fans of different ages and backgrounds continued to revel together and there was sheer delight when an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doppleganger was found bartending at local tavern O’NEILL’S — although the lad himself was less amused at the attention he was drawing.
At the game itself
But the biggest display of solidarity was perhaps on show at the entrance to Millennium Stadium itself.
For safety reasons, Real Madrid and Juventus fans had their own designated gates, as did the corporate guests.
But instead of shunning such crowded areas, plenty of celebrities showed up at these entry points, with the legendary Edgar Davids and Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard notable figures — the latter obliging photo requests as he made his way into the stadium.
It was certainly an unforgettable evening as the match had everything one could ask for in a Champions League final as Real Madrid ran out 4-1 victors to claim a record 12th European crown.
Five goals were scored — with Mario Mandzukic’s overhead kick arguably one of the better goals ever seen in a Champions League final, while Juan Caudrado’s red card just made the final all the more spicy.
For the 1,000-odd travellers who made their way to Wales courtesy of Heineken, it was more than just a game of football; it was a sport that truly brought people together.