Being a football fan is a weird thing, isn’t it? Last month, I went on holiday all the way to El Nido, an island in the Philippines. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been to, snorkeling in crystal clear seas, watching sunsets of red, yellow, orange, blue, and everything in between, and just lying around on incredible beaches.
And through all this, I had to explain to my mates why I was waking up at strange hours, struggling to find fast WiFi, and missing out on certain experiences. Because although December was a holiday month for me, the Hammers were battling it out in the Premier League.
It’s not something you can explain to someone who’s not a sports fan. Someone who doesn’t care about the result of the latest West Ham game vs Crystal Palace or where they end up in the table. Someone who doesn’t even know why football is worth watching. But even when you’re on the other end of the world, you’re still compelled to watch especially now that West Ham are proving they are for real under Manuel Pellegrini as wins over Man United, Arsenal and Everton have proven.
If you are going away and want to follow the Hammers, here is some information that will prove handy as if you get yourself sorted out in advance it will make life a lot simpler.
Get A VPN
First things first, you’ll need to find out how to watch the EPL online. This is useful even when you’re in the UK, considering the blackouts in some local areas still even in this day and age while in other countries like Canada are show every single Premier League game, live. And you can stream their broadcasts. You just need a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN is a piece of security software that routes your connection through an external server to hide your details. By routing it through a server in Germany, for example, you will appear as if you are watching in Germany.
Get your VPN set up before you go away, and find the best places online to watch the games. This way, you won’t be disappointed when the time comes.
Find Good WiFi
Unfortunately for me, WiFi in El Nido was terrible, and the mobile networks weren’t much better. I was lucky enough to get through most of the games I watched without too much trouble, but I had to watch at a low quality.
Either get good WiFi in your hotel room or AirBNB, or find a place you can make use of when it is game time.
Get With The Times
By far, the biggest challenge for me was the time difference. The Philippines is 8 hours ahead of London. That means an early afternoon kickoff occurs at night there, and a late afternoon kickoff is at an ungodly hour.
Still, you do what you have to. I got up at ridiculous hours to watch matches, and there was a certain charm to it.
However, it helps if you can get used to the time difference beforehand. These days, Google tells you kickoff time according to your location. But this can still be confusing. A game listed as Sunday is often actually late on Saturday night (very early Sunday morning).
Double check the times of kickoffs, or you’ll wake up a night early, or find out the Hammers were playing the match or concluding their latest £39.2million transfer deal while you were sleeping!