For the next week, FC Cincinnati GM and President Jeff Berding will share his thoughts, activities and photos from his trip to Europe through a daily blog. Check back daily for new blog posts.
We arrived in London Friday early afternoon after an overnight flight from Minneapolis. After two train rides, we were at the Andaz Hotel. I unpacked quickly, cleaned up and then headed out to my first meeting - tea with Peter Crossley, Managing Partner of the London Office of Squire Patton Boggs. This firm, home of some of the world's best lawyers, is run out of the Cincinnati office by my long-time friends Mark Ruehlmann & Steve Mahon. Partner and friend, Jim Barresi, made the introduction to Peter in advance, and I enjoyed my tea with him. We discussed the growth of soccer in the United States and the FC Cincinnati story. Peter shared the London office's experience in English soccer, particularly in the transfer market. I learned more about the ownership of clubs and growing interest in the U.S. Peter has a partner who is an expert in the transfer market and we will look to arrange a meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Later in the evening, we met up with my friend from Cincinnati, Andy Kulina, who came to London for work 18 years ago and never returned but for visits. Now married and with kids living outside London, Andy is excited for the Bengals game on Sunday. We met up at the Admiralty Pub at Trafalgar Square in Westminster, which happened to be the meet-up spot for Bengals fans in the city. Wearing my FCC jacket, I was given plenty of love and respect from Bengals fans who are happy to have pro soccer in Cincinnati. A few fans even bought us a pint!
After a fun time visiting with friends old and new, it was time to head back to the hotel. We have an exciting Day 2 ahead, focused on a visit to Selhurst Park for the Palace-Liverpool match. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to visit London, bringing our #FCCincy across the pond.