SUPERFAN Brian Wright has travelled all over the world to witness the highs and lows of following England at every World Cup and European Championship since 1988.
As reported in the Observer last week the 44-year-old father of two flew out to Brazil last Thursday and witnessed the opening game defeat to Italy in Manaus on Saturday night.
The Sky Blues fan has written a special World Cup diary for the Observer detailing his Brazilian adventures and in the first of four special accounts he gives us an insight into his time in the Amazon, life away from family and catching his first ever fish.
“After an 11-hour flight to Sao Paulo I then had a four-hour internal flight which Stan Collymore, Phil Neville and Martin Tyler were also on.
“My hotel welcomed me with Brazil and England flags waiting on my round bed.
“The day of the Italy game (Saturday) started with me calling back home to wish Alex, my eldest daughter, a happy 17th birthday and I also wished her good luck with her first driving lesson.
“Then I was off to the square to meet up with friends that I had met over the years watching England.
“I thought we played well against Italy nd were unlucky not to come away with anything and I still feel we can win our last two games to get out the group.
“The day after the match me and some friends from Rotherham had arranged a two-day trip up the Amazon.
“It started where the Amazon meets the Rio Negro river which is where we went on to our lodge for the next two days.
“Firstly we were given lunch (fresh fish caught that day in the river) and then we were shown to our rooms and had free time to swim.
“In the afternoon we went on a boat trip looking at the breath-taking sights of this powerful river and the surrounding forest.
“We were taken to see a remote family who live on the river bank. They didn’t have much but made us very welcome.
“They cut down some fresh fruit for us to try and ground some seeds to make a paint like paste that we could decorate our faces with. I had a St.George’s cross!
“We then stopped to fish with just a rod, a short line and a bit of raw chicken as bate. Our guide said what we caught we would eat later.
“I got a bite and caught my first ever fish which was a piranha. After dinner we went back out in the dark.
“It was pitch black at eye level but the night sky lit up with more stars than I have ever seen – it was beautiful.
“We were out looking for crocodiles which was a bit scary. When we caught one and pulled it in the boat it was a baby. We took turns holding it before putting it back in the water.
“After a hot night’s sleep we were up at 5am to go back out on the river to see the sun come up Yet the moon was still out and bats were flying all around us.
“Then as the sun came up pink dolphins were swimming all around us. It was amazing!
“After breakfast we were dropped off by boat with our guide for a four-hour trek through the jungle.
“We saw tropical birds, tree jumping monkeys, snakes and tried different flavours of tree.
“But the funniest thing was eating a live grub – all we needed was Ant and Dec to walk out!
“It was hard not to have no service on my phone even though it was only for two days because I miss my fiancé Lisa and my family.
“I wanted to share all the wonderful things I was doing and let them know I was safe too. So that’s why I’m happy to report back to you in Coventry.
“I’m off to Sao Paulo for England’s must-win second game. I’m an England fan don’t get me out of here…just yet!”
Brian catches his first fish out of the Amazon. (s)