GOING from New York to the New Den has been a “crazy” ride for Tim Ream.
Plunged into a debut in the FA Cup at Millwall just two weeks after he completed a protracted move from the States, it has been a whirlwind introduction to life at Wanderers for the laid-back centre half.
But the first glimpse of the former New York Red Bulls star was an encouraging one, and while the sometimes savage atmosphere in South East London was certainly a baptism of fire compared to the more sedate crowds of the MLS, there was no doubt he enjoyed his first taste of English football.
“It is a different atmosphere,” he said after the Whites’ 2-0 win. “It was intense here. That is the way their supporters are and as a player you have to block them out. It was interesting for me, it was a little crazy.
“In the USA, you have one small section that gets into it and tries to get everyone else into it, but here you have everyone yelling.
“Everyone is part of the game. It is a good first experience for me. I was forewarned. It is a good first introduction.”
Wanderers are now just 90 minutes away from a return to Wembley and an opportunity to vanquish last season’s embarrassment at the hands of Stoke City.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” said Ream at the thought of playing at a showpiece semi-final. “One more win and I will be playing at Wembley. That would be crazy.
“If we win one more game I’ll be playing in arguably the best stadium in the world. I am looking forward to that.
“I’ve been able to see some cup games live but nothing of the magnitude of a cup final. I have seen them on the states on TV but this would be a new experience for me.”
After overcoming a Championship side in Millwall, there are potentially tougher tests on the horizon for Wanderers and Ream with Chelsea and Manchester City next up in the Premier League.
And the 24-year-old is looking forward to testing himself on the grand stage at Stamford Bridge or the Etihad Stadium.
“I wouldn’t say that there is a big difference in the standard of football between here and the MLS but there is a definitely a difference,” he said.
“It’s a learning curve, but as a defender your job is the same no matter where you play.
“Coming here and playing here over the past two weeks has helped me get up to speed.”