One Day in Barcelona.

March 9, 2011 10 Comments by Sian

So, I went to Barcelona yesterday. It’s a lovely city, lovely weather and a lovely distance from here. We were there and back in a day, how good is that? You can usually only get about as far as Brighton in that space of time.

There was a place set up in Port Olimpico for everyone to gather and basically get pissed in. There was beer, lots of beer. Music. The stadium announcer from the Emirates. A penalty shoot-out bouncy castle. And a man dressed as David Seaman. Obviously.

Port Olimpico's Number One! Port Olimpico's Port Olimpico's Number One!

There was time for a little climb…

And general merriment was had. Then, we all headed off on our little buses to the Camp Nou. We got stuck in a bit of traffic at first, but the bus banter kept us going. First we watched drunken Arsenal fans playing football on the grass by the port. One man went for a flying kick, missed the ball and fell over. That was funny. Then came the songs: “We’re not on our wayyyyy, we haven’t moved, we’re stuck in traffic, we haven’t moved….” and the standard opponent-bashing also. “Lionel Messi is a ****” to the tune of Aye Aye Ippy was the favourite.

Then we got to the Camp Nou. And then we became criminals. Honestly, I have been on transatlantic flights where they’ve searched less intently. I got the giggles, which did not amuse the woman searching me. Then we went up the many, many, many stairs to get into the stadium. Where we were confronted with this view:

I mean it’s not exactly an obstructed view, but unfortunately our eyes are not binocular. I know that away support is not really as big as it is here in England but really, it’s nothing short of an insult that the seats are so high up there. It would be OK were it not for the fact THEY get such a brilliant view when they come to the Emirates. So, my suggestion is that we sling them all on the roof. No harnesses. Let’s see the tossers get rude with us when they’re clinging on for dear life amid the pigeon shit. Honestly, their view would be no worse than ours was.

No matter though, we kept our spirits up, even though we still had to wait two hours for kick off. “F*** all, we’re gonna see f*** all, we’re gonna see f*** all” was right on the money. Nasri and Squillaci and Diaby (we think!) came out prior to kick off but other than that we were sat in an empty stadium for two hours.

It’s really not a particularly nice stadium. Going to the Emirates really spoils you as it’s so modern and lovely, but not all magnificently enormous stadiums (stadia?) are horrible. I went to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer and it was beautiful. But this is just… unsafe. And dirty. And full of unappreciative Barcelona fans.

Honestly guys, we complain about our fans, but theirs were bloody dire. Remember the atmosphere when we played them? It was amazing. This lot barely raised a voice. In fact the only thing they managed to get out of their mouths was a whistling noise for the most part. Which indirectly led to RvP’s sending off, the little gitbags! Besides their sodding anthem pre- and post-match and the laughable bloody We Will Rock You lead-up to any kind of free kick they have, they just sat there like the match mattered to no one.

And, by the way, if their win didn’t much matter to some of their fans – and I say “some of” because it pisses me right off when all Arsenal fans are tarred with the same brush when the crowd is quiet – it flipping well mattered to the players. Pique and Puyol, who obviously missed the match through suspension and injury, were jumping and screaming at full time. They really don’t like us. I love that they really don’t like us. (I maintain that anyone who dislikes Arsenal is actually head over heels in love with us because I really believe it’s true, but whatever)

The atmosphere was surprisingly upbeat. We screamed and shouted and jumped around but it’s pretty difficult to influence the atmosphere when you’re high enough to tickle passing asteroids. Afterwards, we were held in the ground for about half an hour, singing things like “Your support is f***ing s***” to an empty stadium amid a host of Arsenal songs. Gooners were down but not out. I’ve heard our post-match “We wanna go home, we wanna go hoooome, this is a shithole, we wanna go home” chant was heard on TV, so that pleases me. We did wanna go home. It is a shithole. Made worse by the fact you’re treated like criminals from the outset. That’s fine if they want to treat us like that. I just wish they had a taste of their own medicine when they came to ours. The fact all three goals were scored up our end at the Emirates is pleasing because it means they’ll have had a small taste of the squintage required in order to see anything.

Post-match, some fans did try to escape through the netting, but that was as bad as it got. The policemen (normally quite difficult to take seriously in their jaunty little Lady Gaga berets) were done up to the nines in riot gear. And the worse thing they faced? Probably the man in front of me who passed wind as he walked by. The English reputation precedes us but it’s always fun to prove that particular reputation wrong.

Anyway. All in all it was a great trip. Our away fans really are brilliant and well done to Jack Wilshere who came over to applaud us not once but twice. Last time at the Camp Nou, no one came over so it was appreciated that they did.

And that’s that. Our last European match for another few months. How pissed off will you be if Barcelona now go on to lose to someone rubbish? I mean, not that I want them to win based on some of their antics and the general smuggishness of the whole set-up, but I don’t think anyone else deserves it more in terms of actual skill and ability.

Thanks for hosting us, Barcelona, you’re a brilliant city. Thanks for the support yesterday, Gooners worldwide, we’re a brilliant fanbase.

10 Comments

  1. Treez
    2414 days ago

    I loved this blog because I shared every moment of it with you, but you have such a brilliant way of describing what happened.

    Loved your idea for treating their fans at the Emirates. Why the hell should they treat us like that and then we give them comfortable seats pitchside. It says something when you have to wait ’til you get home to find out who did what because you couldn’t even read their shirt numbers, much less the names.

    Ever thought of doing this for a living?

    Reply

  2. Jack Roberts
    2414 days ago

    Great photos, thank you for sharing. Is the stadium announcer the same guy who interviews the players/manager for ATVO? He sounds the same to me.

    Reply

  3. Peetay
    2414 days ago

    Great blog! Best I’ve read yet, captured some brilliant images I’m my head of what it must of been like. On to Man utd eh!

    Reply

  4. Alan
    2414 days ago

    Great day, shame about the match. Being with Gooners all day is a very funny (definitely haha) and worthwhile experience Hope we get Barca again soon so that we can laugh at them up on our roof.

    Reply

  5. 1NilToTheArsenal
    2414 days ago

    Thanks Sian – loved the pics, especially of the family. Gives a real flavour to an already charming blog. Well done. But I must say that as a As a Canadian I always get a little jealous when I see people in t-shirts with palm trees in the background. Especially in March!

    I was quite surprised at your comments regarding the crowd atmosphere. You’d think being community-owned and all that the socios would be making a lot more than whistling noises Camp Nou.

    As for the match itself, I’ll take a page from the advice book of mums everywhere: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

    So.I still remain very positive about our club over all. Now that this is out of the way, we can really focus on what are two very manageable tasks: The League and the F.A. cup. LET’S GO GUNNERS!!!

    1NTTA

    Reply

  6. dan
    2414 days ago

    one of very few interesting pieces on newsnow about the barca game… keep it up!

    Reply

  7. Daniel
    2413 days ago

    Great work, Sian!

    I must say, I do think the ref’s awful decision was hardest on the fans who had spent hard earned moola and travelled all that way, like you guys. I mean, who knows what would or could have happened had we had 11 but we deserved a fair pop.

    We go on, time to focus on the FA Cup and the league. We can still win those and we have to believe it! Way too early in the morning for me to give an uplifting speech so that’s all I can muster. “We have to believe it!”

    Thanks for posting those nice pics and well done on being such a superfan :)

    Reply

  8. Akshay
    2408 days ago

    I missed the match because I was travelling. The first thing I did after I got home today was read this blog and Arseblog.

    You have such an amazing way of describing things, it made me feel like I was actually sitting atop the stadium with fellow Gooners. Your writing skills are amazing, Siany. Keep it up! :)

    Reply

  9. Kevin Rowe
    2405 days ago

    Sian

    Such a shame I’ve only now visited the blog! Firstly, I am delighted to see my David Seaman outfit (if you can call it that) made the blog… it got me in what must have been 100+ photos throughout the day/night. Additionally, I have never been chanted at both outside and inside the stadium and I was getting quite into the mini-celeb thing when I was being called upon after Chesney got injured.

    I am struggling to let go of Seaman though, I feel he is now part of me…

    The rest of the blog I agree with, although I do think our fans were pretty poor and justified some of the ‘criminals’ tag when they continued to pelt Euro upon Euro down unto the crowd. No doubt hitting the innocent ones rather than the ones looking to cause trouble.

    I stayed for 4 days and loved Barcelona, it was my 4th time there now so I am happy to leave it be and not go back again thank you please.

    @Welsh_Gooner

    - Bookmarked -

    Reply

    • Sian
      2402 days ago

      Your David Seaman outfit was awesome. And so weird that we saw each other in Barcelona and had no clue.

      Reply

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