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We Hate Scouse

Over Land and Sea - Barcelona 2009

Started by We Hate Scouse,

Awesome story! I like it, since I'll probably never see a game of that magnitude in Europe, it gives me an idea of what it's like. Crazy story, also an Arctic Monkey's reference, I love it.

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Got bored and couldn't sleep, so I've decided to write up about my stories from my European away trips. Not sure if anyone will be interested and it's written badly, but hope you enjoy nonetheless. This is the first of 9 and is easily the most boring. I will post the others in due course.

Over Land and Sea

The Beginning Barcelona 28/04/2009

Having travelled up and down the country following Chelsea I decided it was time to take it to the final step in following the Blues. My first European away came in the form of a semi-final trip to Barcelona. At the tender age of 16 I had to not only convince my dad to let me go, but also convince him to pay for my flights.

We knew we would play Barcelona if we beat Liverpool and after a very convincing 3-1 win against them at Anfield I knew it was all but sealed. As soon as the game was won I went searching for flights. To my amazement I found return flights to Barcelona for £20. A lot of my mates had gone up to Liverpool and I was unable to contact them so after searching through Facebook for someone to go with, I found one of my mates Chris who agreed to come. The easiest way to describe Chris is old before his time, he was a bore, but I knew I couldn't book alone and I absolutely couldn't miss it. The next part was convincing my dad. Hed gone to the pub to watch the Liverpool game and after the excellent result he was drunk to say the least. It didn't take much convincing at all. In fact the next day he couldn't even remember the conversation, it was all booked though so there was no turning back.

Along the 2nd leg against Liverpool. Standing in the Matthew Harding at half time with my head in my hands. 2-0 down, was it over before it even began? 3000 Scousers over the moon, with their typical arrogant songs, goading us as we sat in despair. Luckily for us we had Hiddink the master in charge. Shortly after half time Drogba pulled one back, we had 3 away goals and looked unbeatable. The atmosphere completely changed, it was the best, to this day, that Ive witnessed at the Bridge. All four stands singing, although the acoustics at Stamford Bridge proving an issue as always as all four stands were horribly out of sync. Outstanding nonetheless.

Oh Alex Rodrigo Dias Da Costa, hes from Brazil, he plays alongside John Terry, hes just as fucking hard. Give him the ball outside the box, hell score from 30 yards

It was my new favourite song, created after his thunderbolt free kick, Id never felt emotions like it. I knew I was getting on the plane in 2 weeks time to see my beloved Chelsea abroad. Not only that, but against the footballing giants at the worlds greatest stadium, the Nou Camp.

The 2 weeks dragged along so slowly, it was torture, but the day eventually came around. The day started off early, 3am wake up for a drive to Stansted. The flights were £20 for a reason, not only were they flying with Ryanair they were at abysmal times. 6.10am flying out and 6.30am flying back. After going through the usual boring airport logistics we touched down in Barcelona at 9.40am local time, but we wasn't finished with our travels yet. We had another hour coach ahead of us. We finally got to the city centre and thought wed have a wonder around before heading to Flahertys Irish Bar, the pub Chelseas travelling support had adopted for their pre-match beers.

We wondered down Las Ramblas and the atmosphere was great, it was busy and vibrant. Nothing compared to Londons bleak and depressing highstreets. There were street entertainers everywhere; people were happy and enjoying themselves. Once we reached the bottom of Las Ramblas we decided to walk along the coast. Afrer half a mile walk there were no longer any crowds and it started to look a bit bleaker and somewhat deprived. We noticed a few homeless men looking over in our direction. I knew that there were places to stay away from in Barcelona from my very in depth researching whilst waiting for the trip to come around, although I got lost in the excitement to remember this. One of the homeless men wondered over and started speaking to us in Spanish and holding his hands out. We turned around and very briskly walked away and thought wed better make our way to the pub.

We arrived at the pub at around 1pm and met up with a few older lads that I knew from Chelsea, I dont really recall much after this other than a lot of cider was consumed and a lot of singing. In the early evening the police arrived and started to escort us to the stadium. I had finally arrived at my first European stadium, after building it up so much, expecting it to be outstanding, I was left disappointed. From the outside the stadium looked terrible, it was a complete eyesore. The surrounding area was vile, dirty, it was an intimidating place. We made our way in to the stadium and there it was, the expectation becoming a reality. It was breath-taking from inside, the sheer size of it was incredible. The Chelsea fans were held right up in the gods, we could barely see a thing, but I had finally made it to my first European away, I couldnt care less.

The game was terrible, it ended a 0-0 draw. We had few chances, the only memorable was a Drogba 1 on 1, but it was blocked. The Barca fans began to grow frustrated around the 70th minute, there was whistling a jeers. Then suddenly a few coins sporadically began falling into the area the Chelsea fans were in. It was met with disapproval as the Chelsea fans threw thrice as many back. The police then appeared, batons at the ready. I was expecting a repeat of the infamous scenes in Saville where Tottenham fans were battered. The stories of Spanish police were never good. Luckily everything calmed down and the match came to an end.

After the game we were kept in the stadium for an hour, due to safety concerns whilst the Barca fans exited the stadium. We decided to make our way back to Las Ramblas to find a bar to finish the night in. When we got there it was a completely different place to what it was in the day. The streets were lined with African prostitutes; everywhere was closed; there wasnt a policeman in site. As we walked down the street the prostitutes would grab you, anywhere and everywhere. I kept my hands in my pockets. In one pocket my phone, the other my wallet. One prostitute wiped her fingers over my face, luckily they were dry There were groups of men in the middle of the streets that were obviously there to protect the women, or try to rob those that went off with them. Id never experienced anything like it, how could such a vibrant nice place, become like this at night? It reminded me of the Arctic Monkeys song they say it changes when the sun goes down.

One of the blokes in the group that we had attached ourselves to, decided to start talking to one of the prostitutes. We had walked about 20 yards ahead and thought nothing of it, there was suddenly a cry for help. We all ran back to see what was happening. The prostitute had gone and a man wielding a knife had appeared. There were 5 of us around him. One of the guys I was with was in the navy. He was big and could obviously handle himself. He started moving towards the man, I was petrified; Id never been in a situation like it and didnt know what to do, I stood behind the others.

After a standoff with the man for 4-5 minutes, a police car drove past. The man saw them before we did; he threw the knife on the floor and ran. The police wondered over, we let them know what had happened, but they werent interested in the slightest. They didnt even pick the discarded knife up.

Everyone seemed so calm about the situation, but I was mortified, what if he comes back with more people? What if something else happens? I wasnt risking it. God knows what would have happened if the police didnt turn up. Me and Chris got a cab back to the airport and had a long 5 hour wait before our flight, I was glad I was there in safety though. We arrived back in England after around 28 hours without sleep; I couldnt wait for my bed.

Despite all the drama and terrible game, I loved my first European away. I knew I had to do more, I was craving it. Unfortunately the next trip wouldnt be for another 7 months, back to Spain to see Atletico Madrid

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Fantastic read mate, looking forward to the next one.

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Well done whs top story

Ramblas is definitely a different thoroughfare at night -as are quite a few.

Market Street in San Francisco springs to mind. Vibrant, swapmeets, friendly people in the daytime, then at night the liquor stores open, the shops selling knives and weapons, people ranting and its completely mental

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