Saturday, October 26

My First El Clasico



My phone has run out of 3G data. Some old busker just played 'My Way' on his violin at the train station and it won't leave my ears. And I'm about to enter Camp Nou for El Clasico - Barcelona v Real Madrid - agitated to hell.

My football team - whom I pretty much care about more than anything in the world - are seemingly about to throw away any remote chance of retaining their title in fucking October. October!

We're 2-1 down to Stoke at home (home!) with 13 minutes to go, last I heard. I was on the train listening to 5 Live on iPlayer when suddenly, amid the eager droll of countless Barca fans packing the carriage, the ramble of Mark Lawrenson just stopped.

Towards the stadium, I walk. I'm upset, concerned about United. The horridly underdeveloped streets that ruin the essence of Camp Nou, I've seen a few times before. I'm sweating in my tight jeans which hold my €100 ticket. 'Please, reds; not again.'

I'm rushing up towards my seat with minutes till kick-off, trying to work out O2's weird Euro data rules and how to add more MB. I make kick-off by seconds - Ronaldo, Messi, Bale are before me but I don't care. I need to know what happened.

I can still hear 'My Way' - Ferguson's song. I've added more data. I can't check yet, too scared. I decide to catch my breath from the never-ending steps I just sprinted up. I'm worried the Barca obsessive next to me will spot Ronaldo on my iPhone background, so I conceal it.

The Barca fans going crazy at only a yellow against them - this atmosphere reminds me of Utd v Liverpool or City, when you don't even talk to the regular guys next to you out of pure anxiety at the level of the game.

Right. Time to check. God, this feels like I'm opening my A-level results. I'm fearing the worst; this new Utd is a new Utd. Bang. 3-2. YES... I'll never forget my first El Clasico. United win a late comeback. All is right in the world again.