We’re kicking off Monday with a guest blog from a Grover that goes by the name of Old Bird. You might remember her superb guest blog from the summer! Enjoy, I’ll be back in an hour or so with the Monday news review!
Post-match thoughts of a travelling fan
Ok, nothing to say that hasn’t been said about the match. Well done FCB and the truly awesome Messi and thank you Nic B for probably the best 2 minutes of our season (so far)!
I love going to CL away games. This promised to be as memorable a day out as it’s possible to have in an Arsenal shirt. Barcelona is one of the most beautiful and friendly cities in Europe, the city/club had set up a good fanzone by the harbour and we wandered the old city and had some great tapas. We were having an excellent day out ………..until, that is, the coach took us to the stadium! From this point on we were treated like potential criminals by FCB’s overly officious, unhelpful stewards.
Firstly, in good spirits, we wanted to wander round the Camp Nou (allegedly the greatest stadium in Europe/World), enjoy the atmosphere, take some photos and buy some souvenirs/scarves/food. All the usual pre-game stuff. Sadly we were barred from this by surly stewards and guided straight into the stadium. The stall holders outside lost a great deal of money I’m guessing.
Next we were subjected to the sort of body search that Heathrow airport would have been proud of! Fair enough, they have a job to do, and no doubt there are still idiot fans (from other clubs obv) who might try to smuggle in stupid stuff. However I strongly object to having my handbag (Yes I’m a woman in case you’re worrying) taken off me, given to a steward a few yards away and then being asked to turn round to be searched. Search my bag by all means but a) I would like to be present and b) wish to keep an eye on my possessions (ie purse/passport/tickets/credit cards etc) while a complete stranger inspects them.
The handbag search (when I was able to watch) beggared belief. Everything was inspected with enormous care – book, bookmark, reading glasses. To my great annoyance my miniscule bottle of Dior perfume was confiscated at this point. My protests were treated rudely. Did they think it was a nice smelling explosive? Did they think I was going to throw it? In which case why not take all my coins as well! And actually I’m a relatively respectable (on a good day) woman in her sixties – do I look like a thug? Others around me were having other items taken – camera batteries, folding umbrellas (despite being told before these were allowed) etc.
Finally, somewhat annoyed, we were allowed into the stadium to climb the thousand steps upto the seats in the top of the stadium that our mere 75 euros had bought. I wonder how much the Barca fans paid for their excellent RINGSIDE seats at the Emirates? Despite heroic efforts by all the Gooners, it makes it a tad difficult to be the “twelth man” singing your team to victory so far from the pitch. I would like to think they heard us but frankly doubt it. No doubt this is the intention. What a shame.
I expect visiting Barca fans also enjoyed our plentiful toilets complete with toilet paper, hot water, soap and hand driers; none of these were provided. Great.
It is now 2 hours to kickoff and we are hungry. Having been barred from the cafes and stalls outside our only choice was the food in the stadium. This was great too – the only thing on offer was an over-priced and barely cooked sausage in a roll. Bad luck any veggies. No cheese. They were selling beer though, much to our surprise (I thought this was not allowed by UEFA but hey). But 4 euros for half a pint!!! It makes the Emirates sound cheap.
After the match was over, still singing, we were kept behind as expected. Thanks to those who entertained us with the paper airplanes – good job. Finally released, and still in surprisingly good spirits despite the defeat we were then treated to more heavy stewarding (no you cannot use the toilets on the next level down – thanks a lot!).
So thank you FCB for marring a great day out. I was delighted to hear from my friends in the City that the media and police were praising our fans – no incidents or arrests all day (despite the beer consumed!). Well done us. Perhaps this might be considered if we visit you again. Of course, a football club must be careful and stewards are essential. But would it hurt to treat us with some respect? A smile perhaps? We are just football fans who love the game and our team enough to spend £300 on a day out! We have come to enjoy a great game of football – just like the Barca fans. Please don’t spoil your fabulous image as one of the greatest clubs in Europe. We were treated far better at Seville last year (but you probably don’t want to hear that).
Also, if you’re reading, FCB, please leave our much loved captain alone too! Mind you, we’d quite like Messi and Xavi.
And finally, please could I have my perfume back (if there’s any left!). It was J’adore since you asked.