Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Barca adventure

(Written on Aug16th)

As I currently crusing at an altitude of 35,000 feet, on a course to England all I can really think about is Barcelona. Don't get me wrong I'm excited to be back in the U.K, beyond the football possibilities to explore there, I'll be in the good hands of family as we prepare for the wedding of my cousin. I'm hoping to catch a match while I'm here although I'll be pretty busy with family business of course. I'll keep you informed if I can get to any EPL or npower championship matches over the next week.

However what I'm gearing up for from a football and blogging perspective is happening next Wednesday night. After the wedding, your junior birdman will be back in the air heading towards Barcelona and more specifically the Camp Nou. Now I hope I don't have to go into the serious importance of the home of FC Barcelona, however just in case there are any newbies to the game let me take a few moments to explain.

Barca can possibly be described as art of a soccer pitch, if you have never seen a Barcelona game I highly encourage you to do so (Note: The Spanish season starts on the 28th I believe) When you are watching the game also note the stadium referred to as the Camp Nou or Nou Camp (Pronounced "New" for us who cannot speak Catalan). The crowd at the matches are a lot different than any TFC crowd, most have compared it to something close to a religious experience. Of course this is probably an overstatement but with the opening song that the supporters sing upon the entrance of the players being called the hymn of the people, you can see why people may feel this way.

The moto of the club is in Catalan "Més que un club" or in English "More than a club" is one of the truest statements in world football. Club members are consulted on major decisions made by club management, they also have a presidential election for the club. The supporters have a large influence on how the club runs, both on and off the pitch. During the recent revelations that the club had failed to pay the players May wages due to debt issues, the club released a financial statement to all club members that requested it.

That along with Barca's long standing commitment to building its squad from it academy ranks, has made them not only one of the most popular football clubs in the world but in the eyes of the people of Barcelona the national team of the Catalan people. Through out the years of General Franco's rule Barcelona more than any other club represented the anti-Franco movement. As Franco banned the Catalan language, the Camp Nou was in many cases the only place it could be spoken freely.

This is what is at the heart of the stadium, not only is the place a venue of excellent football, but in a way it is one of the expressions of the Catalan culture.

This is where I come in, I'll be watching the Friendly match between Barca and AC Milan on the 25th. I'll be posting just before and after the match so look out for those.



P.S: (It's now Aug 18th) I'm hoping to get to either Villa Park or St.Andrews (Home of Aston Villa and Birmingham City respectively) before I leave the U.K on the 23rd. Will let you know as soon as I know.

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