Andrew Abbott's Blog

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Thin times for the Imps.

Regular readers may know there’s not much from me on the subject of Lincoln City in September. The reason for this is we always take our holidays once the kids go back to school. It coincided with a fallow period for the Imps and I’m hoping they will get back to winning ways this weekend.

Your correspondent hasn’t been idle on the footie topic though. Oh no. This year we indulged ourselves at one of the great football cathedrals of the world, Camp Nou Barcelona. We picked the right game as well, the Champions League encounter between Barça and Celtic.

I choose my words carefully here, my very best friends are Scots, one is a Celtic regular. The fact of the matter is they really didn’t turn up. Having said that not many teams would have lived with Barcelona that night.

Celtics bad luck and our good luck was the fact that Messi, Suárez, Neymar and Piqué all played. Iniesta came on in the second half. It was a star studded Barcelona team.

The first thing to say, apart from the fact that the stadium is enormous, is that it seems quite old. There was a spate of purpose built grounds going up across Europe and South America in the sixties and seventies,

What a din, it's not just Man City!

this was one although it was started in the fifties. So it looks quite elderly in comparison with say the Millennium Stadium which most of us Imps are acquainted with.

Much is made of the middle class nature of the fan base at Barcelona, it’s quite right and of course being an international brand there are fans from all over the world there. One pleasing aspect was the number of women attending the game, joining in and getting excited about football. Who could fail to get excited about the spectacle we saw?

The Champions League anthem was loudly derided, just like being at Manchester City and there was much Catalan sentiment about, so far as we could understand. I want to say that I would not swap the homely surroundings of Sincil Bank and the “in the blood” sentiment of supporting your home town club but what a treat seeing these wonderful players was.

Messi was truly amazing and Piqué a superb display. Did you know his surname is Bernabéu? Bet he doesn’t shout about that. Iniesta had a towering presence about him and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ball kicked so hard as his volleyed goal. Suárez surprised me, he didn’t have the best of games but his work rate was laudable and he gave a real team performance, in fact all the players displayed a good team ethic and the effort put in was exceptional. No play acting either, that really surprised me.

I can’t wait to get back to Lincoln City but the memory of that night will live with me for ever.

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