An imaginary football story
By Konstantinos Kakavoulis
It is May and we are in the middle of spring in Barcelona.
It is 5 in the afternoon and the first locals have already appeared at Plaça del Sol to enjoy a cool beer after a day at work. As it is Monday, the stores are already closed. At Cafe del Sol, the only ones who do not seem to be tourists are three men who look pretty tanned by the sun – a sign that they started their excursions to Costa Brava early this year.
They are almost 45 years old, but they look younger. Manu, the wittiest of the company, immediately orders 3 frozen beers and one portion of patatas bravas. The conversation soon turns to last night’s local football derby between the worldwide reputed Barcelona and Espanyol, a very well-run team that does not have the shine of their fellow countrymen, but after yesterday’s victory they have become major league contesters.
The three friends had attended the stadium to watch the match. It was the first time after more or less a decade that the fans of the away team were allowed to enter the stadium alongside with the home fans. After a crowd disorder caused some very serious incidents, the Spanish federation had decided to forbid the movement of fans and so, for several years only the home team fans could watch the game in the stadium. Manu, Barcelona fan since he was a child, starts the discussion. “Your first goal starts with a clear foul in front of the referee. It should have never counted.”
“Yes, but the penalty he gave you after that was a clear dive. The defender never touched your player“ was Felipe’s, a Sevillian and warm supporter of any team playing against Barcelona, immediate response.
“It seemed that the referee never meant to give the final whistle of the match. He was expecting that you could equalize until the very last moment” adds Jordi, whose father was a legendary goalkeeper of Espanyol.
“In any case, it is a pity we could not get a picture of us three. We had so many years to hang out together in the stadium”, Felipe recalls.
“It is really unacceptable that this new law forbids a photo of 3 friends who managed to go to the stadium and spend a beautiful afternoon supporting their teams. I honestly cannot figure out why this is forbidden “.
“Come on, do not grumble, let’s take one now. Estelle asked me to send her a photo of us”, Manu suggests.
“Forget it, we cannot take any photo even here. They have brought this Miró sculpture in the square. If its visible in the picture, we cannot send it anywhere. “
“Well, are they insane?” Manu says with a red-faced face – maybe he was not that nervous, maybe he just turned red when he ate the last chilly potato.
“At least I will write a very nice article about our experience in the stadium,” says Felipe who works for a well-known online magazine.”
“Just be careful, do not put a picture of the match again. They will not let you upload it, like last time.”
“But who wants to read an article about a football match with no picture in it?”
“I would not read it, even if I knew you had written it.”
“But the first goal was a foul,” Manu says.
“Well, you can say whatever you want. This year’s championship is ours. “
“Will we get another round?”
*The above story is fictional. No elements beyond the site, patatas bravas and ongoing football debates in Barcelona’s squares for the two teams of the city are real.
A scenario banning the movement of fans in Spain, as in Greece, seems unlikely. Almost as improbable as Espanyol being league contesters alongside FC Barcelona, winning them in one of the last matches of La Liga.
The restrictions that the three friends discuss about the photos and the article for the match are not that fictional though. It is very likely that they will soon be part of our daily routine. Read more here.