Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Barcelona - Part 2

Gavà & Stacey

Gavà 0-4 Valencia Mestalla (04:01:09)

After watching Barcelona v Real Mallorca the previous night and then drinking until the early hours, my alarm went off after only four hours of sleep. What to do!? Stay in bed when there is a Segunda Division B - Group 3 match on just minutes down the road!? You must be joking.

I was staying in Castelldefels and as I made my merry way to the railway station I paused only briefly to have a look at the local football stadium - home to UE Castelldefels - who play in the Primera Catalana Division. It was all locked up but I did managed to take this photo. Am I good to you chaps or not!?

Municipal Els Canyars home to UE Castelldefels and home also to 1 x plastic pitch.

The train journey to Gavà only took around five minutes. As I made my way to the ground, I could hear music being pumped out from loud speakers across the streets. This occurs only at Christmas time apparently. I was treated to 'All I want for Christmas is you' by Mariah Carey, 'Last Christmas' by Wham and 'Let it Snow' by Dean Martin. Not so mad now for getting up so early eh!?

The Segunda Division B is the third level of football in Spain. This division also includes several reserve teams from La Liga. These teams can't enter into the Copa del Rey and are also ineligible for promotion to Primera Division. So this match was essentially Gavà v Valencia reserves.

I paid the 12 Euro to get in and then made my way to the supporters bar which was knocking our beers for 1 Euro each. With this being a midday kick off and having only had 4 hours sleep, I only managed to help myself to a couple of 'liveners' before heading to the stands for some action.

As the match kicked off it was pretty clear that it was men against boys. Valencia looked a class apart and it surprised nobody when they took the lead through Toledo. He toe punted his shot through the keepers arms and then sprinted off before sliding on his knees for a fair ten yards. The 'Toledo Tornado' had been unleashed.

Minutes later our man Toledo did it again. He spun a 360 pirouette in the six yard box before planting a delightful curler into the bottom right hand corner. The 'Mestalla Messiah' again sprinted off into the distance, this time blowing kisses to the empty stands. My hero. Half time 0-2.

I pulled out my home made EFW press card and blagged my way into the press box for the 2nd half. This area was just one seat (one seat!) away from - get this - a roped off VIP section. Happy days or what!?

On the hour mark our man Toledo (who else) set up a chance for Riau who blasted the ball into the roof of the net to the sound of no people clapping. That is aside from one lucky chap in a suit the other side of the red VIP rope. Let's call him the chairman. I would have loved to have seen the goal from inside that section. How the other half live eh!?

In the 73rd minute, another Valencia hero was born. Riau - with a nonchalant flick of his left boot - lifted the ball over the advancing keeper to score his second and Valencia's fourth goal of the game. Chants of 'FUERA FUERA FUERA' ('OUT OUT OUT') echoed around the stadium and Gavà's manager could only turn sheepishly round to the crowd and offer a shrug of his shoulders.

Then things to a turn for the surreal. As I was sitting in the press box with just my friends from the radio for company. The fourth official kept showing me his substitutions board. I had to nod my acknowledgment, thrust a thumb up in the air and then pretend to jot something down.

After the match, I again used my EFW badge to sidestep security and gain access to the players. I only managed to grab a word with Toledo (I know!). He told me he was happy but that it wasn't all about him. Then with a wink and thumbs up he was off down the tunnel. It was a bit of a thumbs up sort of morning.

The EFW Toledo thumbs up seal of approval. What a legend!

Outside with the sun beating down and blue skies ahead 'Let it Snow' again pumped out across the streets. It seemed a shade out of place but never mind. I was back off to the station to make my into Barcelona for my second match of the day. What did I care!?

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