a community serious about adventuring
Walking down the Ramblas on a cool sunny day, the first for us on our travels in flops and shorts, we came upon an official FC Barcelona ticketing agent. Jersey clad girls with multilingual toungues selling “cheap” tickets to tourists. €10 for upper level seats to watch “Barca” play….Ceuta. Small coastal town attached to Moracco. As soon as we got our tickets in hand I notice that the face value is €7. Nice. Great idea however selling tickets to tourists at a reasonable price still, when the stadium is built for many more fans than Ceuta will draw. Cheaper than the cheap seats at a BC Lions game as I recall.
We arrive on game day via the metro very easily, not very crowded at all, no armed police there to guide the opposing fans, I guess they’re coming from a different direction. We follow the crowd to the stadium, luckily our gate is the first we come across. Through the gate, through security without a glance at our bags, up the numerous stairs to our seats…at the very top…very very top! behind us is a standing area, great for pictures or smoking if you didn’t want to leave your seat to do so. The wind was cold and fierce, but being Canadians we toughed it out for the first 25 minutes, before moving down in our section.
The crowd slowly filed into the stadium as we waited with the extra time due to the ease of our arrival. But as game time approached we became painfully aware that the tourists weren`t here to fill the gaps. Not even the best seats in the lower sections filled up. The stadium couldn’t have been at one third capacity. I don’t care if it is Ceuta, I couldn’t believe the lack of interest. The BC Lions have drawn better against the seven teams they play two to three times every year at home. And this is futbol-mad Spain, recent winners of the Euro Cup and World Cup; and this is Barca, home to the enviable triangle attacking style that Perry told me about. That style and many of these players being on the national team no less. The stupid Lions draw better with a third string QB whose name should be in porn! seriously, Buck Pierce, I’m not making this up. I`m not in marketing, but maybe if the game didn`t start at 10PM more people could bring their kids to such an affordable event.
Two minutes in, and before Ceuta could touch a ball that the wind hadn’t blessed them with, Barca was up by one. The sparse crowd went nuts. I have to admit they made a lot of noise for their numbers and cheered and chanted through most of the game. Surprising number of vuvuzelas made an appearance too. There were some small chanting sections, but no distinguishable opposition fan section that we could see, when Ceuta scored on one of their very few chances to make the game 2-1. Barca simply toyed with their foes, passing around them easily, dribbling through one, two or more defenders. Ceuta’s keeper touched the ball more than anyone on his team: having made more impressive saves than his team had touched the ball on the other end of the pitch. It didn’t help that a Ceuta player had gotten red carded putting them down a man.
Going into the second half we decided to sit in the section down and looking onto the other half of the field from where our seats were, there was plenty of room, and having had all the action in front of us for a half we hardly wanted to watch grass grow in front of the Barca keeper this half. Five minutes in, Barca regained a two goal advantage and never looked back. They dominated to the point of passing to their keeper to prevent boredom. With 30 minutes remaining the crowd was suddenly agast. I couldn`t see what was drawing such a reaction on the field till my fledgling futbol fan training drew my attention to the sideline where Lionel Messi was limbering up to enter the game. The anticipation in the crowd was awesome, and for good reason, within minutes of being on the pitch he had helped create a couple of good chances on net. About 10 minutes later he capitalized sending the crowd into adoring chants of “Messi! Messi!” One more goal by Bojan Krkic ended a 5-1 romp that could`ve been much worse.
An easy metro ride back and we were in our beds in less than an hour. All in all, it was an effortless, inexpensive, fun sports experience. One I would definately recommend to anyone visitng Barca, even non-sports fans.