The real-life tales of a football writer
Sunday meant a Gremio away game in Novo Hamburgo, an hour north of Porto Alegre.
It was in the Gaucho tournament, played by all the major clubs of Rio Grande do Sul and 7,000 away fans flooded into town, then paid eight quid for a ticket before taking over three sides of the 9,000 capacity ground.
Then they sang non-stop for two hours, bouncing up and down. I love the enthusiasm and passion of the Brazilian fans, but they must have been more knackered than the players.
Another 500 didn’t buy tickets, but stood instead in the nearby streets, drinking beer and buying meat from impromptu BBQs. And chanting Gremio. A line of police on horseback made sure they didn’t overwhelm the small stadium.
"You're supposed to be at home..."
Gremio won 5-1 against their opponents who had no less than five shirt sponsors. Word went round that their rivals Inter were about to sell their best player Alex (who came on for Kaka to make his Brazil debut in October) "to England."
“Where in England?” I asked a nearby fan.
“England.”From Brazil we left the airport where Robinho was on the front cover of the respected Veja news magazine for his off-field exploits under the headline "Why doesn’t he grow up?" and headed south to Montevideo, Uruguay.
After hiring a car which the Flintstones would have turned their noses up, we drove two hours east to Punta Del Este – the Ibiza of South America at the edge of the River Plate.
Argentinian money (and a fair few corrupt European politicians who fled rather than face charges) helped Punta prosper, so I was surprised to hear a northern English accent as we settled down in a bar at sunset.
‘It’s Alright’ by Sterling Void was playing and life was close to perfect. Then my curiosity got the better of me.
“Excuse me, where are you from?” I asked the lad with the northern twang.
“Oldham, but I live over here. You?”
“Manchester,” I replied.
“I’m a blue. You’re not a United w**ker are you?”
That was it. I politely inquired where he was from and he asked me if I was a United w**ker. I could think of many who would have sparked him out there and then, but their middle name isn’t Boutros Boutros-Ghali like mine.
I thought about saying: “I’m not into football, but if you need any hints on carp fishing I’m your man. There’s a good bait shop near Boundary Park as it happens.”
Instead I said: “Yes, I support United.”
“Oh f**k off,” he replied, with genuine anger. It was my time to be a smartarse.
“I’ve just got back from watching them in Tokyo.”
“Why, what happened there?”
An imaginary drum roll rippled through my head. A sell out Free Trade Hall awaited.
“You know, when United were crowned world champions.”
He didn’t want to hear any more.
“I’ve not seen the papers for a few weeks,” I lied. “Did Kaka join City? I mean, you could see why he wanted to swap Maldini for Richard Dunne.”
Richard Dunne almost had Kaka fooled... almost
With that he was off. And the sun had finally set.
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What a poor end to what could have been an interesting article. Is the threat of Manchester City beginning to worry you? You have had a chance to report an exciting competition, but reduced the article to a snipe at City. Can you rewrite the article and give us some interesting observations of the tournament. In other words, do your job properly.
Is the threat of Manchester City beginning to worry you?
Threat? - What threat? Languishing in mid-table, being run by a David Brent wannabe, or simply making a fool of yourselves chasing players who wouldn't play for you however much you pay them?
Meanwhile, we are collecting championship medals, bringing through promising youngsters and cementing our legend.
Threat? - Don't make me laugh, mate.
on a general note. What is Montevideo like, im going traveling and its one of the places i have in mind and punta del est are they wroth going to. I havent finalised everywhere i am going, but i thought about stopping in uruguy when going from argentina to brazil rather than hopping over it.
As excellent illustration of my point murlan9, the article has missed a great opportunity to pass on some information to other football fans. A point completely missed by our myopic friend mr. el_dhulqarnain.
You don't quite understand irony do you mr. E? Thats right our David Brent wannabe happens to be one of your legends. D'Oh ring a bell perchance?
What I believe Mr. Mitten was trying to illustrate at the end of his article, was that in the River Plate, miles away from home, he encountered someone from practically his hometown, and this neighbour, instead of behaving like a civilized human being and politely acknowledging their mutual origins, asked him if he was a "United w***er". This goes to show, that despite world travel and new horizons, some City fans are twisted, lonely, and devoid of any civility or class. They also habour the worlds biggest chip on the worlds smallest shoulder.
IF Mr Mitten had had that conversation, it is unlikely the City fan's immediate response, when told he was from Manchester, would have been to assume he is a united fan. It is amazing how many of these, very similar stories are starting to circulate. The City fan lives just outside Manchester (normally Stockport), the United fan lives in Manchester, ohh the irony. Anyhow can you address the relevance of the end of the article to the Gaucho tournament? Thats still a no isn't it.
This is a blog, not a match report
What Nevchenko said, the key word again BLOG!
Top marks as usual, sir.
Richie Dunne is the man though!
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