Last November my friend Tony from Barnsley [England] asked me the favour to try to arrange a Football match for 13 year old lads in Barcelona.
They were 40 english people coming over the 26th of January to see Barça-Celta from the spanish premier league. Tony thought it would be the perfect chance for Redfearns club, from the Sheffield League, to play some football with a local team. I promised him I would do my best to sort it out and find one.
Although I have no connections football related anymore [I dont play since I was a teen], I remembered my sisters boyfriend Manuel plays for the 1st team of a club in Barcelona called C.D. Carmelo. Very kindly he promised me to ask the management and see if there was any availability on the dates for the younger categories teams.
Manuel worked really hard on it, and asked as well several other clubs in Barcelona to see if it was possible to fix the International friendly match.
But It wasnt that easy, as here clubs were in the middle of their league season and they had to ask also their rival teams for possible date changes. So finally 2 days before the mentioned weekend, when I thought I was never gonna get a reply, Manuel rang me and told me everything was OK.
Apparently Club Deportivo Carmelo said yes!
So I rang Tony on thursday to let him know the good news and also to pass the message to the sports coordinator of the english team [Redfearns]. Nice one.
But now things are starting to change. The local council is building up a new tube line in Carmelo [Google Carmelo and you will see the mess they are doing with it] .
With the magnificient views from the city, I can guarantee you properties prices are rising like a rocket. No more rents for 200-300€ per month with top views of the sea. Welcome to the Euro.
It sounds like the end of Carmelo as we know it. I personally lived there for a while and I enjoyed it a lot [His proximity to the beautiful Park Güell is a bonus], so I'm not really sure if I'm gonna like the changes. Years ago nobody wanted to live there, now everybody wants to.
So back to the match, on sunday morning we headed to the football ground in Carmelo Hill.
And there was Mik [Tony's friend and the Redfearns tour management] and also a bunch of 12-14 year old kids with some of their dads.
Kick off was at 12 AM, and 35 minutes each half. There was another match before hand right when we arrived, so we had a little chat with our English visitors and shared a beer or two.
My friends Jordi and Guillermo despite the hang over from the night before turned up to the event too, so did my sisters with their respective man.
The 1st match was C.D. Carmelo vs Trinitat, another neighbourhood in Barcelona, they were about 16 years old me thinks, and it did end up with some of the players sent off and a bit of a fight, they were arguing like mad and loudly screaming each other. Local rivalry I guess. I can tell you I was thinking and hoping right at the moment our friendly match would be a bit more....just friendly!
And no doubt it was.
I was pretty impressed to see the Barnsley kids warming up before the match doing some exercises with a lot of discipline.
All Carmelo kids parents and local friends gathered there to see the match, I noticed a mixture of curiosity and great expectation on the atmosphere. The local coach told me the young ones very excited about the event. I was surprised to see quite a few people turning up. Not too bad being announced only two days before.
I dont think C.D. Carmelo had in the past that many chances to play with foreign teams really.
Redfearns were very well placed on the field, and they had really good oportunities to score on the 1st half. Quality football.
Also Mik told me 2 of their best players couldnt make it on the customs due to passport problems with the airline and also for being underage, so they had to stay in England. You can imagine the poor lads were devastated. That made not possible to the Barnsley team to make some substitutions, they had to play only with 11. C.D. Carmelo did a brilliant match too although they seemed to me a bit more tricky playing. I wouldnt say bully but certainly well trained from their local league.
At two o'clock the match was over. We all had a great time so did the kids. Parents were taking photos and also both teams exchanged a t shirt as a present.
The management agreed to set another match probably late this year.
We only had about an hour left though, they had to catch a bus to Barça stadium and I had to ran back to Madrid.
And god they can drink. I was well warned with an SMS by my friend Sean who is from Barnsley too.
We had our beer and a nice chat.
Thank you all to make this happen. Now Barnsley and Carmelo are well connected.