The Morning After…
Back to normality here on our fifth day/fourth morning in Valencia. It really is a wonderful city,or maybe my Dad and I have just been blessed with beautiful surroundings and fantastic friends.
On the latter,although we had a number of people batting against the averages for us,Hugh and Sheila it was who came up trumps with the tickets. Take a bow,superstars. If you haven’t met them before,dear reader,then that is very much your loss. Quite honestly,I cannot praise them enough,not only for yesterday and the rest of this trip,but also every other time I have met them. Just two great people doing what great people do,and I’m humbled to be able to think of them as friends.
Off we went to the match last night,and as we got there we could sense a slight undercurrent,a something-isnae-right. Not from the fans or the locals,just,well,some of you will know what I mean. One of the stewards didn’t seem too keen on my Dad and I going in-neither of us wearing colours,of course-but a few words from the fans around us quickly settled that.
And we were in!
And I swiftly wished we hadn’t been allowed in,it was a long way up to our seats but boy,it looked a long way down too! It was like sitting on a cliff-edge,brought back the vertigo that I last experienced on the roof of the Maryhill Barracks as we repaired a cradle for the window-cleaners. That was a long way down anaw,and I’m glad I didn’t find out how far.
On to the game,I don’t think we played badly but we didn’t play great either. Nor did Valencia. Broonie again seemed to be everywhere,and our three at the back pretty much worked. In fact,those three also offered us our best options up front too,but headers and shots were at a premium. Down to ten men before half-time,we were well up against it.
Next goal will decide the tie,if they score its game over,if we score it is game on. A scramble about halfway through the second half supplied the answer,a nothing goal,no blame just scrappy. 3-0 down on aggregate,goodnight Valencia…
So off we trotted after the match,with the good wishes of those beside us. Into a little nearby tapas bar which honestly had more food in its deli counter than my local Tesco,a bottle of wine on every table,and unsurprisingly,it was mobbed! There’s yer business plan if you ever fancy opening a pub,though I’m not sure that it would take off in Kilwinning.
Back into town to meet up with Hugh and Sheila,and a casual saunter round to our hotel. Did I tell you that our hotel is in the posh part of town? Oh,get me,punching above our weight here eh? Well,we were met by about twenty Celtic fans in full flight and a cadre of riot police full-montied up with batons shields and helmets. Not to mention side-arms. We asked the al fresco drinkers and smokers what had happened and they looked puzzled,the police had just arrived in a few vans and attacked the few fans outside the bar about fifty yards away.
The entire trip I only experienced one lairy Celtic supporter,we only experienced the most marvellous hospitality from the locals,but something has definitely spooked the authorities in advance of our trip. It hasn’t spoiled our trip because we managed to avoid the problems,but it remains a puzzle why it happened.
It won’t spoil our memories either of a fabulous trip to a fabulous city. What a way to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday,and to those who helped make it so-that’s my Mum,two sisters,brother-in-law and my nephew-you have my grateful thanks. You know you do. And so too do Hugh and Sheila.
Everyone’s a winner with family and friends like these.