The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Wish I was there

Posted by steigs on February 23, 2008

These days, an American soccer fan can actually watch as much — if not more — soccer than the average European fan.  On television, at least.  If you’ve got digital cable or satellite tv.  And don’t mind taping games that are on during your time at the office….

One thing it remains difficult to do — and getting more difficult with the dollar growing weaker by the day — is actually attending the games in person.  I like to drop stories here about times I’ve been lucky enough to make the trek to places like the Nou Camp and Anfield etc.  The atmosphere can be incredible.  It’s something that you just can’t capture at home or even at a lively bar.

I follow several teams in different European leagues.  The Champions League can provide challenges to my fandom, such as the Celtic-Barcelona match-up in the round of 16.  Which of my favorites to I root for?  DC United is my first team.  But Celtic and Barca are my next two favorites.  When they play…I root for Celtic.  That was reaffirmed this week watching the first leg.

Damn, I wish I’d been able to get to Glasgow for the game — or even to watch in a Celtic-friendly pub in Scotland.  Keving of Lord of the Wing was there — let him describe it

The scene that met me was awe-inspiring. Thousands of green, white and yellow flags were being waved, the “Welcome To Paradise” banner draped over the top tier along wie various other CSC banners. The end was singing, swaying and belting out “Hail Hail” drowning oot the PA.Went down the front of Area 412. The Green Brigade had hung a banner over to the main lads in the section below. The section below was a sea of waving flags, including a Catalonia flag, the banner stated wie impressive intent “Roar Like Lions”. Now, I could see the whole stadium was energetic.

A look across to the “away end” and I was impressed wie the numbers of travelling. 2000 Cules were bouncing, singing and waving their colourful flags and instead of standing a gawping in wonder at the noise coming from the rest of the arena they were adding to it.

YNWA, started and as I stood looking all around I wondered if there was any better place in Europe. The displays were anarchic, spontaneous European, colourful and messes, which is great. Much better than the holding up the cards, spelling out a message type ones. These displays were on a par wie anything I have seen in Europe and were carried off wie as much passion as any Turk, Greek, Italian or Spaniard.

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