Calella. Spain. Summer 1973.

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Sat in a near empty bar
Nursing an awful hangover
With cognac, aqua con gaz and a double espresso.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 My bleary bloodshot eyes try to focus on
Fading sepia photographs of the bars owner
As a smiling young footballer
Proudly wearing a Barcelona shirt in his prime.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 A television, above the counter
Screams out the local news
So I put my hands over my ears
To drown out the painful noise
Before it causes my head to explode.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Newspapers are strewn
Over unoccupied tables
Left open by customers
From earlier that morning.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Highly excited local people
Rush in from the street
Hastily speak to the bars beaming owner
Quickly browse through the open papers
Happily laugh out loud and are gone.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 As I don’t read or understand Spanish
The centrespreads
Make no sense to me
But I recognise the face in them
Anyone would.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 The news on the television
Shows the same pictures of him over and over again
So intrigued, I walk up to the counter and ask the owner
In my slurred English;
“What’s going on here, why is everyone so excited?”

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 In broken English he replies; “You don’t know,
You’ve not heard the news, how long have you been here?”
“Two days” I reply
“Johann Cruyff signs for Barcelona today,” he says smiling.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 I recall Yuri Gagarin, Lev Yashin, and Puskas
As our idols from when I was young
The thrill those names gave us, aided us, pushed us
To win street games, or be number one.

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 Yet that day in Calella, this hung over fella
Sorely stroking the hair of the dog
Witnessed real adulation, as a proud Catalan nation
Hailed the coming of Cruyff like their God!



60 kilometres down the coast from The Camp Nou, I was and it felt as if I was actually there. Local news coverage stirred up a frenzy like I’ve never witnessed since, both seeing and feeling the local reaction at first hand was mind-blowing. No wonder Cruyff has such an affinity to both the place and it’s wonderful people.

Go well and be lucky.



Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/calella-spain-summer-1973/