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Archive for April, 2002

Deportivo La Coruna

I don’t really know where to begin, but I can assure this was a trip not to be missed. I’ll start at the beginning.

We flew out to Coruna Monday morning and spent the day in the hot sunshine shopping, drinking and checking the town out. Very pretty, lots of bars, and good shops, but nothing too impressive to make it a recommended tourist destination. We headed to the stadium at 7 to see if we could get in to see the players train but security were not letting anyone in at all, and loads of teenage Spanish girls left without getting a glimpse of Becks. I, however, would not give up that easily and blagged my way through all the security pretending to be an assistant to David Meek who was going through the Press entrance. I walked along the touchline just as the players were coming out, and stopped to chat to most of them. Lots of inside gossip was being passed on by the players and English journos, and it was fantastic to get the chance to be with the players without anyone else there at all. Paddy Crerand pushed me onto the pitch to kick a few balls around, and I also had an interesting chat with Chief Executive Peter Kenyon, who could not answer sufficiently most of my questions regarding ticket prices, poor away allocations and gruelling pre-season tours.

Went out for a few drinks after training but had been up since 4am so had a reasonably early night. Woke up tuesday and headed into town where all the day trip coaches were arriving, by lunch time all the bars on the beach were full and the red army was in full voice. Unfortunately the weather was awful which was a shame considering the day before had been so good. After an afternoon of singing and drinking we went in to the stadium and the atmpshere built up.

The teams came onto the pitch and the atmosphere in the United end was fantastic. Deportivo, on the other hand, could not even sell their tickets and were quiet from start to finish. I was confident we could get a score draw which I would have been very happy with, and I could not believe how well we started outplaying them as if we were the home team. Beckham’s wonder goal, which I have not yet had the chance to see a replay of, was not against the run of play and sent the red army absolutely mad. When Ruud scored the second the atmosphere was already so good that it didn’t get any louder!

The second half should have been all about defending but instead we just carried on hitting them on the break and should have scored more than two. The defence was superb and, along with Barthez’s safe hands, we were rarely threatened at the back. It was hard to see how this team are many people’s favourites to win the tournament; they did not stand a chance against us the way we played. Every single player was superb but I want to single out Ronny Johnsen who to me was the best player on pitch. Credit also goes to Quinton Fortune who provved he CAN play against big sides.

The atmpshere was incredible, with all the usual classics being sung. ‘My old man’ and ‘follow, follow, follow’ rarely stopped being sung, and there was also the return of the City song which has new words and hand movements! To the tune of Yellow Submarine; “City’s coming up but theyre going down again…”

No one could have expected us to play as well as we did, and to keep a clean sheet also answered many critics. Along with a great time in the town over two days, this was one of the best Euro aways in my memory. Bring on the Scousers.

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