"It's Getting Better All The Time"
"PJ Thum made me an honorary Boston RED"
- Barry Leeming REDS in Barce Epic
For more Barce Diary's?...."REDS Are Going To Barcelona"
Pt 1/7 It Cant Get No Worse!
Dateline Sat 22nd - Sun 23rd May 1999 We watched the FA Cup Final on TV here in Denmark & as we all know UNITED secured the Triple/Double beating Newcastle comfortably. The European Cup Final 1999 "Danish Reds on Tour" was myself, son Michael & Henrik/Leo from Denmark in the car to be driven door to door 2200 km from Aalborg - Barcelona.
We left Denmark around 22.00 hrs and drove all night stopping for breakfast South of Frankfurt at 6am. We were already halfway! We were consantly singing Andy Roberts "REDS are Going to Barcelona" many of you will have seen or heard the home made Cd I made in Spain :))
So far the journey was without hitch and we entered the "TOLL ROADS" of France early Sunday morning. Sunday early afternoon we were followed by 3 gendarme's and stopped for a routine check. They looked in the glove compartment of the car and found my 1 year old radar detector which had been lying there unused for a year. Suddenly BIG trouble!!!!
Confiscated the device, we were arrested, car,
passport, licence held and we were ordered to pay 5000 francs cash within
2 hours!! After protest and consultation with London we were advised to
pay, obtain a receipt and leave asap. Now we felt that we were being picked
on and as the detectors can be purchased in shops in Uk and Denmark then
we had commited no crime owning it??
IF WE HAD USED IT THEN MAYBE A HEAVY FINE WOULD HAVE BEEN OK.
Anyone who has been in France on a Sunday will know that it is more or less closed everywhere. The police would not take credit cards, checks or pesetas!! All 4 members of the car chipped in and luckily we had 5000 francs in cash. We were very fortunate to find a hotel who would exchange the Pesetas to Franc and were able to pay up 2 hours later. The police released us and we were flat broke! The fine which is 600 quid amounted to the same as the whole trip including hotel & travel had cost for 4 persons!!!!
I am contacting lawyers in Denmark/Uk to see if we have been fairly treated? I doubt it very much. The gendarmes were very unpleasant and impossible to discuss anything at all, they just enjoyed ruining our day. When we had driven from Denmark we had been singing but now the rest of the journey went quietly. This trip had cost 150 quid each including hotel and travel. French Police had no charged us over 600 quid for doing nothing!?
Take two was added July 2000 - fyi <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Take Two - Dateline Sat 10th June 2000 The day of my "50th birthday" a letter was posted from the French Embassy in Copenhagen. I woke late on the Saturday and was on my way to see Michael, my son, play for SSB in an important match. Checking the mailbox quickly I looked in a weird kind of way at that 'official envelope' from The French Embassy to M. Barry Leeming. I was late for the match and jumped in the car, I couldt resist not opening it, my only connection with France had been THAT fine in May 1999 - it couldn't be - could it?? To my utter amazement as I checked the postmark again [9th june 2000] lying there was cheque payable to me for 2097.51 kroner! That amounted to nearly 200 quid or 33% of the fine i received one year earlier! I was flabberghasted, inquisitive why, whilst happy all at the same time, certainly by the timing of it all! No explanation, the small card in the envelope said only - with the compliments of The French Embassy Denmark - fine in France on 25/5/99 - ok i recieved that fine on 23rd but who cares! Michael lost that football match - bad ref he said - as he left the pitch I showed him the envelope, cheered him up no end. Michael had been one of the three guys in the car that sunny day in france we will never forget! Last thought - dare I ask what those Gendarmes did with the remaining £400?? Its a damn good job we won the triple that season - it helped quite a bit! :))))) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Story resumed .....
Arrival at Calella "Hotel Miami" was 12 midnight 26 hrs after our departure from Aalborg including 2 hours with the French police.
Pt 2/7 "Concorde Cafe"
Dateline Monday 24th May
We were staying in Calella and the train in the morning took 1 hour and then we ready to soak up the atmosphere in Barcelona town center. Most REDS were meeting in Ramblas and the Hard Rock Cafe at Caluyna Square.
We started off walking in t-shirt and shorts down the hot road, mineral water in plastic bottle a must! Down to Hard Rock and with Gumbi cap "mounted" spotted the Mark Roberts and Peter Steyger band together with other world wide REDS. As soon as we walked in the shout was "GUMBI" from Mr Roberts [Ayelsbury] already well established at the bar and cameras and drinks started to flash by! Soon Boston Red PJ was to appear and the party was rolling. I was presented with an Official Boston RED Plough and Stars T-shirt for services rendered on the net. "Thanks guys" much appreciated - I have used the pic of this presentation as a header to this mutli media epic on the net :)
After a few drinks we all decided to pile into some taxi's to greet the team who would be arriving on Concorde that lunch time. We arranged a decent price in the Taxi's before we left, enabling the driver NOT to switch on the meter ;)) The drivers were trying to work out why the hell we wanted to go to the airport 2 days "before" the kick off! hehe... Leo in the front speaking fluent Spanish hmmmmmmm? said "EL TORO" and that caused a smile. Taxi drivers in Barce understand only 3 languages Spanish Spanish & Spanish.
Arriving at the airport there were REDS everywhere and we found out that the flight was delayed from the expected 13hr to 16hrs. There was a bar and plenty of tourists coming in, REDS were cheered, Bayern Supporters were booed but there were very FEW of them?? We saw loads of cameras in wait and a group of us were interviewed by Sky News which included Mark Roberts Pete Steyger and myself entertaining the camera crew with "REDS are going to Barcelona" [Mark & I were still wearing Gumbi hats]. There were loads of REDS to speak to and a couple near the bar explained that we had just missed "ERIC" who had come in on a normal flight and taken a taxi to town. Some had even shaken hands with the king and been photographed with him.
I had my "Pete Hargreaves model" disposable camera, I spotted a young chap with a flash microphone and digital tape recorder. I offered to swap my camera for the flash tape machine. He replied "OH I'm from Radio One could we please interview you?". So of course we agreed .... info on Manchester United, the website and Denmark etc. On hearing on our long trip he asked for my card and told me that Radio 5 would be in touch later that evening!
Two-three hours had gone by, we were informed that the the team would be picked up by bus from the plane and driven directly to the hotel but we remained patiently in belief that they would have to clear customs. After being patient for another 30 mins security tightened, there was a cordon of police in front of us and it was very apparent that our patience was to be rewarded!
We were able to photograph all the players up close and offer our good luck. Alex was especially happy and all the team looked relaxed. I flashed and tooked pics as many as possible, slapping many of the players shoulders wishing them good luck. The pics, if they come out, can be seen on the website version of this diary. If anyone looked downhearted it was Paul Scholes nearly all were smiling, Alex Teddy and Dwight showing most emotion. Peter was looking commanding that day and Becks Andy and Maysie esp looking cool. Raimond came through nearly on his own last of all, Phil Neville had been the first of the party to run the gauntlet of shouting REDS to the waiting bus. The bus waited for some 10-15 mins so we were able to walk round shouting our best wishes to Fergie and the players whilst they waited. Mutv were also with the party.
Michael,Barry,Pete,Leo - team bus
So now Henrik & Leo decided we would take a trip down to Nou Camp to check out the situation. We found all the local season ticket holders were selling their tickets on the black market from 50-170,000 pesetas [200-800 quid]. The typical Spanish family outing was Mum Grandad & the kids with Dad selling his 10-20 pound ticket for the match for what amounted to a months wages down there! Michael and I had tickets from Manchester costing 120 kr each. We chatted to a few touts and other locals to see if any would sell for the preferred price of well under the 200 quid they were asking! After some fun we decided to leave it and wandered back to town late and then on to the Hotel for some grub and more drink! :)))
The evening passed singing in the bars of Calella and the evening was only disturbed once by a call from Radio 5 explaining that I would be woken at 7.15 am to do a live interview the next morning! We were to sleep around 4 am (I think?) :))))))))
Pt 3/7 "Interviewed &
Dateline Tue 25th May
Tuesday woken early 715 am by Radio 5 They called back 20 mins later so I was able to wake up with a quick shower. 735am call back I was informed that I would be interviewed by Victoria [no NOT that one unfortunatley] The English Rugby captain was on before me (drugs episode) 7.40 am ........
"We now go to Barry Leeming in Barcelona to hear the latest situation on Manchester United in the CL Final"
Went something like this Victoria: Good morning Barry
"Good morning Victoria"
Listen to the Complete Interview here:
Real Audio Streaming audio Download rm - 576k OR Wave File (3meg)
Victoria: We hear that you have travelled from Scandinavia, how many supporters are there in Denmark? "We are the largest club branch outside UK with 36000 members of which 6000 are in Denmark itself. 500 members applied for tickets for the trip to Nou Camp but we were unable to supply any."
Victoria: Can you tell me the price of black market tickets in Barcelona? [Christ change of subject!] I told the truth: "Prices vary from 200-800 pounds down at Nou Camp yesterday it was possible to buy tickets if you were willing to pay 50.000 pesetas"
Victoria: Do you think Teddy will be playing? "I saw Teddy at the airport yesterday, he was smiling all over his face so I reckon he will play"
Victoria: How is the weather down there? " Well I am sitting on the balcony of my hotel room in bright sunshine right now, t-shirt aand shorts all day!"
Victoria: Thankyou very much enjoy the match!
Outside Hard Rock
So I was wide awake by now and after breakfast got the train down to Catlunya Square. 1st stop Hard Rock Cafe and there were Mark Roberts Pete Steyger + other REDS already on the binge! We called Paul Masterfan Hinson on the mobile to answer some questions but we got Paul Red Kelly Windridge instead! :)) Sorry Paul, he was getting ready for the trip to Sunny Spain! We carried on drinking and soon the phone would ring with Our Salford Lass Linda on the line. The Manchester Bus had arrived in Palmois and I quickly made arrangements to meet her + the son & heir later that evening, (I would drive up by car).
My mobile was busy, I remember calls from Richard Martin, Kevin Beard and Mike Dobbin to name a few. I called Stephen Degiorio who was flying out and he told me that I could meet him North of Calella in a Hotel that evening.
Richard Usher & Barry at "Michael Collins"
Next bar was to be Michael Collins in hope of meeting Richard and Mick. Difficult to find but made it by cab after speaking 5 languages to explain Irish Pub/Church/Michael Collins ...... Out of cab I phoned Richard for final directions which he gave me but unfortunatly he would not be there till later. I would then be heading north by car! No Mick either but a great atmosphere and the first T shirt I spotted was the famous NET REDS SHIRT, worn by Richard Usher of microsoft.com. This was the first time we had met so we had a long chat together with many other REDS from Ireland in the bar. I asked some of them to mail me and gave out a few <www.Red11.org> calling cards. The Kilkenny tasted jolly good! Richard Usher & I exchanged a few ideas for the mailing lists and website, thanks Richard! Suddenly there was a ticket going in the bar... 50.000 pesetas again! Sold to some punter who was pleased as punch.
Reds in Michael Collins ...
if this is you? Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Had to shoot off again, I had seen match programmes in the pub. They were selling them down at Nou camp today! I took a cab, there was little time, got hold of Mick who was busy in (meetings?) hmmmm. Promised to buy a couple of programs for him as well. Taxi driver was very good and I got him to drive me to the stall at the back of the stadium where I bought 8 programmes for 1000 pesetas each. I had promised Paul Hinson and others at home. There were 1000's of fans touts and police, I ignored them all, grabbed programmes and shot into the cab again, touts shouting "teecket?" "teecket!" all over the shop!!
The cabby got me to the station and I was back in Calella by 2000 hrs for dinner? - a plastic looking frozen pizza? Most of the food we had was cheap and good but the pizza is not recommended. I was tee-total by now and ready to drive at 2200hrs. The phone was ringing madly, Stephen had arrived (he had generously donated Michael and Bill McArthur's tickets), Linda was in Palmois and Kevin Berad was shagged out and asleep in Calella! We planned to meet Stephen and then drive up to Palmois OR THATS WHAT I THOUGHT!!!
I was now getting calls from Dave Menashe, Phil Murray and John Clarke from a car between Toulouse and Spain. They had nowhere to stay "leave it to me I said" I will ask at the Hotel Miami. Luckily the manager was at the desk and she told me she had a room for 3 for one night at 6-9 pesetas, can't remember the price exactly. This was cheap and the lads finished up staying 3-4 nights!
So Michael and I started off for the Stephen/Linda trip. Dave called, I filled him in on the booked accommodation - the 3 Californian's sounded pleased and they liked the Hotel name and dexided to come. BUT, where were they? "We are standing by our car in "Loret de Mar" they said. STAY THERE I will find you I said. The town was 3 miles ahead we were driving towards them on our way to Palmois. Sure enough there was the grey car on the main road as we entered Loret 10 mins later!! Mcdonald's, instructions to Calella and Hotel Miami + Henriks mobile tel. number so they could meet the other Mad Danes for drinks that evening :)) All was well, we would see them in the morning "Match Day".
Michael map reading, we called Stephen again and he told us to come to the bar on the beach at Hotel Aromar in La Platia some 10 km North of Loret and only 10 km South of Linda. Fine WE WOULD TAKE THE COAST ROAD.
This was the first mistake of the evening. We started driving from Loret to "Tossa de Mar" and then to "St Felio". It was of course dark and I commented to Michael that the road was getting very narrow and 100% bends first left then right. This gradually got worse and then there was a signpost 26km to Tossa?? The distance by crow flight path would be 2 km but we were on a "Helter Skelter" of a mountain road first up then down again!!
This was of course then repeated to the next town Felio. Reckon it was well past midnight and more like 1am when we made it to Stephen on that beach. I phoned Linda "no connection" we were shagged and joined in a one hour rendition of "Eric the King" + other ditties in the beach bar in Hotel Aromar. They were all well away in that bar and we decided at that point that it was too late to carry on out trip north so close but so late. We chatted to Stephen 1 hr and drove back arriving at Hotel Miami at 3am that morning. A well earned drink in the bar, Phil and John were still up, then bed ... could we sleep?
INFO: Stephen who we arranged
to meet the day after in the town center, is currently a season ticket
holder and at the tender age of 33 now went to the 1968 ECFINAL at the
age of THREE! A RECORD it must be?
His Dad took him, a REAL RED FAMILY!
Pt:4/7 "Barce Beat - Nou Camp Crush"
Dateline Wed 26th May European Cup Final Day [8.00am-1900hrs]
After going fairly late to bed [3am] the original plan of waking up at 7am had been slightly optimistic, I found myself in the shower at 8am feeling "very high" and excited. I had to be in the town center to meet webmaster Bill McArthur flying in late morning, so cooked English breakfast in the hotel was hurried. Dave, Phil and John had driven into Nou Camp early to secure match tickets! Phones started to ring early and it was confirmed that a list meet was to be at Hard Rock, Cataluna Square.
Walking down to the train in Calella the atmosphere was already electric and we sang our Andy Roberts "REDS Going to Barcelona" song. Train journey went without hitch, train packed with both REDS and a few leather-hosen [they look ridiculous]. Arriving at The Hard Rock a phone call confirmed Bill had landed as was in a taxi. Wearing Gumbi outfit now and then did not spark any success until the famous Mark Roberts appeared. Henrik went off to Nou Camp to secure a last minute ticket hopefully not too expensive. Bill then arrived, greetings + photos to commerorate Bill's long trek from Toronto via Manchester!
Richard & Bill with the Danish Flag
Outside the Hard Rock my phone rang again "give us a wave", it was Richard Martin standing on the other side of the same road! :)) Richard came over and we made him pose with our Danish Flag. This day was to be amazing, we were about to meet around 50 REDS from the International Mailing Lists and then were to attend the biggest football match possible, a day which could never be beaten.
left to right: Nick Appleton, Dave Fisher, Richard Cash, Phil Mills, Kevin Robinson, Tommy.
If I forget any names in these diaries I apologise
in advance I met too many people to remember them all. We wandered round
the square and enjoyed the build up called a few folks back home [my Dad]
so they could soak up the atmosphere too! Hard Rock opened and we took
a photo of 6/7 Cape Town Reds who you can see above.
Crowds were gathering and a queue formed outside the HR which would then remain all day long! I spoke to the manager again and explained that I had invited a couple of thousand REDS to his establishment on the internet, he did not believe me of course,
Leo,Barry,Mark,Linda + Ethel
Faces I remember at this point reads like a who's who of the Mailing lists including Linda Harvey + son & heir, Ethel Sleith, Paul Windridge, Alan Dobson + Paula, Richard Martin, PJ Thum, Mark Roberts, Pete Steyger, Roger Murney & Co, Paul Scully, Kerry Davies, Jon Leigh [cool glasses], Duncan Drasdo [hat and all], Kevin Beard, Steve fisher & Co, Dave Menashe, Phil and John, Boston Reds + SEAN HENNESSEY who was loaded with luggage - no prob Sean - good to meet you at last! We had a few beers and a chat folks coming and going all the time. Henrik turned up with his ticket, he had secured a top notch [50 quid] seat for 200 quid. Leo from "Danish REDS On Tour" party also purchased his ticket inside the HR for 40.000 pesetas, a bargain for him :))
Steve Fisher, <anyone know his name?> , Pete Steyger , Barry Leeming , Bill McArthur.
Now to find Stephen Degiorgio who had both Bill's ECF ticket. Stephen awas lost in Barce' so I asked him for a landmark and then drove to him in a taxi. I was then able to guide him back to the Hard Rock cafe. This took around 45mins but success! I found Stephen and we were able to join the RED troops again and take a few more pics. Stephen is one of the quieter members of the list but was looking forward to meeeting up with some of the famous names!
Bill & Stephen Meet up!
We were *ALL ONE BIG HAPPY RED FAMILY* that day and it was most certainly a day we will always remember!
So it was late afternoon and match time creeping up we decided to leave for Nou Camp! The metro at Catalunya was packed to the brim so we decided to walk one stop in the opposite direction "away" from the ground. It worked and we were able to catch the metro there. We were split up at this point [too many people]. I do remember being with my son Michael and Stephen all the way, other faces like Bill McArthur, Henrik and Leo from Denmark had disappeared, we were first to meet again AFTER the game!
Community singing in the Metro!
The atmoshere was incredible! We were all "HIGH UP IN THE SKY" and the community singing on the metro and walking to the ground all added to the perfect build up for ECF 99! The small negative point going into the ground was the police intervention making a cordon just North of the stadium stopping the main body of REDS from entering the Nou Camp complex. The idea was maybe to let a few in at a time but you could see in their faces that they were nervous and were not sure waht to do. I was held at the front of the cordon an we tried to break first left then right. Small amounts of Reds broke through but by now there were mounted police and a few batons flying to hold us back.
EVERYONE knew that this build up "caused by the police" was potentially dangerous. We eventually escaped by going left and slipping through but I was not at all happy by the way Policing held others back!
Once through we just wanted to get into the ground and this went considerably easy. We were frisked going into the ground, the police presence was still tight which meant that some poor RED in front of me who was pushing was pushed back out of the ground and ticket confiscated. He was in a terrible state but I just had to carry on my way in as I knew complaining would mean the asame treatment for myself.
WE WERE IN NOU CAMP :)))))))) Releif 60 mins + before kick off we arranged where to meet after the game and then I proceeded to clamber up the steps to the Nou Camp 3rd tier, 1st row seat 2!
As I walked out to my seat the enormity of the whole place HIT ME LIKE A HAMMER. No roof, REDS everywhere and just a f...n' beautiful sight.........
I was to witness the final of the European Cup featuring the greatest football team on earth Manchester United FC, it was Sir Matt's 90th birthday and all of 31 years after that first Busby Triumph. This was surely a dream???
"REDS Are Going To Barcelona"
Clambering up to the great heights of NOU CAMP, no problem with the physical side, as I came out onto the terracing, I have to say the site took my breath away. A feeling of greatness took over, the fact that I was there could not have been exchanged with any other location on earth at this precise moment in time!!!!
I found my excellent seat in Row 1 Seat 2 right plum in the middle of the scoreboard, 3rd tier UNITED end. I looked down beneth where I was sitting onto the 2nd tier to see all the UNITED reserves in smart MUFC suits sitting just below and lapping up the atmosphere. My phone rang, it was Stephen and my son Michael who could now see me from their position higher up the terrace! I sat down with complete strangers and chatted about the coming RED experience whilst soaking up the HOT Nou Camp atmosphere.
The line up seemed unnatural to me with Giggs on right and Becks placed in the middle? Many agreed! Still, Alex is the master right?? On the bench Teddy, Ole, David May and Wes Brown looked like names who could make their mark? Jonathen Greening a new RED and now involved in a ECFINAL, an absolute fairy tale.
The show on the pitch, the colourful girls, the music, all these happenings added to a fine CLF atmosphere and now we were ready for the football! ...............
In the 6th minute Jancker was brought down
just outside the area by Ronnie and even with five REDS in wall + a Bayern
screener, Basler managed his 4th goal in 9 ECL matches.
From my view point looking down Peter did not have the left corner covered and sure enough the ball sneaked in [we needed a man covering this corner]. Still, early days and only 0-1.
Match continued and my memories
of the first half are
1 Alex already off the bench urging the team on!
2 Becks marvellous all round play
3 Cole fighting in the box with 3 to 4 Germans, from a Phil Neville long throw, ball JUST WIDE!
4 German unlawfull heavy tackles on Beckham, nothing given by Italien ref.
5 Butt "NOT" too commanding in the middle [we needed Roy as we all know].
6 Short corners a waste?? [Becks long corners SIMPLY THE BEST]
7 Stam's GREAT covering :))
8 Cole/Yorke often marked out of game by 2 close Bayern defenders at a time!
9 Schmeichel's excellent, safe, play, marred only by the uncovered goal [scored in Schmikes corner].
10 Generally our play lacked the usual extreme power but on the other hand we had tried our best. I believe stats say there was 57% RED Possession in first half?
Half time, I went up for pint of water and a "was it a sausage?" hehe Atmosphere a little dampened by the scoreline, mobile phones out of commission, no lines, so was unable to call home. Sat and waited for the expected RED avalanche?
2nd HALF No changes Giggs still on right?? I had expected Teddy at this point. Still again we have to believe in Alex. UNITED were now to attack towards OUR end :)))) Watching closely I now hoped for some fire up front!!
Before those final few heavenly minutes here are my memories
1 More pressure, more RED corners :))
2 Andy and Dwight not happy with the Bayern negative play they became more and more irritated.
3 Cole taken out, still no free kick ????
4 Two German's take out Giggs on the run, Effenberg deservedly BOOKED .... at last!!
5 Waiting for the expected changes I was relieved to see Teddy on for Blomqvist 65mins. Teddy even held his hand up to wait for the imminent corner to be taken as he ran on!
6 Giggs went left now Becks out right, very good news I thought, with 20 mins left!
7 Andy overhead kick, danger??
8 Schmikes great save from running lob.
9 Bayern seemed to pick up & then looked certain to score, ... lob beat Peter & hit the post!
10 Butt across face of goal nobody there to knock it in!
11 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on for Andy as expected 15mins to go, Barry comment "He will score"
12 1st corner Solskjaer heads ON TARGET! Great stuff Ole we needed that!
13 Peter saves again, good keeping & kept us in the match, only 10 mins left
14 Bayern looked certain to score - hit the bar with over-head kick, still 0-1 we were lucky :) phew!!!!
15 5mins to go Bayern fans celebrating "their win??"
16 UNITED pressure Sols back heeled to Sheringham - shoots - saved by goalkeeper.
17 MORE RED PRESSURE the warning signs were there :))))
18 Ole Gunnar heads on target AGAIN! - saved *** OLE & TEDDY combined had made the difference & it showed ***
19 Bayern start changing players to waste time
20 Beckham powers through the pack into the penalty area *TREMENDOUS STRONG PLAY* how does he do it???
- it is now the 89/90th minute............
I remember distinctly looking up at that dreadfull scoreboard which read in those irritating THICK LETTERS Manchester United 0 - 1 Bayern Munchen 0.44 MINS **I commented to the guy on my left that there was now 1 min left and we were still losing to that daft early goal!
I never looked at the time on that scoreboard again but I reckon it was say 30-40 secs after "that comment" when all hell broke loose .......
:: THAT CORNER :: PETER COMING UP :: PETER
GETTING A SLIGHT TOUCH? :: GIGGS TO TEDDY :::
We all danced with complete strangers hugging, jumping and screaming!! I remember feeling in my heart that we would now go on to win the ECL but little was I to know HOW we would do it!
All I know is that we were still celebrating 70 secs later WHEN BEDLEM SHOOK 3RD TIER AND NOU CAMP's 60,000 REDS just exploded. I saw the attack and the corner, BUT I HAD NO IDEA WHO HAD SCORED AND NEITHER DID ANYONE ELSE THAT I ASKED DURING THE CELEBRATION!!!!!!! 2-1!!!!! We were ahead, we soon heard that it was OLE through the crowd chanting, we didn't really care who it was, the facts of life now were that the scoreline was Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich. This was not only unbelievable it just seemed quite impossible!!! We screamed and sang more and more and more. Never EVER will I or anyone in Barce that day forget it, I knew this was a one in a lifetime experience that will never-ever be repeated!
** CELEBRATION **
I think we finished celebrating 40-60 mins later, there were some fantastic moments all the players dancing with the cup, Teddy Sheringham's jig, the crowd calling for Keano and Scholesie, they appeared of course!
We cheered and sang as each United player lifted the cup......
...........whhhhhoooooooooooo!!!!! increasing crescendo's
The "new baked" song started
" Who put the ball in
the German's net
Who put the ball in the German's net
Who put the ball in the German's net
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! "
- ANYONE WHO WAS THERE WILL NEVER
EVER FORGET THIS NIGHT -
This was a new chapter in the fantastic History Of Manchester United Football club
More...... Outside the ground, I have no idea of the time, I was to meet up with my group at a pre-arranged point. Crossing outside the ground diagonally, I spotted Dr Mark, shirtless Paul Busby and Dr Dave Hitt crosssing in the opposite direction! They saw me as I called out, we made a quick huddle jumping up and down and shouting. This was just another fleeting moment to remember as we then went off in our intended directions!
I then met up with Stephen and Michael and we proceeded to the *Takin Over Of Barcelona!* ..... ALL NIGHT PARTY
Victory the final whistle blows at nou Camp!!!
"REDS Are Going
To Barcelona" Pt 6/7
"RAMBLAS by Night" [26/27th May 23.00-08.00hrs]
**Before you read this, sit down, relax, take a bevvie? then cast your mind back to 26th May 1999 - a date you & I will never ever forget -
Footnote: everything you read here happened, anyone who knows me will
vouch for that! ** I am writing this one month after it all happened, I am now on Summer Holiday but events from May are still very much inprinted in my mind!
We proceeded out of the stadium feeling high high high, myself, Bill, son Michael and Stephen. Bill now had to leave catching a coach to the airport.
IMAGINE THIS FOLKS: Bill McArthur had flown from Canada - Manchester - Barcelona arriving Wednesday very early - then after one marvellous day incl. winning the ECFinal - left Barcelona just 15hrs later to fly home to Toronto via Manchester & Stanstead! THAT IS FANATICAL SUPPORT! Well done Bill, I only wish you could have stayed for the all night party!
We then tried the Metro [closed] & taxi's, nothing was available so together with 1000's of other RED's proceeded the long trek to city center.
Now if any locals in Barcelona had been remotely enterprising they could have made an absolute fortune, we walked and walked - not knowing the direction - It was ages before the first sign of a bar selling beverages. There was no sign of transport, a bus service would have made more than a few bob, if it had been there! After one hour or more we had vey tired legs and to our relief managed to stop a cab and then drove the last stretch to Cataluna Square. Henrik from the Danish party was waiting outside Hard Rock so we we joined forces to celebrate.
The scenes were marvellous flags singing and REDS everywhere. First stop Hard Rock Cafe which was open and we ordered the obligatory Champagne. The bottle was RED "cool" and that liquid bubbly tasted like heaven! CHEERS!
Thought about "Michael Collins Pub" but at this point was outvoted for a walk down Ramblas. One of the first people I met was RED Kelly himself, match reporter from our website. We had a quick chat and jump up and down still not quite believing it had all happened! There were literally thousands and thousands all the way down Ramblas, beer flowed and time was irrelevant, in fact time stood still. The police were there in force but only in the background, quietly looking on as we sang and sang.
It was now that I purchased a couple of scarves one which now hangs in my office with the wording "EC FINAL MAY 1999 Bayern Munich v Manchester United" a fitting memory on the wall. The Danish TV crew were there doing interviews for a Danish Pete Schmikes Program. Henrik from "MUSC Scandinavia", still covered in RED flags, gave them a fine interview.
I would like to point out at this point that there were many Germans around and they were VERY friendly. Some wore our colours and the one's I could speak English to were relativley happy saying that although we had been "lucky?" that we had the best team in Europe! I questioned the lucky bit and pointed out that Manchester United are never beaten until the final whistle and that if they reckoned on more Bayern goals, hitting the postwas no excuse - only goals in the back of the net count!
I also told them that had we been 2-0 down at 89 mins then Ole would have scored two and we would have still won scoring 3 in the last 3 mins :))
QUOTE "Anything can happen when its the power of Manchester United Football Club that you are dealing with"
All night we sang "Who put the ball in the German's net"
[repeat 3 times]
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer"
Near the bottom end of Ramblas there was kind of high statue where a crowd had gathered. The pastime was climbing up to the top, sitting on the statue head then stripping off bollock naked to LOUD cheers. I was more worried about REDS falling down or the head actually breaking off but thankfully nowt' happened.
THEN a young, brave & attractive girl slowly clambered to the top! This brought loud cheering and she proceeds to tease slowly stripping off :) She finally stripped down to her black bra and and remained there for quite a while hands in the air a while all the boys screamed for more! We did not get more as she proceeded to climb down, it had been great entertainment though.
The Spanish police were there watching it all but as the proceedings were all jovial there was no intervention.
The bars were starting to close, I think it was 4am so we walked further on down to the bottom of Ramblas where we heard that there was a bar still open. We were still "hi hi hi" in a RED way and wandered into the bar ordering 3 beers The place was packed & I decided it was time for a little boys visit.
I wandered thro' a weird hole in the wall. Now, as I ventured towards the gents, I could not believe my eyes as I seemed to be in the middle of a Soho strip joint. Me being of sound mind carried on and eventually arrived back at the bar with a story to tell!
I was pretty inebriated at the time so I informed a friendly RED with a broad northern accent that the toilets were just like the Clubs up north where there was often entertaiment on the way to the loo. He did not believe me of course, I directed him to the hole in the wall then curiously he went off to check it out! Five to ten minutes later he came back with BIG open eyes and gave me a sneaky smile :)))
Explanation..... Apparantly the hole in the wall was a kind of private stage entrance to this strip joint at the back. Later we found that all the others were paying good entrance money for this sleasy club which we had unknowingly sneaked into for free hehehe....
We left that place an hour later it was now 6 am and they were starting the big clean up in the streets. At Catalunya there was a mass of RED bodies sleeping on benches, grass verges and any other suitable amenity. The first train home would be 8am so we wandered the streets for an hour befre catching the train 40 km North to the hotel in Calella and a loooong deserved kip! By this time we had stopped singing,,,,,
Final Part 7/7 "REDS in Barcelona" [ THE FNAL DAY & Trip Home ]
Thursday 27th May "Final Day - trip home"
Thursday morning, my kip lasted to mid-morning 2-3 hrs after I had come home. I was woken by Dave Menashe who had all the Spanish Newspapers with beautiful pics of all the happenings the night before! Was I dreaming?? NO I WASN'T - Dave was there and he woke me asking "if I realised that we had scored 2 goals in the 90th minute on Sir Matt's 90th birthday?" It must have been written on the wall. After a -half asleep- chat I went back to bed arranging a meet later that afternoon.
I slept on, woke up mid afternoon ready for breakfast and pack the car for the long trek back to Denmark. Looking over the balcony there was Mark Roberts asleep on a chair by the pool and a dirty great NOU-CAMP souvenir sign hanging on Dave & the US gang's balcony!
I hurriedly went down - own up, who has the pic of Mark asleep? - I would like to see the comedy photograph now! Mark was completely shagged as you can read in hid own version of the Barce Diary. I gave Mark a couple of souvenir pics I had with me from my PC at home then we all relaxed for an hour or two chatting about the day/night before.
Our plan was to drive before midnight so that we would be home Friday evening. We decided to join up with Dave & Comp for a farewell meal in Callela.
We found a restaurant with TV-Sky News and Paella. We saw the team and the triple on that famous bus tour of Manchester. We eat whilst we saw the climax of the bus-trip round Manchester, the arrival at the hall as Fergie came in with the European Cup, the atmosphere was tremendous as Alex and Peter spoke to the crowd. There we were in Spain a group of Danish/American REDS watching celebrations in Manchester. A fitting end to this tale.
So ended a perfect 5 days in Spain and we drove out of the country around 22-2300 hrs that night. The trip home was fairly smooth, unlike our experiences in France on the way down. We did not buy ANYTHING in France in the future I will make a point of steering clear of France unless UNITED play there someday! I remember a heavy storm in Germany with an amazing lightning show in the skies. North of Frankfurt we hit traffic for about 2-3 hrs we slowed to a gradual halt. Arrival in Denmark was early Sat and we had driven all of 30 hrs, it was 4am Sat morning, 7 days after we had left on a RED pilgrimage that would necer ever be forgotten.
- Memories are made of this -
THE END! "REDS in Barcelona"
Complete story on the net at http://red11.org/mufc/barcelona.htm
Here are some of the names of
36+ LIST REDS I met or
spoke to on this trip:
*** If your name is missing mail me at <email@example.com>
Danish Reds: Michael Leeming, Henrik DK, Leo DK
Stephen Degiorio, Mark Roberts, Linda Harvey, Ian "Son & Heir",
Mick Meade, Paul Windridge, Alan Dobson + Paula, Paul Scully, Duncan Drasdo, Mark Southee, Kerry Davies, Paul Busby, Kevin Beard, Jon Leigh [cool glasses], Mike Dobbin, Richard Usher, Dr Mark, Dr Dave Hitt
Canada: Bill McArthur, Roger, Ben & Dad Murney, Steve Fisher & Co Usa Peter Steyger, Dave Menashe, Phil Murray, John Clarke, PJ Thum, Sean Hennessey
SA: Ethel Sleith, Cape Town Reds [Nick Appleton, Dave Fisher, Richard Cash, Phil Mills, Kevin Robinson, Tommy.]