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Barca 2001 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Evo   
Sunday, 21 January 2007

 

Something to whet the Barca appetite

 

     TRAINS PLANES AND AUTOMOBILES.

Cast: Evo (Peter Etherington), Bally (Colin Ball), LouLou (Louise Poole), Victor Meldrew (Neil Cassidy) Stevo The Cock-Ring Kid (Steven Etherington), Wilko (Gary Wilkins), Spliffman (Phil Bray), The Ugly Fan (John Sharrock) Dougal (Aaron Ramsey).

Extras: 5,000 Scousers and hosts of unusual Spaniards.

A last minute panic for tickets was averted when Morani Intelligence (my mate Ian Moran) hand delivered our match tickets at 6:30 on Tuesday morning.  Postman Fat is a pain in the arse sometimes but he does have his uses.  The club had told me the tickets were sent out on the Friday by first-class mail which was a load of absolute bollocks as they had only been franked on the Sunday which MI 38 (his waist size) had great pleasure in pointing out to me.

Having arranged to pick Lou and Colin up at the Jolly Miller at eight o'clock we dutifully set off from Skem at err…eight o'clock.  By the time we arrived at the Jolly on a cold, crisp morning Bally was freezing his bollocks off while Lou stood there, teeth chattering, her raspberry ripples doing a passable impersonation of Tommy Smith's footy studs.

Lou informed us that she had two desperately important letters which needed stamps to be posted: one a registration form to make sure she kept her job as Broadgreen Hospital's most pouting nurse, the other her application for her own seat at the Barca home leg.  She told us we had to remind her to post these before she left England at all costs.  "Okay will do Lou. No probs", us four lads assured her.

The journey down to Stansted was a dry one.  No doubt we were all contemplating the serious five-day drink that lay ahead of us.  A couple of stops at services for wee-wees where the boys did their duty and reminded the lovely pouting one of the need to post her letters.  Not a stamp to be had though so Lou would just have to post them at Stansted.

Nelly's a brilliant driver but is the ultimate road-rager.  Every fucker was getting it.  Mind you it's not just behind the wheel that he's like this.  Don't get me wrong, he's a great lad and a good laugh sometimes but he is the world's grouchiest man.  Nothing's ever anywhere near right for him.  He makes Victor Meldrew look like me and I'm as mellow as Mr. Mellow Mellow, the winner of the world's mellowest man competition.

Nelly's excellent driving and Bally's equally adept navigational skills meant that we were ahead of schedule and able to stop off at a pub called the Sow and Pigs in Hertfordshire.  Quite an appropriate name considering the occupants of Nelly's Binmobile.  Nelly had tidied the bin for the occasion.  The six-month old chips on the floor would do for our tea on the way home.  Nice pub, shit ale is the best way of describing the Lou and Lads drinking establishment.  Never mind, at least it broke the journey up.  "Don't forget those letters LouLou", I dutifully reminded our little nursy who still looked incredibly like Tommy Smith, even though the weather was now quite warm and sunny.  Maybe it had something to do with her proximity to Skem's top love god.  Stevo the cock-ring?  No, fuck off, me!  "No problem.  Stansted Evo", she assured me. For the rest of the journey Bally regaled us with the story of the Great Cambridge Grape Grab: a particularly hilarious tale of scallyship from the Road End on the way home from Ipswich circa 1978. Colin should write that up; funny as fuck! Makes me chuckle does Colin. Great lad he is. He hadn't been to a match of any description for ten years due to being what I would euphemistically call "not well". Colin puts it more bluntly and honestly, taking the piss out of himself just a tad by saying he was rocking in his chair for a lot of those years. Welcome back Colin, it's nice to have you back on board so to speak. As I say, great lad with many fine qualities but he does look like the villain from Thunderbirds! You know that one: built like a brick shithouse, big fat baldy head and a pair of eyebrows Dennis Healey would have been proud of! He looks an evil bastard but is a fuckin' big pussycat. He's that laid back he makes a Mexican village look stressed out!

When it comes to flying I make Denis Bergkamp look like Richard Branson.  "Not happy" is the best way I can describe me sitting in a big fuck off aeroplane that has no right to be in the air at 35,000 feet.  The cabin crew (didn't we used to call them stewardesses or hostesses or something, everything's so fuckin' "PC" these days!) are a right laugh aren't they?  I mean, they're all lovely looking and all that, you don't get picked for that job by being ugly, but they do take the piss.
"In the event of a crash, here's your oxygen mask, your life-jacket, your torch and your whistle."
Get to fuck will yer!  If we fuckin' crash we're all fuckin' dead!  Oh people will see me in the sea all right.  Yeah, no fuckin' problem 'cos the whistle will be up my arse along with the torch lighting up my body bits!  Come on, let's be honest, if you know the plane is about to crash would you be fuckin' bothered putting all that shit on?  You wouldn't even have time to shit yourself.
"Oh yeah, this fuckin' giant heap of metal with about 30 million gallons of fuckin' rocket fuel on board is about to hit the sea or the ground at like a million miles an hour and we're gonna survive 'cos we've got a nice whistle and a torch."
FUCK OFF!
Hardly anybody ever survives a plane crash.  If a train crashes, you've got a chance.  If a car crashes, you've got a chance.  If a ship hits a fuckin' iceberg you've got a chance, although don't tell Leonardo De Caprio that!  If an aeroplane hits something or starts falling out of the sky, say you're fuckin' prayers Buster!  The only time I ever felt safe flying was when I was on Concorde having won a trip on it on "Today's The Day" TV programme.  Not bragging you understand, just telling it the way it was.  Why did I feel safe?  Because in thirty years of supersonic flight Concorde had never had an accident.  A 100% safety record for the marvellous structures that are the Concordes.  What happened just a few short months later.  Yeah, that's right, see ya later my Anglo-French friend!  Stevo, on the other hand, absolutely loves flying.  The cunt should have had wings!  He's like a big kid when the plane takes off.  He says it's like the best roller-coaster ride of all time.  Fuckin' strange boy he is!  He was nearly fuckin' crying 'cos he didn't have a seat by the Tommy Trinder.  Mind you, being in the aisle seat wasn't the only reason he had a cob on.  I was in the middle of Stevo and the most amazingly beautiful Spanish girl I've ever seen.  Stevo had his phrasebook out (ooh err missus!) and had been feverishly practising his Spanish for "D'yer wanna see me cock-ring?" ever since the draw had been made.  And why not!  After all, half the population of Great Britain had been "treated" to the gruesome site of his Prince Albert so why should the Spaniards get away with it; or the French for that matter?  Stevo had put hours into practising his favourite chat up line in both languages but surprisingly they both came out as, "D'yer wanna see me cock-ring?"
"Oh no!" screamed our beloved Tommy Smith.  A quick check revealed that cock-ring was still in kecks.
"What's up Lou?" I asked Nursy.
"I didn't post the letters."
"Post them in France."  Bally to the rescue.
"Yeah, I'll do that.  Remind me though won't you lads?"
"Yeah, no problem", we all said in unison, although we could have said it in English.  Very old joke, me coat's on!

Conchita Martinez next to me was having none of my chat-up lines, "Got any Scouse in yer?  D'yer want some?"  "Get yer coat girl, you've pulled!" (I've got more chance of pulling a muscle than I have a bird!) and my personal favourite "Are yer married?  D'yer wanna be?"  Some daft bitch is gonna say yes one day and then I'll really be fucked!  She was though a Barca season-ticket holder but all attempts to procure her ticket were in vain as she was giving it to her brother (not in the Gary Neville sort of sense, you know what I mean!).

"Please fasten your seat-belts for landing."
Terror at 35 thousand feet!
Oh fuck, this is the part I hate most.  If it's gonna crash or anything at all goes wrong this is when it's gonna be.
"Yippee!" 
Fuck off Stevo!  I hope your cock-ring ends up in your arse!
Fuck me, where are we landing?  Conchita said Perpignan was a small airport but for fuck sake this made Liverpool look like O'Hare International, Chicago (the world's largest and busiest passenger airport).  Not just a story from Evo, it's an education.  What, it's mindless trivia?  Oh fuck off then. Leave me while I panic in peace.

Once our feet were safely on terra firma we set off to find our hotel.  We experienced the usual foreign taxi-driver rip-off.  The expected fare from airport to hotel of 100 francs was upped to 140 but I suppose it could have been worse.  The lads instantly cheered up though as soon as we entered the Hotel Mercure.  There, right before our very eyes, was the Golden Vagina of Perpignan!  The stairs and the gold coloured rails at either side looked just like a woman's thingy, even down to that funny bit at the top.  What do you call it?  The liquorice isn't it?  Much mirth was made of this by the lads and many photographs taken.  Lou stood and silently shook her head at the childishness of these grown men.  Meldrew, as usual, though was singularly unimpressed.  "Looks fuck all like a fanny!" was Nelly's synopsis of the situation.
"Looks near enough to me!"  I said, spread-eagled over the stairs.
"Yeah, but when was the last time you saw one?"
"Oh fuckin' sorry Casanova Meldrew!"
It was a good laugh though and had put us all in the mood for a night on the town.

Having shit, showered and shaved, well Lou didn't shave (AT LEAST I DON'T THINK SHE DID!) we headed for the hotel bar.  First time I'd ever seen newspapers on walking sticks!  What's that all about?  Bally, seasoned traveller that he is, pointed out to me that all foreign hotels do that so you don't do a Hoffman with the paper.  Yeah, like I wanna rob a French paper that I can't even understand!  There were two other Reds lads in the bar who had already sussed the town out.
"We've found a little Irish bar round the corner but there's fuck all else.  Everything shuts at eleven o'clock.  We'll meet you in there."
That was indeed bad news.
"We'd better hurry up then if we wanna get hammered!"  You can always count on Stevo to put the cultural argument.

Now I'm no Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson, Michael Palin, Alan Whicker or any of the other great travel writers of our time but if you go to Perpignan I suggest you take a book!  It was only nine o'clock on a lovely early spring evening but the place was virtually shut.  Nice enough place, don't get me wrong, but it isn't exactly the throbbing hub of European nightlife.  I didn't expect the good people of Perpignan to be singing and dancing in the street greeting our arrival with a carnival but I did think it would be livelier than this.

We found said Irish bar, O' Shannahannaflanagan's or something it was called.  Yeah, very Irish!  Well, it did sell Guinness.  I suppose that's all it takes nowadays for somewhere to advertise itself as "A traditional Irish bar."

Whose round is it?  Go 'ead Bally, get the ale in!
"Seventeen pound, fuckin' bastard fifty for five pints that was.  Three pound bastard fifty a pint!"  Colin's good at figures.
"Yeah but it is strong."  Lou at her most observant.
"Strong?  At that price I'd want it to offer me out!"  I spluttered as the golden liquid took the lining off my tonsils.
"Let's get outa this fuckin' shed!"  For once, Meldrew was right.
By this time Lou was involved in an animated conversation with half-a-dozen lads at the bar.  Not like  Lou that!  That girl should really make more of an effort to be outgoing towards people!
"Ee arr lads, I've found us another bar."  Lovely LouLou, we all love you!
It turned out one of the lads Lou had been talking to lived here.  The other lads were his mates who had come over from London to stay at his villa.  Nice!  He directed us to a bar called Tio Pepe's, which, he said, would sell us beer 'til we'd had enough.  Hmmm, could be a long night after all.

As I say, I'm no travel writer but this part of Perpignan seemed nice enough.  Tio Pepe's was set underneath a beautiful old castle. Phil, the lad from London/Perpignan introduced us to the bar owner, Tio.
"Look after these lads.  They're Scousers and they're all good drinkers."  Nice one Phil!
"Hiya Tio.  My name's Lou."  Lou's that forward she meets herself on the way back.  Cracking girl though!

We were soon quaffing great quantities of the local ale.  Reasonably priced too.  The full Montague of every Liverpool song there's ever been was soon being belted out for the delectation of the locals.  Really nice people they were too.  They're not quite sure whether they are, or want to be, French or Spanish but whatever, they were all sound with us.  It must be difficult for locals in a quiet European town to accept seeing a gang of drunken Englishmen (and one woman) enjoying themselves and making merry in their otherwise staid community.  But then again, we don't really class ourselves as Englishmen when we're abroad do we?  To me, we are Scousers; a breed apart.  Okay, don't get on my case.  I'm not being unpatriotic, anti- English (I've got an Auntie works for the gas board.  D'yer wanna meet 'er?) or anything but there were seven of us having an absolute ball and getting on fine with the locals without even a hint of trouble.  Now, take seven of your typical Eng-er-lund yobs and put them in the same position.  What would you have?  Probably mayhem.  I'm not saying everybody who follows England abroad is like that, of course I'm not, but why do some of these knob'eads feel the need to smash up a charming, quiet little traditional European town and play merry hell with the locals?  Pass.  It's a rhetorical question.  I don't know either.  I suppose you would have to be in their psyche and know their mentality, which, thank Christ, I and indeed most people don't.

"I've got a giraffe on the bar!"
"Have you Colin?  Too much of this strong foreign ale does strange things to you doesn't it?"
"No, I have Pete, honest!"
Fuck me, he's hallucinating!
Colin took me by the hand (that's 'cos he really likes me you see) and led me to the bar.
"Fuckin' 'ell, what's that?"
Stood on the bar was a tube about six foot high full of ale.  It must have held about ten pints and had a tap at the bottom.
"See, I told you I had a giraffe!"
The funniest sight concerning the giraffe was when one of the lads had his head underneath it, beer cascading into his gob.  Quality moment!
When the giraffe was finished Tio brought us two four-litre jugs of ale over, on the house.  What a guy!  Even Meldrew was into this!  He took his cap and mac off to teach the locals how to play killer pool.  Funny as fuck that!

A massive Catalonian flag on the wall was signed on behalf of us all by Bally.  I felt proud that these people had accepted our little group.  We'd drank with them, laughed with them, played pool with them and even danced with them, but that's another story eh LouLou!  What happens on tour stays on tour.  My arse!

On the way back to the Hotel Mercure we encountered, what must have been, the only nark in Perpignan.  This dick was determined to get beaten up.  If he had carried on this way with most other people then he would surely have got his wish.  I'm not sure what his gripe was but he was definitely put out about something.
"D'yer need a fuckin' visa to get on your planet?  You fuckin' knob'ead!"  Stevo's English didn't translate very well into French.
The lad eventually fucked off when approached by Bally.  Well wouldn't you when some big fucker of an ex Anny Road Ender with a head the size of an October cabbage comes lurching towards you?  There was no International Rescue for Perpignan Narky Knickers!

It was getting on for three o'clock when the Golden Vagina of Perpignan once again greeted us.  Sober, it was funny.  Pissed out of our minds, it was fuckin' hilarious!  The other two lads invited us to their room for a little light refreshment and a social smoke.  All right then, a bevy and a spliff.  The hotel manager knocked on the door shortly afterwards requesting us to keep the noise down.  I took this as my cue to leave.  Didn't want to be getting thrown out and sleeping on the street now did I?  Once settled in my bed, I sang myself to sleep with the stirring strains of "Poor Scouser Tommy".  A perfect start to what was definitely going to be a boss trip.

"Peter, I love you.  Not only will I marry you; I will bear you many children.  Come to me my darling and let me give you a night of great passion."
Conchita moved towards me, slipping off her flimsy dress as she did so.  Her glorious olive-skinned Mediterranean body was revealed to me.  The whiteness of her lace bra and panties made a stunning contrast against the duskiness of her skin.  Conchita unhooked her bra and let it slide gracefully down her long arms.  Her perfectly rounded breasts jutted out like two globes.  Perfectly centred were two large chocolate digestives.  Bang, smack in the middle sat Tommy Smith's footy studs.
"Evo, please take me now", Conchita whispered softly into my ear, almost whimpering in her passion.

"Dad.  Dad.  Dad!  It's ten-to-nine."
FUCK OFF STEVO!
FUCK OFF DREAM-MASTER!
"It's not ten-to-nine."
Quick glance at my watch.
"Fuck me, it's ten-to-nine."
We had thirty-five minutes to catch our train to Barca.
Shall I panic now or later?
No fuckin' time to panic.  Just get ready!
We checked out of the hotel "forgetting" to pay the mini-bar bill.  Perpignan train station was made with literally minutes to spare.

Once on the train Bally sang this charming little ditty to me, penned by the maddest man on the planet: Braces and Boots.

"Pardon me Pete you getting the Perpignanny choo choo?
Please don't fall on the track, you drunken baldy fat twat!

And pardon me Pete don't have a poo poo on the choo choo
Coz if the driver smells that, the fucking bastard will crash!

And pardon me Pete Id love to meet you by the choo choo
But ill be pissed in Loret, full of diarrhoea and sweat.

And pardon me Pete; hope you don't miss the fucking choo choo.
Just get a seat near the front, you big, fat baldy Skem cunt!"

The singing soon stopped however when the border guards got on at Cerbere.  Lou's, "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me" went well over the head of the Lee Van Cleef lookalike, which was just as well as he looked like he'd shoot his own grandmother, never mind a gang of piss-taking Scousers.  I just hoped he wouldn't catch up with the half-dozen or so lads who had bunked on the train.  He'd definitely shoot them!

The scenery wasn't quite what I expected.  Okay, I know, "Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically over the plains."  I did expect something slightly better though.  Stevo, however, noticed that all the trees in the forest either side of us were all in a straight line.  Hmmm….strange lad.  Must have been good stuff he was smoking last night!

"Did you post those letters LouLou?"
"Oh shit, no Evo, I forgot!"
"You're not gonna post those letters are you Lou?"
"I am Evo, honest.  I'll post them in Spain."
"If you post them before the match I'll show me arse in the Nou Camp!"
"I want a fuckin' incentive, not a threat!"


We arrived at Barcelona Sants with two hours to kill before we were allowed in to the Alberg Pere-Tarres youth hostel we were staying at.  As soon as we stepped out of the train station we were met by the wondrous sight of a beautiful terraced area with fountains, ponds and marvellous buildings, which looked like lighthouses.  It was supposed to be an Industrial Park of some sort.  It was like no other Industrial Park I'd ever seen though.  It truly was lovely to be sitting there in the warm midday sunshine, at peace with the world and looking forward to the great adventure we were to undertake tomorrow.  At times like this, life just couldn't get any better.  Even Meldrew had stopped moaning, or so I thought.
"Fuckin' 'ell it's too 'ot 'ere.  Can't we find any fuckin' shade?"
"You're in fuckin' Spain in April yer dick.  What the fuck d'yer expect?  Fuckin' snow?"  I think the others could tell I was a tad exasperated by Moanin' Meldrew.
"Take yer fuckin' 'at and coat off then Victor yer loon!"  Stevo tells it as it is!

In the far corner of the park was a massive slide.  Fuck me, I haven't been on one of them since Litherland Park 1965.  I'm having a go at that!  Who else?  Colin?  No, he's grown up since his Road End days.  Meldrew?  You 'avin' a laugh?  LouLou?  Definitely!  Anything for a giggle our Lou.  Stevo?  Most certainly!  Right up his street, or his park should I say.  Lou went first with Stevo behind her.  Careful of that ring thing Stevo; you never know where it might end up!  I don't think we'll be able to hire a JCB in Barcelona to dig it out.  Silly children were barelegged.  The wind caught Lou's skirt to give us a marvellous eyeful of her thundercrackers.  I'm sure I even saw Nelly smiling!  Burnt legs were the order of the day as well as a burnt arse for LouLou.    My offers of ministrations to her affected area were politely declined.  "Fuck off Evo, yer perv!"
Now I might have this wrong but I can't see what's perverted about a virile man such as myself looking at a dead fit young lady's arse.  Mind you, it was LouLou's arse.  Okay then, it's perverted!

Lou spent the short train journey from Sants to Mariana Cristina moaning about her arse.  I'd be moaning too if I had an arse like that!  The first person we saw as we stepped out of the station was fellow Forumite Nige.  He was on his way to the stadium to do the tour of the museum etc.  He informed us that Johnny Mac and APB were none too happy with their choice of accommodation and would probably want to move.  He also told us he would be taking his Shankly banner to the match tomorrow.  Have you seen the size of that monster?  It's absolutely fuckin' huge.  It really is boss though.  It's made out of scaffolding mesh or something.  All I know is it's as heavy as fuck!  Nice one Nige.

After much toing-and-froing we finally found our hotel.  Oh this looks nice!  Nice double-fronted glass doors entrance.  Nice and clean.  Looks fairly new.  Yes, we're sorted here!  The receptionist took one look at us and nearly had kittens!
"No, no.  Youth hostel is next door.  Please go!"
"Yeah, I thought that was too good to be true."  I think we all said it at once.

Having checked in at our proper "hotel" and signed the guest book "RAOTL ON TOUR 2001" we headed for the bedrooms and some much-needed kip before the night ahead.  I say bedroom but there wouldn't have been enough room to swing a gnat, never mind a cat, and that would have been if only one of us were sleeping in it.  As it was, the four lads were going to share this rabbit hutch in bunk beds I wouldn't have let my grandchildren sleep in, as they were so small.  LouLou was going to have to share her hamster cage with three American girls she had never met in her life!  Lou's the most gregarious person in the world.  She's a great girl and will get on with anybody but this was asking too much, even for her.  This wasn't good!  Sleep in the Barbie beds was virtually impossible so we decided to head out early.
"Don't forget everybody; we have to be in by three o'clock tomorrow morning or we won't get in."
"What d'yer mean we won't get in?"  Meldrew sounded concerned.
"They lock the place up at eleven o'clock.  A security guard will let you in on the hour at midnight, one o'clock, two o'clock and three o'clock but definitely will not let you in again after that until they open up again at eight o'clock."
"Ah yeah, but at least we'll be able to kip all day though won't we?" said Stevo, as always thinking about his body clock.
"No.  They shut the gaff between ten o'clock and three o'clock to clean it.  You have to get out."
"For fuck sake!  When CAN we get in?" said Colin, his October cabbage swelling to an unprecedented size.
"What do you expect for a tenner a night?"  LouLou putting the female spin on things.
"Well a fuckin' bit more than this actually."  Even Mr. Mellow was a bit annoyed.
"What a fuckin' yard!"
I could only disagree with Nelly on a technicality: to call this place a yard was to insult a yard - with a dog in it!

Before heading for the station and our ultimate destination of La Ramblas we stopped at a cracking little bar selling very cheap strong beer.  Things were looking better again.  I was quickly falling in love with Barcelona.  Mind you, where I'm concerned cities are like women: I fall in love with them at the drop of a hat ("Oh, I've dropped my hat.  Look, Evo's in love again").  I must say though, I've never been given the elbow by a city!  Barcelona was now definitely the second best city in the world.  What's the best?  Oh, come on.  There's only one answer to that: Liverpool of course!  Liverpool is a lovely city.  Not always lovely to look at I know but lovely in lots of other ways.  The people are second to none even though some of them do seem determined to give Scousers a bad name forever.  The night life is definitely the best of any city, resort or anything I've ever visited: London, Paris, Benidorm, Blackpool, Newcastle, Kos, Glasgow, Dublin, Rome and yes, even Perpignan!  There is a vibrancy, an expectancy, an urgency, something you can't see, touch or feel, an intangible sense, even mostly friendliness you won't get anywhere else in the world.  It also, of course, houses the greatest ever football club in the memory of man: MY club.  YOUR club.  OUR club!  Sorry, am I making all you exiles homesick?  Didn't mean to, but I do love this city.  My favourite woman?  Ah now, that WOULD be telling!

La Ramblas is a mad place.  It's so busy and bustling you don't know where to go or what to do next.  We needed drink and food.  So where was our first port of call?  A sex shop!  LouLou's super-dooper twelve-inch deluxe, triple-headed vibrator had worn out through overuse so she was after a new one.
"Can I have that nice fat tartan one on the top shelf please?"
"No, no senorita!  That eez my flask!"
"Oh sorry.  Can I have that nice big fat red one with the lovely long rubber attachment then that's standing on the floor in the corner by the door please?"
"Senorita, that eez is the fire extinguisher!"
Lou settled instead for the new improved fifteen-inch, rotating, ribbed super deluxe model with twelve interchangeable heads.
Stevo asked for a musical bell to go on his cock-ring. 
Colin's request was the most worrying though, "Have yer got any videos of rhino's shaggin'?"
Careful Bally!  You'll be back rocking in that chair before you know it.

We met a lad from Skem, Peter Ward, who is officially the world's jammiest man.  His wife Jill had booked a week's holiday for the two of them in Barcelona as a birthday surprise for him months ago, obviously totally unaware of UEFA Cup semi-final dates or the fact that we could actually be playing in Barca!  Nice one Peter.  Nice one Jill!  We all went for a meal to a boss restaurant.  When in Spain, eat like a Spaniard, so paella was the order of the day.  What did Meldrew have?  Steak and chips!  I'd never tasted paella before and to be honest I wouldn't be too fussed if I never tasted it again.  It was nice enough in a "get it down yer neck, I'm starvin'" sort of way but I've ate better.  I've ate worse too mind you, viz a viz my twenty-year love affair with kebabs, now sadly called off due to it fuckin' my guts up big time!  Plenty of that paella stuff mind though.  Mussels, squid, prawns, all kinds in it so I wasn't complaining.  Nelly on the other hand though was in top Meldrew form.
"This is fuckin' shit!  I'll get fuckin' foot and mouth off this fuckin' thing! The fuckin' thing's still alive!"
To be honest though it did look like something next door's cat had puked up!

"Right, we've been fed.  Let's get some real protein inside us.  Beer for my men: we ride at dawn!"  Why was everybody looking at me like I was a loony?  The Rock Café was bouncing when we got there.  Reds were arriving in their droves.  I spotted a couple of Ali G's crew from the Park: Mark and Dave.  Good gab with them.  Good lads; pity about Ali!  It wasn't long before I was giving the good patrons of the Rock Café a rousing rendition of "Liverbird".  This didn't go down too well with the management. 
"Please, can you keep the noise down?  People are trying to eat."
Never understood the reasoning behind why somebody singing would put people off their food!
"We only sing when yer eatin'!"
It worked in Yates's Wine Lodge, Derby but was definitely not going down too well at the Rock Café, Barcelona!  The hardest bouncer in Barca then repeated the request for me to stop singing.  I stopped singing!

We then went in search of an Irish bar where lots of Reds were supposed to be meeting.  O'Malleyfalleydalleydollymcginty's I think it was called.  Needless to say we didn't find it but on the way we paused for photos at the beautiful splendour that are the dancing water fountains in Catalonia Square.  They truly are an amazing sight.  On then to some tapas bars. Christ, it seems you can't get a bevy round here without getting a scran too!  You should see the shite they eat as well!  Spuds with tomato sauce and salad cream on!  What the fuck's that all about?  Olives and raw fish!  Jam butties and sausages!  And most disgusting of all: bull's bollocks in chilli sauce!  YUK, YUK, YUK!  Made Nelly's meal earlier on look Cordon Bleu!

By this time we were all getting well and truly arse'oled!  LouLou was still complaining about her burnt arse.
"Come on then Lou, let's 'ave a look!"
"LouLou, LouLou show us yer arse.  LouLou, show us yer arse!"
"Get yer arse out.  Get yer arse out.  Get yer arse out for the lads!"
"I'd walk a mile-and-a-half just to look at yer arse, oh LouLou!"
"Oh fuckin' 'ell!  Youse aren't gonna shut up 'til I show youse it are youse?"
With that, Lou, yes little Lou, lovely pouting Lou, turned around, whipped her skirt up over her head and laid bare before the massed ranks, not only of us and other Reds but also all the other inhabitants of various repute of Las Ramblas, the most wondrous sight of her pert, young bottom.  Like two little peaches they were either side of a Rigobert Song that must have been fuckin' strangling her.  There was though, one fuck off burn on her left cheek.  No wonder she'd been moaning.  Fuckin' go 'ead Lou!  Stevo got a boss photo of it.  A little musical bell went off somewhere round Stevo's nether regions.  Fuckin' go 'ead Stevo!
"WE LOVE YOU LOULOU, WE DO.  WE LOVE YOU LOULOU, WE DO.  WE LOVE YOU LOULOU, WE DO.  OHHHHHHH LOULOUWELOVEYOU!"

Two o'clock in the morning and we were gonna have to get off soon if we were to make it back to Colditz in time for curfew.  Walking past the Lawro bar (I'll let you know why in a minute) John Mushrow (King of the Paddock) came rushing out.
"Evo!  Ee ar Mark Lawrenson's in 'ere!"
"What, a Mark Lawrenson lookalike?"
"No, the real Mark Lawrenson!  Edgey's in 'ere too!"
That settled it then.  We were definitely going in here for more ale.  Alan Edge, as I'm sure you all know, is the author of a marvellous Liverpool book called "Faith Of Our Fathers".  I've only known him about eight or nine months but what a guy!  He's not only interesting; he's also funny as fuck.  He's as dry as a camel's minge!  Sober, he's funny.  Drunk, he's a fuckin' headcase, and boy was the Edgeman drunk!
"Evo, I love yer.  YER FUCKIN' GREAT.  Yer me bezzie mate.  Mark Lawrenson's 'ere."
If there's one thing I hate about Edgey it's that he's a smart fucker.  Here he was, absolutely fuckin' bladdered and he still looked like he'd stepped out of Burton's Tommy Trinder!
"I know Edgey.  I'm gonna talk to him now."
"He's all right yer know Pete.  He's been signing autographs and everything.  He didn't really bum those little boys."
I managed to extricate myself from Edgey's bear hug long enough to go over and tell Lawro that his finest moment for us was when he scored the equalising goal against Spurs in the Championship-clinching match of 1982.  Stevo disagreed saying it was his goal against Everton in the 5-0 "Rush scored four" match later the same year.  I know Lawro has been giving us some bad press recently (the remark about Fergie being a better manager than Paisley was well out of order) but he is a Liverpool legend who was a great player for us.  I prefer to remember that.  He also didn't have to spend time talking to a load of pissed-up blokes, some of whom were giving him quite a bit of stick, but he did and full credit to him for that. It didn't stop me smiling though when he left the bar to a rousing chorus of, "Who's up little boys?"

He had to do it didn't he?  He'd done it everywhere else so he was going to do it in Barca.  Right there on La Ramblas in front of hundreds of people Stevo got his cock-ring out!  It is, to be fair though, an impressive if somewhat horrible sight.  He's a very well endowed young man is our Steven!  His appendage looks like a petrol pump with a shower attachment on the end.  The forty or so of us Reds gathered in a little Square off La Ramblas gave it to him with both barrels.
"You can stick yer fuckin' cock-ring up yer arse!"
Stevo's retort though was brilliant.
"I CAN stick my fuckin' cock-ring up my arse!"
Quality Stevo!
A fantastic singysongy ensued.  Loads of banners and flags.  Everybody pissed-up and happily enjoying themselves.  After twenty minutes or so of this El Plod came and asked us, in a nice El Plod sort of way, to please be quiet and go back to our hotels as there were people trying to sleep.  Nice one El Plod.  They could see we were only enjoying ourselves and causing no trouble so kept a low profile rather than use the heavy-handed tactics we had seen on previous European trips.  Fair play to them for that.

"Come on, we'll have to make our way back now.  Twatface'll be locking us out."
"Nah, they won't lock us out."  Stevo was more confident than I was.
"Nah, even those twats won't see us sleepin' on the streets will they?"  Nelly at his most upbeat.
"Me and Nelly are stayin' out anyway."
"Stevo, how long d'yer wanna stay out?  It's nearly three o'clock now!"
"'Til everywhere's shut!"
Stevo had surprised me so far on this trip by NOT turning into DRUNKMAN.  Sure he was pissed-up and enjoying himself.  I'd had to have a word with him about taking things easy, as it would be a pity to fuck things up for himself by feeling too shit to enjoy himself tomorrow on the biggest day of his life.  Overall though he was fine.

Me, Colin and Lou got into a taxi where the driver was shouting animatedly, "No taxi, no taxi, no taxi!"
"What the fuckin' 'ell are yer on about?"  Bally's command of the Spanish language wasn't great.
"He eat, he sick", said El Cabbo pointing at me.
"Will I fuck be sick.  I've only had a packet of crisps!"
"No taxi, no taxi, no taxi!"
"Ah fuck yer then!"  LouLou speaks so nicely.
Colin gave him a mouthful, literally, before we got out of the cab.

We eventually got back to Stalag 7 at 3:30.  IT WAS LOCKED.  The shithole itself was actually open but the big fuck off fence around it was securely locked.  The fence must have been thirty feet high topped with fearsome looking spikes.  In a feat of bravery and athleticism not seen since the heyday of the great mountaineer Chris Bonnington, Bally was over.
"Come on Evo lad!"
"You ARE fuckin' jokin'!  No fuckin' way!"
LouLou was going to attempt it before the fact that I was stood directly underneath her put her off!
El Plod arrived.
"We're not breaking in, honest.  We're staying here.  Here are our documents."
Having satisfied Barca's finest that we weren't planning the greatest robbery since Man Utd beat us in the 1977 Cup Final they were happy to leave us alone.
El Securico Guardio arrived.  Ah good, he was going to let us in.  Where the fuck had he been though for the last ten minutes?
"You cannot come in.  We are locked."
"Yeah, I know you're locked but you've got the keys, let us in!"
"I will let this man out but I will not let you in.  We are locked.  Eight o'clock."
"What are we supposed to do, sleep on the streets?"  LouLou was nearly crying now.  So was I!
"Yes, you must", said El Girly Plod.  Fit as fuck she was!
I have the greatest respect for the Barcelona police.  They treated us really well while we there but the fact they were prepared to let three people sleep on the streets was a bit off to say the least
"Nothing else for it, said Bonnington, we'll have to find a nice shop doorway."

Barcelona's nice and warm in the afternoon but fuckin' freezin' at night!  The restaurant patio we were on offered little protection against the elements.  The three of us were all huddled together underneath a single blanket that Bonnington had managed to smuggle out of the hovel after his climbing expedition.

Now you might think that this report so far has been a LouLou piss-take fest.  You may be right in thinking that.  I think the world of her though.  She knows that.  So it was with a sense of sadness that Colin and me listened while Lou, drunk, tired, cold and hungry as she was, tearfully revealed her innermost thoughts to us.
"I'm twenty-six.  My life's going nowhere.  People think I'm sad 'cos I follow Liverpool everywhere.  Liverpool FC fill a void in my life."
Ah, poor LouLou.  Come 'ere while Uncle Evo puts his arm around you and tells you it's all right.
"Look Lou, you're young, a lovely looking girl.  You've got a good job.  You love everybody and everybody loves you.  You're dead pleasant.  You've got a great personality.  If people think you're sad for following Liverpool then that's their tough shit.  Don't EVER put yourself down.  You'll find too many people in this life only too willing to do that for you without doing it yourself.  You've got a brilliant life and a great future ahead of you."
"You're gonna put that on the Forum aren't you Evo?"
"Lou, you KNOW I'm gonna put that on the Forum."
"You're gonna take the piss outa me aren't you Evo?"
"Lou, you KNOW I'm gonna take the piss out of yer.  Be rude of me not to"
"Okay Evo.  Just make sure you do it in a nice way."
"LouLou, you KNOW I'll do it in a nice way.  I wouldn't do it any other way."
By the way; that was honestly NOT a piss-take.  That was genuine feeling for a beautiful person.
I think that sorted her.  Actually I think I'd either talked her, or she'd cried herself, to sleep.  I did though hear a little sobbing.  It was Colin!
"Fuckin' 'ell Evo, it was lovely that."
"Go to sleep Colin.  I love you too."

Christ, can LouLou snore!  It was like sleeping next to one of those rhinos that Bally's always on about!
Where was the mountaineer anyway?  He must have slipped away while me and Lou were asleep and gone to the Barcelona Hilton.

"LouLou, come on. It's seven o'clock.  Let's go and see if they'll let us in now."
The pair of us were absolutely bloody fuckin' freezin'!  I mean properly, like nearly hypothermia setting in, honest!  Walking together with the blanket wrapped around us, we must have looked a sad, pathetic sight to the early morning commuters of this wonderful city.

Even El Bastardo's twattiness must have crumbled when he saw us two Big Issue seller lookalikes.  If he could let us in an hour early why couldn't he have let us in four hours early?  Still, make the most of it; we were only going to have a maximum of three hours sleep.  Colin turned up.
"Fuckin' 'ell Colin, you fuckin' stink!  Where've yer been?"
"There was a pile of lobsters outside that restaurant so I slept on them."
Strange man!
Lou had been locked out of her room by the three Yanks (very nice) so she had to sleep on the floor in our room.  Stevo and Nelly came in shortly after eight o'clock.  They had got back at five o'clock and also been locked out and made to sleep in the street even though Stevo had done a Bally and climbed over.  Untapped mountain-climbing talent in our little group!

We were woken at ten o'clock by the hounds of hell trying to break the door down.  I've never heard such a fuckin' racket in my life!
"You must leave!  You must leave.  We have to clean!", screamed Cruella De Vile (sic).
"All right for fuck sake.  We're tryin' to get some fuckin' kip 'ere!"  Nelly could scream too.
"Is not possible to have extra person in room!" Cruella screamed at Lou
Well it is actually 'cos we've had one but we know what you mean.
"I was locked out of my room.", simpered LouLou.
"I wish to have word with you downstair."  Cruella was going to horsewhip Lou for her terrible sin!
I went into one of my best rants.
"Right, that's fuckin' it.  I'm fuckin' off from 'ere.  I've 'ad enough of this fuckin' dump.  If I have to pay a hundred pound a night for another hotel I'm fuckin' off from this fuckin' shithole.  The cunts fuckin' lock us out then fuckin' scream at us to fuck off when we've only had a couple of hours fuckin' kip.  The fuckin' yard.  I can't wait to get the fuck out of it!"  I'm not always Mr. Mellow.
"The decision's been made for you Evo.  They're throwin' us out. They're not too happy about the police being here last night."  Lou had just returned from her flogging.
"Oh yeah, I'm fuckin' ecstatic they were here.  I'm over the fuckin' Moon as well that they locked us out.  I'm fuckin' deliriously happy that we had to sleep on the fuckin' street!"
"She said we can have our money back."
"To get outta this fuckin' hole's a blessed relief: to get our money back is a fuckin' bonus!"
"I fuckin' don't believe it.  The fuckin' cunts have actually locked the fuckin' bog!", said Nelly, almost dancing in his desire for a piss.
WHAT A FUCKIN' YARD!
Nelly signed the guest book upon leaving, "DON'T STAY HERE!  FUCKIN' SHITHOLE!"
We got our money back and were about to make good our escape when fuckface came screaming at us and stopped us at the fence.
"Wait, I have news for you!"
Oh aye, what's that?  Jari Litmanen has passed a fitness test and is in line for a dramatic recall against his old club tonight?  Tony Blair has resigned due to the now out of control foot and mouth epidemic sweeping Great Britain?  Another man has landed on the moon in a top secret space mission?  Come on Cruella, for fuck sake, what is it?
"I HAVE CALLED THE POLICE!"
As a piece of news it wouldn't have made the leading story on News At Ten, a Trevor MacDonald special, World In Action or a banner headline on the front page of the Daily Telegraph.
"Oh for fuck sake, not plod again!" I was seriously pissed off now.
"Why, what have we done?"  A simple enough question from Lou.
"What have you done?  What have you done?"  Cruella screamed, slapping herself on the face at the same time.  Why was she doing that?  It must have fuckin' hurt.
"I have called the police.  I have your documents.  I have your details!"
"Yeah, we know that.  Now tell us what we've done."
Cruella then started to hit her face that hard she was about to knock herself out, if Nelly didn't knock her out first.  This woman was fuckin' mad!  Who said, "Aren't they all!"?
"Who done a piss on the wall?  Who done a piss on the wall?"  Cruella was taking the biggest canary fit in the memory of man!
"The fuckin' toilets were locked!" said Nelly the Pisser.
"Come on, let's just fuck off sharpish before the bizzies get 'ere!"  I'd fuckin' had enough of her now!

Colin did the biz for us at Sants, getting a hotel agency to book us into a hotel for thirty quid a night each.  It was the best thirty quid I've ever spent, apart from one night in Amsterdam a couple of years ago at Gary Earps' stag do, but that's another story!

The second wave arrived: Bray, Dougal, Sharrock and Wilko.
"You lot looked absolutely fucked!"  About as quick as a 44 up the Valley is Dougal
We explained to them what had happened and the need for them to be vigilant during the next two nights they were going to stay at Cruella's Shit Pit. 
"Fuckin thugs you are.  That's all yer are, fuckin' thugs!"  That was rich coming from Sharrock who was once banned from attending any football ground in England for five years.  He was wrongly done to though.  I was there and Sharrock was arrested by the bizzies just because he looks trouble. They were looking for somebody to nick and Sharrock is an obvious target.  It still didn't stop him having a Kemmy season ticket for those five years though!
"Fuckin' Skemheads, you can't take them anywhere."  Oh fuckin' hark at you, Mister fuckin' Scouse!  Wilko likes to think he's still a Scouser you see.  Ex-Skemhead, now Wigan Piehead.  Wilko gave his woolyness away at a recent quiz he attended.  He was asked: Name three Olympic athletic events that begin with TH.  Gary's answer: "Th'urdles, Th'igh jump and Th'ammer."
Speaking about pies: Did you see the recent survey that said Everton sell more pies than any other Premier League Club?  Made me chuckle that.  And THEY call US wools!
"Don't worry about it lads.  Just take it easy.  No worries."  Spliffman had spoken!  I've seen radio masts less high than Phil.  Does like a weed does Mr. Bray!

The hotel Bally had found us was quite a bit away from the centre of Barca in what looked like a bit of a seedy area but it was absolute bloody Paradise!  The local schools were just letting out as we got to the hotel.  The faces on the kids looking at Stevo were an absolute picture!  One girl, about ten years old, stood open-mouthed for about thirty seconds just staring at him before breaking into fits of laughter.  The girl then gathered all her friends together.  The memory of those young kids laughing and pointing at Stevo is one that will stay with me forever. Mind you, he did look like Ronald Macdonald: two-tone hair, part bright red and brown where his roots were showing, sleeveless T-shirt showing his tattooed arms, knee-length multi-coloured shorts, odd luminous socks, one pink the other green and a big pair of Doc Marten's on his enormous webs.  Stevo delighted the kids by bowing and waving to them.

The Hotel Catalonia was only three years old and was one of the best hotels I've ever stayed at.  A lovely big fat bed!  Stupendously glorious!  A boss two-hour long kip and we were ready to go and meet the other four dead-well-behaved lads plus the hundreds of other Reds we knew would be in Café Zurich.

Café Zurich was absolutely bouncing!  Flags, banners, horns and all other manner of paraphernalia were on show.  Never has our title of Red All Over The Land been so appropriate.  Pierre Head (Gary) from Paris introduced himself to me.  He was with his Dad, Stan, from  New York.  Ian from Madrid, whose Dad and brother, Stan and Ste, sit behind me at Anfield also introduced himself.  Tom Thumb (Alan) from the Forum came over to chat to me.  How do people who have never seen me before recognise me?  It must be the Buster Bloodvessel/George Daws lookalike!  Alan told me about him having had a 147 break at snooker; amazing, that lad should be a pro!  A pretty young thing had flown in from Portugal especially for the match: Gas and Lecky Gaby!  At first glance it looked as if Gaby had a Viking helmet on her head.  It was in fact a helmet with two giant plassy dicks on!  No jokes about John Mac and APB please!  Gaby was in fine form and told me of her being propositioned by a bloke in Marks and Spencers.  Stevo once copped off in Poundland but this was ridiculous!  Sound as a pound is Gaby and a very pretty young girl to boot. Will M was with Gaby. I'd never seen Will drunk before.  At this moment Will M, respected Forumite, was the drunkest man on the planet.  He was even drunker than DRUNKMAN!  Will had a lovely woollen jumper on he'd bought from M&S.  Really does know how to dress stylishly does Will!  Mister Melia had always told me he was into M&S but I thought he was talking about something else entirely, although I'm still suspicious about those marks on his wrists!  Will, drunk as he was, started a heart-thumping version of "We are the men from The Anfield Spion Kop".  Brilliant stuff that Will!  You should get drunk more often!  Or maybe not; I admire the passion in your singing but you're voice is shite.  Will M is to singing what King Herod was to baby-sitting!
 
If there were three hundred people in and around Café Zurich then LouLou must have talked to every one of them.  If ever a job comes up at Liverpool FC for a fan's ambassador or something like that then they should give it to Lou.

"LouLou, have yer posted those bloody letters yet?"
"No Evo, I'll definitely post them tomorrow."
"Lou, I know you wont.  You know you won't."
"I will Evo, honest.  If I don't I'll show me arse on the plane."
"Christ, I don't wanna see that again!  It's enough to put me off my cornflakes!"
"Fuck off Evo."
"Ah, yer know I love yer really LouLou."

The biggest pre-match singysongy in the memory of Liverpool Football Club went on for at least two hours.  Manuel El Barmano told us that normally they sell nine barrels of lager a day.  This afternoon alone they had sold thirty-five! 
"Manuel, another thirty-five barrels of lager after the match for my men: We ride at dawn!"
Go 'ead!  That'll go down in folklore along with the day last season when we drank Coventry's Sky Blue Tavern dry. A Phil Mitchell lookalike got the full treatment as did Manuel El Barmano, "Manuel, there's only one Manuel, there's only one Manuel, there's only one Manuel!"  Wilko and Bally gave us their full repertoire of Anny Road songs.  After giving them the Kop replies I joined in with them.  I had to admit that I would have liked to be a Road Ender but was too old.  I shouldn't have said that!  Café Zurich rocked to the strains of, "Too old for the Anny Road."  Brilliant stuff!  During a lull in the singing Wilko regaled us with "Tales of the Anny Road".  Stories of thieving and skulduggery from the 70's and 80's.  Gary really should write these up.  I like Wilko, not just because I've known him for twenty-five years and he's a good mate but because he's Red to the core.  He properly HATES Everton and Man U.  Not for Gary any of this "Politically Correct" shit; he hates them with a will and a passion!  I don't always agree with everything he says but I love his passion for LFC.  Phil was so high we were thinking of hiring a crane to get him back down.  Dougal was even funnier pissed than he is sober.  Sharrock looks even uglier drunk than he does sober.  He got his "Ugly Fan" tag from, believe it or not, none other than Jamie Redknapp!  John was giving Jamie stick nearly every game a couple of years ago from his seat in the Kemmy.  Jamie wrote in "Kop" magazine of the ugly fan giving him stick from the Kemmy.  You can imagine how much stick Sharrock got for that in Skem!  Not as much stick though as I'll get for the next story I'm about to tell you!

 I got propositioned myself in Café Zurich; only problem was it was by a fella!  This little Spanish geezer was truly in love with me!
"You have a beautiful head."  El Bendo was nearly orgasming as he stroked Evo's bald pate.
This lad was doing me no harm so I just indulged him.
"What eez your name?"
"Peter."
"That eez a beautiful name."
"What's yours then El Bendo?"
"Jesus."  He pronounced it "Hay Zeus" but I thought it good fun to call him Jesus, as in Christ.
"Nice to meet you Jesus.  This is my son Steven."
"This eez not your son.  You are not his Papa.  You are not old enough.  You look very young."
"Thank you for saying so Mister Christ but I certainly am Steven's Papa.  I'm having DNA tests done to make certain mind you!"
"Fuck off you baldy, fat twat!"  Stevo speaks so nicely to his father.
Stevo and me then did our party piece of standing side on head to head and putting his hair over my head.  That sent Jesus into paroxysms of laughter.
"You are so funny and so beautiful Peter."
Christ, Jesus was about to ask me to marry him soon!  Now that would be a miracle!  It's normally Stevo who attracts the attention of gay men.  This was definitely a first for me, honest!  I felt sorry for poor Jesus but had to tell him I wasn't interested in him in that way.  Poor guy must have been desperately hard up if he fancied me!  Mind you, it's the first time anybody's fancied me for about six years!  Jesus was typical of most Barca people: friendliness personified, with the obvious exception of Cruella De Vile! After chatting to him for about another ten minutes Jesus left to go and pull himself all over his bedroom.

The information from Liverpool Football Club was that they wanted us in the stadium at 6:30, over two-and-a-half hours before kick off.  Yeah okay!  We left Cafe Zurich at 7:30 to sample the delights of the bars near the Nou Camp.  Everywhere was absolutely teeming with Reds.  Once again the Barca supporters couldn't have been more friendly, they even attempted to join in with "Poor Scouser Tommy".  The one song of ours they did know was belted out by both sets of supporters: You'll Never Walk Alone reverberated around the bars near Nou Camp.  MARVELLOUS!

If the outside of Nou Camp Stadium was impressive it was as nothing compared to the inside.  Having climbed the 39,000 steps that led to the seats to say the sight took our breath away would be a lie as we had none left.  It was truly an astonishing sight.  Stevo just stood there, not saying a word, looking all around the stadium in awe-struck wonderment.  Ever since he was a little boy Stevo has wanted to go to the Nou Camp.  The place has always fascinated him in the same way that the Maracana stadium in Rio has always fascinated me after I first heard it housed over 200,000 people for the 1950 World Cup Final.  We had always talked of going to the Nou Camp to watch a match.  What would have seemed improbable just a few years ago was now eminently possible due to cheaper and easier European travel.  The fact that we were there to watch our own team was a dream and an ambition realised.  After five minutes or so of this my son turned and bear-hugged me in that wonderful way he does to show his affection for me.  He really does love his Pop.
"Thank you Dad."
"What for son?"
"For making me a Red."
"D'yer think yer 'ad a choice?"
"No."
"Why are you thanking me then?"
"Because I love you Dad."
"I love you son."
That's the way Stevo and me are together.  Sure we have our little spats and fallouts like any other father and son but it never lasts for long.  People often mistake us for mates.  Well I suppose he is my mate, my best mate, as well as my son.  We have also been mistaken, on more than one occasion, for a couple of gays.  We're always hugging and kissing each other, so people very often get the impression he is my rent boy.  Come off it, if I was gay I'd pick somebody better than that hairy Yeti!  Anyway, we're not father and son we're DAD AND LAD!  Maybe one day I'll get to the Maracana.
The atmosphere generated by the 5,000 or so Reds inside the Nou Camp was amazing.  Even more so since we were split into four different sections of the ground (why did they do that?) and a lot of the noise was lost, as we were uncovered.  If we had all been in one section the atmosphere would have been quadrupled.  I suppose that makes sense.  "You'll Never Walk Alone" before the kick off was of the "hair standing on end" variety.  Not my hair as I ain't got any but you know what I mean!

Just after kick off a mobile phone rang just behind me.
"Hello.  Who, Lisa?  Fuckin' 'ell, I didn't think it would be her.  I thought it would have been Dan.  Okay yeah, I'll see yer when I get back.  Ta ra.  It was Lisa who shot Phil Mitchell in Eastenders everybody!"
"Fuck off!"  Meldrew was not amused!  "How fuckin' sad do you have to be to get your tart to phone yer up when yer in the Nou Camp to tell yer who shot Phil fuckin' Mitchell.  I don't believe it."
He did actually say, "I don't believe it!"  Nelly, you're a fuckin' star!

People were looking at me funny and laughing.  What have I done?  Why are they pointing at me?  I found out at half time.
"Dad, are you wearing those glasses for a special reason?"
Well, okay, they were sunglasses but they were the only pair I could find before I left home.
"Nah, not really Stevo.  I just couldn't find any others.  Anyway I thought sunglasses would be quite appropriate seein' we're in Spain."
"Yeah, but why have they only got one lens in?"
For fuck sake!  I must have looked a right fuckin' dick.  I'd watched the match for the whole of the first half with one fuckin' lens, the other was inside my glasses case.  I hadn't even noticed.  No wonder every fucker was laughing at me.  I am a knob'ead!

As for the match itself: summed up in a word: SHITE!  Gerard had picked a team and tactics to do a job.  That job was done superbly well but it didn't make for great entertainment.  It wasn't pretty but it was very effective.  To limit the outstandingly gifted Barca attackers to only one shot on goal at their own ground for ninety minutes was no mean feat.  Our attacking efforts saw just one very good chance for Robbie but he headed the ball like he had a threepenny bit on his head and that was about it.  Better to have got the good result of a 0-0 draw than to have gone down gallantly say 2-3.  Man of the Match for me was Jamie Carragher.  What a season this lad's had!  He's played out of position all season yet has never complained even when he's been left out.  A thoroughly good pro, he inspires those around him with his attitude.

The bars around the stadium after the game were once again packed with Barca and Reds happily enjoying a bevy together.  The Barca fans didn't really understand what "Wine for my men: We ride at dawn" meant.  Ah, bollocks to the wine it's lager for me!  Aaron had split from the well-behaved crew to enjoy a bevy or ten with the Skem hooligans.  Sound lad is Aaron, as Irish as Guinness and he doesn't mind us calling him Dougal!  He does a great impression of, "Fuck me Peter!"  Don't ask, it's better you don't know!

At one o'clock I'd had enough and decided to head for "home" while the other lads made for La Ramblas.  I had a quick bevy in a bar near our hotel with a really nice guy from Bristol, Alan, and his young son Jordan.  Imagine being ten years old and watching your team take on Barcelona in the Nou Camp.  That lad must have been on cloud nine.  I was nicely tucked up in my lovely big fat bed by two o'clock, drunk, feeling ill and very tired but there was no happier bunny in Barca than me.

The rest of the hooligans came in at about seven o'clock.  Aaron had decided not to risk sleeping on the street and got his head down on our floor.  Tales of much debauchery on La Ramblas were rife.  Stevo had fallen asleep outside a bar. The other lads had made a "spliff" out of tissue paper and toothpicks and put it in Stevo's mouth.  I can imagine how funny that looked!  A lad from Skem, Richard, had thought he was getting the eye from a girl at the bar, had gone over and started necking on with her only to be told by Phil Tilley, "She's a prostitute yer daft bastard!  She's been lickin' lids all night!"  Classic!  I was glad when they all finally fell asleep, as I was feeling very unwell by now.

Everybody was up, showered, shit, shaved and ready for another day on the ale by twelve o'clock.  How do they do it?  I was feeling absolutely awful now.  Not only did I have that same horrible feeling in my stomach as I did when I was admitted to hospital but Vinny the bad gorilla had visited me during the night.  Have I ever told you about Vinny the bad gorilla and Christopher the good gorilla?  No?  Well you know you're going to hear it now don't you?  You know when you've had a night on the ale and you wake up and your head is full of bumps and bruises, your mouth feels like shit and you're aching all over, then you look in your pockets and the £100 or so you took out with you "just in case" is now down to about £2:50?  Well what's happened there is that Vinny the bad gorilla has broken in during the night, beaten you up while you're asleep, shit in your mouth and took nearly all your money out of your pocket, leaving you just that £2:50 so that you're not quite sure whether you've lost money or not.  When you wake up after a night on the ale and you feel brand new, no headache or anything, mouth feels dead fresh and you look in your pockets to find that you have £15 left of the £20 you took out last night because you were a little bit skint and couldn't afford any more than that.  Well that means that Christopher the good gorilla has broken in during the night, tucked you up and pulled the bedclothes right over you so you're nice and warm, gave you a kiss on the cheek goodnight, even brushed your teeth for you and put some money in your pocket.  Why Vinny and Christopher?  Well anybody I've ever known called Vinny has been a complete bastard!  There was one particularly nasty piece of work in my class at school called Vinny.  I can't reveal his surname, as he'd probably come round and shoot me if he ever found out!  On the other hand anybody I've ever known called Christopher has always been dead nice.  I mean, you just couldn't imagine Vinny Jones being called Christopher Jones now could you?

I felt a bit shitty and anti-social telling everybody else that I was staying in my room all day today but they were fine about it and understood.  I know my limitations now and three days on the ale far exceeded those limitations.  If I had spent a fourth consecutive day on the ale I would have been laid up in a Spanish hospital, absolutely no doubt about that!  It would have been just my luck too to have ended up in the Barcelona equivalent of Ward 5, Ormskirk Hospital and had Nurse El Twatto giving me a hard time.  My physical state obviously hadn't been helped by the fact that it was nearly four days since I had eaten properly.  I decided to go and seek out the gastronomic delights the local supermarket had to offer.  As I was walking past a house a couple of teenage lads were hanging out of the window. They spotted my Liverpool top.  After shouting "Barca, Barca, Barca!" at the top of their voices they then started singing "Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool!"  Amazingly friendly people!  I can think of one or two foreign cities where I would have been spat at or bottled from a top floor window.

As I've said before the Spaniards are great people but Christ they do eat some shite.  All I wanted was a nice packet of ham or a block of cheese say with some bread and marg.  I left El Tesco with a packet of Parmesan cheese flavour sausages (what's that all about!), a packet of cream cheese with two tubs of jam inside, four bread rolls, a few tomatoes and an orange the size of a pumpkin.  Back to my room to have a meal fit for a king (not)!  I cut open one of the rolls with the handy little plastic knife supplied free with the cream cheese.  For fuck sake!  The roll had chocolate on the inside.  Who the fuck on God's good earth eats chocolate fuckin' butties?  Having binned the chocolate rolls and the jam I made the most of my repast.  The sausages were absolutely fuckin' disgusting!  I mean Parmesan cheese alone smells like an unwashed bell end without flavouring fuckin' sausages with it!  I had to get them down my neck though as I was fuckin' starvin'.  I was about to round the meal off with the orange.  Fuckin 'ell!  YUK, YUK, YUK!  It was one of those fuckin' horrible blood oranges.  I now felt sicker than ever.

BBC World on the telly.  What a bonus that was for me!  Even better, the last episode of Michael Palin's "Pole to Pole" was on.  Brilliant!  Michael is my hero.  I was sort of stalking him for a while a couple of years ago but in a nice way.  I wrote to him saying how much I enjoyed his books and TV travel programmes.  He sent me a smashing letter back and a boss signed photo.  Dead nice of him that, he didn't have to do that.  I also found out where his office was and where he lived.  On one of my London weekends I went and just stood outside his office for about fifteen minutes.  There was a blue plaque on the outside wall commemorating the fact that Thomas Hardy was either born or had lived there, I can't remember which (more triv from Evo!).  I then went and stood outside his house for another fifteen minutes.  I didn't take any photos or anything, that would have been rude, I just wanted to see where he worked and lived.  All right call me a sad bastard.  "Evo, you're a sad bastard!"

The piss'eads had an early night for a change; 4:30 am they came in!  I was up at seven-thirty bright as a button ready for the day ahead and looking forward to getting back on the ale.  The others looked like they'd just been pulled out of the river!  At Sants we were informed that our connecting train at Cerbere to take us to Perpignan would be delayed by three hours due to industrial action by French rail workers.  They must have known we were coming.  Why do the French hate us?  I mean, we helped them out during the war and all that didn't we?  You'd think they'd be grateful and stop treating us like shit.

It was absolutely chocker on the train.  People were virtually standing on top of each other.  I thought of the horrible rail crashes we've had recently in this country and the one in Belgium.  There were far too many people on this train.  If it had crashed or there had been a fire there would have been many fatalities.  All of this was of no concern to Spliffman.  Phil was not only as high as a kite but was engaged in deep conversation with a beautiful Spanish girl who made my Conchita on the aeroplane look like Nora Batty or even David Batty!

Leaving the train at Cerbere I was put into a deep state of panic by the fact I couldn't find my passport.  The border guards definitely wanted to shoot me, I know that.  They were smiling wicked smiles as if to say, "Come on you Eenglish peeg.  We know you have not got your passport.  We are going to shoot you. Hahaha!"
After emptying the entire contents of my bag on to the platform I stymied the trigger-happy guards by eventually finding my passport…in my back pocket!  You're a daft bastard Evo!

What shall we do for three hours in Cerbere while we wait for our train?   I know, we'll go for a bevy!  Cerbere is a charming little seaside town.  It looked like the setting for one of those French resistance war films.  We found a bar and set about trying to drink Cerbere dry.  I kicked Wilko and Bally off on more "Tales of the Anny Road."  Tales of scallying, skulduggery, Blackbeard and "acquiring" sheepies from Boro' supporters.  They're all true too.  Thing is if you followed Liverpool away between say 1969-1989 you had to be at least prepared to have a go if trouble came your way.  The Anny Road Enders were more than prepared to meet these requirements and Wilko was in the front line of that.  I know: I have witnessed him in action.

I was the drunkest of our little crew but Sharrock wasn't far behind me.  On the mountainous trek back up the winding hill to the station we played Gestapo and French Resistance.  John was "Oberstamfuhrer Sharrockstamfritz while I was the French war hero, Pierre L'Evo.  John wouldn't play fair though.  I shot him from behind a doorway and he wouldn't be dead!  He's not my friend anymore!

Three hours and much bevy later we were on the train to Perpignan.  I don't know what it was but as soon as we stepped out of Perpignan train station on a lovely, warm and sunny day a windstorm of Mexican village proportions started.  See, even God hates us in France!   We had another three hours or so to wait for check-in time at the airport so it was on to another bar.  The Liverpool FC Supporters Perpignan Pool Championship started in earnest.  It was won, I think, by Phil but how he could even hold a cue never mind hit a ball with it is beyond me.

"LouLou: letters!"
"Yeah, I'll just finish this bevy and I'll post them.  No problem Evo."
Oh, I fuckin' give up!

Saw loads more Forumites in the airport, Nook and his crew etc.  After all the usual check-in, passport control, "Have you got any guns?" shite it was……Time for terror!  I didn't even have Conchita next to me this time to take my mind off it.  Stevo got the Tommy Trinder seat this time but it wasn't much use to him seeing as it was pitch black outside.

Landed safely and then it was time for one of the most hilarious parts of the trip: watching Dougal argue with one of Thomas Cook's finest over being as he said, "Fuckin' diddled" after changing francs and pesetas (or spuds as we called them) into pounds. Aaron's not really thick but he shouldn't really have been arguing with a lady with a big, fat calculator in front of her.

Why does it take so long to get out of Stansted airport?  Nearly two hours after landing we got out of the airport car park and were on our way to Mike Jones' house in Telford, where we were staying en route to Villa Park; me, Dougal, Bray, Sharrock and Wilko that was.  Lou and Stevo were going home to get a few hours kip before getting their respective lifts to VP: Stevo on the Maccamobile and LouLou on the Venga Bus.  I said fond farewells to Colin and Nelly who weren't going to Villa Park.  It really was brilliant seeing Bally again.  I had a boss laugh with him and a great trip all round.  Meldrew could win gold medals for Great Britain if moaning was an Olympic event but he's a good lad really: I'd be proud to call him my son.

We arrived at Mike's at about 4:00 am.  Mike already had about four of his other mates staying there so we were having to kip down on the floor with sleeping bags.  Mike was generous enough to make us all a cup of tea.
"Fuckin' 'ell Mike, this tea's shite!"  Sharrock was taking on Nelly's mantle.  "Fuck me, no wonder!  The milk's two months past it's sell-by date!"
It was too!
"I'm sorry I've got nothing in to eat", said our host.
"Just put the contents of that carton on to some bread and we'll have cheese butties", said Wilko, just  before Phil broke into tucks of weed-induced laughter.
We were all pissin' ourselves laughing before settling down to some much-needed shuteye.

About five o'clock I heard it: The Sharrock Shuffle.  He must have thought everybody was asleep.  I can't say I blame him though, I was contemplating giving it the old Evo hand jive myself!  Good lad is John but he shouldn't really have been pulling himself all over Mike's living room floor!

After a decent kip and the usual three S's we headed off for Villa Park at about eleven o'clock.  We were in the Fellow and Firkin by Aston University an hour later.  The place was already chocker with Reds and a few Wycombe fans.  The Skemheads on the Maccamobile: Stevo, Kav, Morgo, Bailey and Blanny caught up with us a little later. More singysongy!  How on earth did our throats take all this?  Ooh err missus!  It's one of the top away pubs in the country the F&F.  I've been there about half-a-dozen times now and never failed to enjoy myself.

Glad to say, the singing in the ground matched that in the pub.  Once again there were all manner of flags and banners on display.  I honestly think we are unique in this.  I'm not being biased but I can't see that any other club's fans would go to the lengths we do to make banners.  There really are some incredible ones around at the moment.  It makes me proud to say that a lot of those banners belong to RAOTL Forumites.  Nice one lads!

Once again we didn't play very well.  In fact we were piss-poor for most of the first half.  I remarked to Stevo that the way we were playing we would lose if Wycombe scored first, as I just couldn't see us getting into the game.  Things improved dramatically in the second half, especially when Stevie G was thrown into the fray.  Stevie's cross it was that was met by the head Of Emile Heskey to give us the blessed relief of the lead.  Can that lad head a ball or what?  Emile can head a ball harder than most players can kick it!  The game was seemingly wrapped up when Robbie curled a peach of a free-kick into the top corner.  You couldn't fault Wycombe's resolve or fighting spirit though nor that of their marvellous fans.  The team and the fans all deserved their goal that gave us a frantic, nail-biting last couple of minutes.  The final whistle blew: joy, and relief, unconfined!  A boss "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the end.

My famed shit sense of direction surfaced again trying to find my way back to the pub.  Even though I'd been there half-a-dozen times before, I got hopelessly lost.  You could put me anywhere in London and I'd find my way to anywhere I was going.  Put me anywhere else though, even in town, and I get lost.  Strange that isn't it?  It was a good job the lads didn't mind me being an hour late.  It had given time for the traffic to die down.  Lots more singysongy and bevvies before we left.  A couple of Wycombe fans standing at the bar were looking very dejected.  I went over to talk to them.  I didn't want to sound patronising to them but they were fine lads.  One of them was the absolute spit of ZZ Top.  I had a quick bevy with them before they left to the strains of, "ZZ top is a Wycombe Wanderers fan!"  We had to take the piss didn't we?  It would have been bad manners (no pun intended) not to.

The last leg of the trip saw us arriving at the Village Inn in Skem at about ten o'clock.  More of the same please Mr. Bennett!  Gary, ex Chester, Tranmere, Wigan, Wrexham and Southend player is a sound guy and doesn't mind us giving it large (which we certainly do) in his pub.  Sharrock only managed a couple more pints and Stevo also got off early to, in his own inimitable vernacular, "Bone me bird."   I left the Village about half-twelve when Bailey was in the process of looking for a bird of his own to bone!

The drama was not yet over.  I was locked out!  My daughter, Angela, who had been staying at my flat while I was away, had put a lock on that was decidedly dodgy and I hadn't used for about five years.  Thing is it will lock but not unlock.  An hour later and I was still kicking and banging the door, almost crying in my frustration.  I'd been away for the best part of six days.  I'd slept in a shithole of a bed, on the street and on the floor.  All I wanted was to get into my own bed and sleep like Rip Van Winkle.  International Rescue arrived in the shape of my next door neighbour Andy and his trusty screwdriver.  Bailey also turned up on the way home from his conquest smelling like a whore's handbag!
"Ee arr, what's all the fuckin' commotion Evo?  You can hear you fuckin' two by the Village!"
"Locked out Bails."
"For fuck sake, there's three Scousers 'ere, we're bound to be able to break in!"
Andy did his screwdriver trick.  I can't tell you any more than that in case Bobby the Burglar, the fuckin' lowlife scum who screwed my flat in 1992 is reading this.

LouLou's letters, having travelled through three countries and back again, were finally posted six days later than they should have been in the same place they should have been posted originally: in West Derby!  The lovely, pouting one didn't get her own seat for the home game against Barca but she does still have her job as Broadgreen's loveliest nurse.  Her arse is okay now too.  Just thought I'd share that with you.

My bed, my bed!  I sang myself to sleep to what is rapidly becoming my favourite Liverpool FC song:
Every other Satdee on me 'alf day off, it's off…to…..the match……. I………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Why am I in a canoe with Michael Palin and Conchita?  Bally, what are yer doin' shaggin' that rhinoceros?  Wilko, stop hitting Blackbeard with his truncheon, he'll take it off yer and batter yer!  Cruella de Vile: I'm gonna take this large pole and shove it right up yer fuckin' arse!  Sharrock, oh that's horrible.  Stop necking on with Jamie Redknapp!  Phil, giz a go of that ten foot spliff.  LouLou, put yer arse away!  Stevo, what on earth are yer gonna do with that eight-foot wide bell?  Aaron, stop strangling that Thomas Cook rep!  Nelly, give Victor Meldrew his hat and coat back!
All this was going on in front of 200,000 people at the Maracana.

Well, there you have it, the full, unexpurgated tale of our Barca/Wycombe trip.  Most of it was good, some of it was bad and just a little of it was god damn ugly!  I know it's been a bit rambling, not to mention a tad crude but that's Evo for you!  I've spent a lot of time, effort and yes, even energy on it in an effort to make it as enjoyable and entertaining as possible.  If people get as much enjoyment out of reading it as I did writing it then that's justification enough for me.


Thanks to Aaron and Nelly for driving: it's always appreciated lads, especially by us non-drivers.  Thanks to Gary for organising and co-ordinating the whole trip.  Thanks to Colin for pulling us out of the shit and getting us that boss hotel.  Thanks to LouLou for being LouLou.  Thanks to Stevo for not turning into DRUNKMAN and for being my son.  Thanks to everybody else for making this my most memorable European trip ever….so far.  Roll on Dortmund!

Liverpool Football Club are the way forward.

Peter Evo.

 

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