Playing away

4th February 2000 at 00:00
James Robinson is a Year 9 pupil at Carre's grammar school. He recalls the thrills of a tour to Barcelona, where the 'barmy army' was in full voice.

Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp and I have a lot in common. We both play up front - admittedly not together - and we hate flying. Days before our flight to Barcelona, the airline went bankrupt, so I felt some relief when I stepped aboard our hastily arranged tour coach. In fact, the 24-hour journey was an excellent way to build team spirit.

Our three teams trained on a shale pitch i the mornings and faced Spanish opposition in the afternoons. We had to adapt to their quick passing style. Although the football was exciting, the team support summed up the tour for me.

We became the "barmy army" supporting any of our playing sides. I don't know what the Spanish made of "The Great Escape" being chanted on the terraces, but it gave our players a great boost.

It was a memorable tour for me. I needn't have worried that I study Latin instead of Spanish. Football is a universal language in itself.


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