It’s one of those quotes with a doubtful origin that has now become part of the lexicon of everyday conversation. “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes” is widely attributed Andy Warhol. Whether the aphorism was down to the icon of pop art or not however, a fifteen minute period in the career of Scottish football coach Ian Cathro may have been the trigger to his particular rise to fame.
A few years ago, I produced regular articles on La Liga for a website concentrating on Spanish football. I wrote this piece during a short break in Barcelona.
It just so happened that I was in Barcelona during the international break, so I thought it would be an opportunity to see how the Catalans, especially in this time of heightened talk of independence, viewed the Spanish national team. After all, sitting in a bar watching football, can’t be all bad, can it? That’s why the original title for this piece was “An Englishman in Catalunya watching Spain.” That was the theory, anyway.
It’s a game oft-painted with the vivid colours of a cultural conflict played out on a green sward, feeding the hungry passions of people separated by history, but united by desire for gaining an all too brief and surrogated sporting victory. Red and yellow to one side and blood and gold to the other, champions donned in white or claret and blue vie for victory, honour and acclaim. “Mes que un club!” Perhaps. More than a game? Probably. El Clasico is the game that must shout. Born in conflict, intensified by war, it’s the game that cannot forget the past. Continue reading →
That the race for the La Liga title is likely to be contested by the duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona, will come as little surprise, despite the triumph of Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid last term. With the World Cup now completed and the summer’s transfer spending unfolding, the big two are poised for a Titanic struggle for supremacy. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be looking at the the two footballing behemoths of the Iberian peninsula and assessing who will reign in Spain. This week, I’m beginning with a look at Barcelona. Continue reading →