Friday, February 17, 2012

Sid Lowe: Madrid-Barca dispute over Spanish Cup final venue a divisive saga

Even when it's not about them it's about them. The big issue in Spain over the last week or so has been the final of the Copa del Rey: wherever you look, they're indulged in the same, familiar argument. Seeped in the same hatred and the same suspicion, it follows familiar lines -- the constant search to feel offended, to demonstrate the other side's moral inferiority. A playground argument: You started it, no you did. You're the bad guys, no you are. Everyone everywhere seems to be talking about the rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona and how that will play out at the Spanish Cup final. So what? So Real Madrid aren't in the final of the Copa del Rey, that's what. Athletic Bilbao are. And so -- and this is the killer -- are FC Barcelona. Two years ago, Athletic and Barcelona met at Mestalla, Valencia. There were 52,500 fans packed into the stadium; over 15,000 more were left outside; others were stuck at home. It was the first final that Athletic had been in since 1985 and its supporters were desperate to go. They tried anything to get hold of tickets. For thousands of them, it was not possible -- but they went to Valencia anyway, traveling in hope, determined to enjoy the atmosphere even if they could not get into the ground.

No comments: