Nando bowled up to a security guard protecting a closed barricade. The noise of the fans suddenly doubled.
“Can’t you just let us in here,” he said.
“Sorry, it’s full,” said the security guard, folding his arms.
“Come on man, my Cuñao has come all the way over from London for this game.”
The security guard shook his head.
“Don’t worry Nando, I think our seats are over there anyway,” I said, pointing in the other direction as I glanced at the ticket again, completely unaware of what Nando was trying to wangle.
“Ah man, but this is my second home, how can you not let me in with the best football supporters in Spain?”
“Go on then,” said the security guard, letting us through.
That’s when I realised that we were never going to sit in our actual seats, nor was anyone by the looks of things. As we turned past the security guard I looked behind at the stand. I’d never seen such madness in all my life. It was absolutely insane. Red and white flags were waving everywhere. Young lads, mostly in their twenties, a few skinheads, a few topless, and were going mental, eager for war to begin. There were even quite a few ladies, shouting and singing, wearing their pink Sevilla shirts with pride.
I followed Nando, worried where we were going to sit. All the rows were full. We clambered through the crowd blocking the aisle. It was like traipsing through an audience at a concert to get to the front stage, pure chaos.
“Where are we going to sit?”
“Sit? No one sits at a derby you mariquita,” he said, laughing. “Here, we’ll stand here,” he said, nudging a couple of blokes out the way so we had room on a step in the aisle.
“This is mental,” I said, looking out over the stadium. The ground was full, the noise was deafening. The match had kicked off already but I couldn’t see where the ball was thanks to the flags waving about.
Then there was a roar and I felt a shove in my back.
“Gooaaalllll,” Nando shouted as we both got pushed, along with everyone else, down the aisle. I don’t know how we managed to stay on our feet, but we did. Sevilla were one up within two minutes and the fans were going crazy.
“Did you see the goal,” I asked once we’d got back to our position, stuck in the middle of the aisle, hugging men I’d never seen before.
“No, I think it was Reyes,” he said. Scum, I thought, ex-gunner, but I’ll let him off on that occasion.
I peered along the rows next to me. Everyone was standing on their chairs, no one was sitting, all singing and shouting. Most people looked off their face, either drunk or stoned. The was a constant smell of marijuana in the air. A lot of the lads looked like they were on stronger stuff as well, gurning and breathing heavily.
I felt another push on my back as I tumbled forward, again trying desperately to stay on my feet.
“Dos, Cuñao, dos cero,” shouted Nando hugging me as we stood upright again.
It was two nil already, within five minutes and I’d missed both goals. It didn’t matter though, history was being made and I was there to witness it.
Thinking back, the whole of the first half was insane. Every time there was a goal, (four in the first half), Nando and I rocked forward, fighting to stay on our feet. I tried to imagine such craziness at a Premiership game, no chance. Everyone has to be in their designated seat, no standing up for long periods, and definitely no smoking gear in the stands.
For someone who finds it difficult to support another team, by the end of the first half I’d kicked up an affection for Sevilla F.C. and the passionate fans.
I was expecting the singing to stop during half time, but that was a foolish assumption, if anything the volume went up. The chanting continued, only with mouths full as Los Biris chomped on ham or tortilla sandwiches, probably prepared by their mums.
We changed sides of the stand so we could get a better view away from so many flags because between us we’d only seen one of the goals.
The second half was a lot more chilled, in terms of goals, but the chanting and singing continued. Unfortunately, I was right next to a nutter who screamed abuse at the Betis fans for the entire match. I won’t publish what he said for fear of my blog being reported, but there were no songs of ‘you’re not singing any more,’ or ‘you’re not very good.’ I even learnt a few new swear words myself.
The best part of the game though, was the bond I struck up with my Cuñao.
“This guy is a Tottenham supporter,” Nando said to the bloke next to me, who shook my hand. “It’s his first derby, he’s a legend. A new lucky star,” he added right after the fifth goal.
We have always been close, but the fact that I was at the historical game where Sevilla thrashed Betis on his birthday, mixed in with Los Biris, shouting and singing with a scarf tied round my head proved to him my devotion to living in Sevilla and making an effort to learn more about their culture.
“You’re an absolute legend,” he said, hugging me as I took out my keys to jingle, copying the masses in their taunt at the Betis fans telling them to go home – putting it politely.
When the final whistle blew it was 5 v 1. Sevilla hadn’t won by that much in over fifty years. It was a classic match and a great first derby. On the way home we popped into a bar and grabbed a final victory drink.
“We need to keep these glasses,” Nando said, once we’d finished. “You have witnessed history. What a game!”
After a couple more we stumbled home, arm in arm, singing Sevilla songs and laughing about the result. And to think, twelve hours before I never even expected to be going to the game. As I said, the best moments in life are spontaneous!