Result – Boca 0 Atletico 1
This was my first match in my world tour of football. Ez and the kids think the trip is to try and spend time as a family, little do they know they are just helping me along on my once in a lifetime football tour! It nearly didn’t happen but more to that later. I set myself a goal at the start of this trip to get to a football (soccer) game in every country (season schedules permitting). What better way to start than with one of the kings of South American football – Boca Juniors, former home of the great Maradona. It was a mission getting tickets to the game. I had read ‘on the line’ (dad joke) that is could be hard and costly. The stadium La Bombadera holds 49,000 people.
All tickets are taken by members, so I figured the only way to get a ticket would be as follows: –
- Change my name to Brettnando Massvez, become a citizen and then apply for a season ticket
- Learn Spanish, go to the game and try and buy one if any were being sold (also heard possibly a good way of getting ripped off)
- Buy a ticket through some sort of online agency which take ‘dodgy tour groups’.
I went for the latter.
I did some internet research and found the company www.landingpadba.ar as the most recommended. I got in contact with them. Their communication was excellent however they had no tickets left for the game. I started to as get desperate as a red headed stepchild. I then stumbled across www.footballpassion.ar and thought I’d give them a crack. They came back with a package that included stadium pick up and drop off, multi lingual guide, local snack and drink as well as a souvenir ball. I said sign me up. From what I had read it just said don’t wear red (colour of arch rival River Plate). Let’s just say their communication was a little lacking to the point that 4 hours before the game I didn’t really know if I would have a ticket or be picked up.
Finally pick up happened. To say the ‘guide’ was multilingual was like saying Cardinal George Pell would make the perfect grandfather. Let’s just say the only thing he could do in English was a handshake. But who really cares, I was on the way to the game. We zigzagged across the city picking up mostly Argentinians as well as two other Aussies and a couple of Swedes. Someone we picked up was wearing red, unfortunately I think we would be returning one short today. We each were handed a members ticket for the game. As the stadium is all members the only way to get a ticket is to have someone get their hands on a few from members who did not want to attend. Today, I was member number 10045-0 Lionel Messi (name has been changed for legal reasons).
We get to the stadium and because what we were doing was strictly illegal the bus parks in a back street and we are told by the guide (the Swede translated for me) not to walk in too big of a group and he would meet us back here after the game (his guiding had now concluded). Ok, so I strode proudly to the first check point, flashed my card and kept walking. I got to the actual gate and went to scan my card. Red light. Ok, try again, red light. The attendant looks at my card, tries again and then points me to a member’s type ticket caravan. Shit, I was screwed. I quickly raced back to the drop off point to see if I could see the guide. Of course not. I frantically searched outside the game whilst thinking my dream game had deserted me. I was as desperate as a red headed stepson on a first date but I then saw the local who met the bus when it parked, gave him my best ‘ticket no working’ in Spanish. Quick as a flash he pulled another one out of his pocket and gave it to me. I get the feeling that poor man’s Lionel Messi may not had been financial in 2016. (I later found out that the Aussie couple were not as lucky, tickets didn’t work and couldn’t find anyone for a replacement!
Inside the game I found my seat. It was a pretty awesome spot in platja media area.
The atmosphere was first rate. Think GWS vs Gold Coast Suns, Canberra Raiders Vs Roosters, Newcastle Jets vs Wellington. Yeah, this was nothing like that. The stadium is only really 3 sided, extremely steep and was absolutely buzzing the whole game. There was assigned seating but I got the feeling if someone happened to be in my seat I would be finding an alternate option. No booze inside the stadium just flat Pepsi, which I obviously partook in. Carlos Tevez and Fernando Gago were the stars in action for the first Boca home game of the year but both failed to fire. Tackles flew in thick and fast on the beautiful pitch. Atletico took a first half lead and were never pegged back. The crowd was amazing. As soon as Atletico scored the cheering, chanting just got louder. An Atletico red card was met with riot police entering the field to escort the player from the field. By the end of the game I was swearing in Spanish and one eyed Boca fan (this was due to me being hit by a flare) …joking, it wasn’t a Wanderers game!
Once the game was over I shuffled out hoping to meet up with the bus but to be honest I didn’t really care if I found it or not. I eventually found the bus and we trekked back across town. The ‘tour’ didn’t really come through with what had been promised. Local snack – No, multilingual guide – No, replica ball – No. I was more than happy just to see the game. I did get a cold beer on the way home.
Atmosphere – 9/10 (only not a 10 as Boca did not score)
Game Quality – 7/10
Match Food & Drinks – 3/10
Riot Police after game 10/10
All in all, a fantastic start to the world tour with an atmosphere that will be hard to match anywhere. Next stop will be Chile where I am trying to catch a game in Santiago…stay tuned.