I enter into a hotel lobby to meet the star of the BBC 3 hit comedy series, Mongrels, Nelson the Fox. He has requested that I don’t reveal the name or location of the hotel, as it is place that he likes to frequent on his own or with friends, to unwind and enjoy a selection of cakes and tea. All I can reveal is that it is a five star hotel in the heart of central London, renowned for their afternoon beverages.
In the Summer of 1977, Argentina’s World Cup was one year away. Argentina as hosts, were condemned to Friendly matches in preparations for their World Cup. To test themselves against worthy European Competition that they would surely be facing, the Argentine Federation invited many European nations to play vs. the national team that summer. Argentina under the control of a Junta led by General Videla was beset by political problems and terrorism. There were questions about their ability to host the event. The authorities wanted to showcase these friendlies to display to the world, their competence and willingness to host the Main Event without any problems.
When Diego Armando Maradona joined Barcelona following the 1982 World Cup for a then world record transfer fee of £5m it was for most, a logical and evolutionary move for a player already deemed one of the best players in the world and one who's star was most definitely on the rise. Leaving his native Argentina and his boyhood heroes Boca Juniors for Catalunya this, as the world’s football media speculated, would prove to be the move that would elevate him to the very top of football’s table of the elite.
Rosell himself would go on to play the main role in another saga that was to go on to affect Barca’s mythical status in the eyes of the world. Well, actually his Presidency was never one that had the looks of one that was befitting of the head honcho at the Camp Nou. It was, for Rosell, an extremely challenging Presidency filled with scandal and tragedy. There was the public slanging match between him and club legend
© Words Johnny Proctor
FC Barcelona, La Blaugrana or simply, the universally accepted “ Barca “, the sporting entity that throughout most of its history has always proclaimed themselves quite literally as “ more than a club “, are no more. This was no sudden passing in the night either for Catalunya’s most famous institution, no accident.
If you were to come up with a footballing first eleven dedicated purely to the colourful, wonderful, edgy and slightly unhinged players ever to have played the beautiful game, one Jose Rene Higuita Zapata would undoubtedly find its way on to most lists. As certain that you would find a Cantona, an Edmundo or a Robin Friday, the colourful crazy Colombian wouldn’t be out of place in such company. He would find his way in the team,