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MICHAEL OWEN

COLOMBIA | Saturday, 3 December 2005 | Views [1226]

On that fateful day we were nearly struck by the runaway bus the local football team, Barranquilla Junior were playing Cali. Junior Barranquilla are probably the best known and their stadium the most famous in Colombia. Carlos the upstairs neighbour asked me to go and take a look. An offer I took a rain check on, much to my regret, since Juniour stuffed Cali by three goals to two and it was by all accounts a thouroughly riveting affair. The trucks of armed police that I saw heading for the ground, looking like they were suppressing a coup d'etat rather than policing a soccer match were a little cause for concern. I wanted to take the young lads but the ladies were having none of it. They were muttering something about 'stampedes". I thought it was a game of footie rather than a running of the bulls. Carlos said the ladies were exaggerating (as usual) and that it just depends on which end you go to. Much like the West End or the Kop at Highfield Rd I suppose. Like so many other things in Colombia it just seems to be a matter of common sense and following the right pointers.
I certainly intend to go and check out a match while I'm here. Carlos presented me with an away strip shirt for the occaision so it would be churlish in the extreme not to take him up on the offer. On the day of the Cali game the whole town was jumping like a bucket full of beans and chilli. They really love their football here. Every radio and TV that can be is tuned to the match. Everyone turned out in the Junior colours of red and white.
The girl below is one of the cousins, Veronica.She is eighteen years old and she claims to be Juniors second to biggest fan, the number one biggest fan being her boyfriend. Despite this she is in love with Michael Owen and swoons at the very mention of his name. She has studied Colombian eco-science all year long like a good girl and hopes that Papa Noel will bring her a new England jersey with the name Owen emblazoned on the back. This so she can "more enthusiastically support the English ones at the World cup of the next year..."  SO if anyone out there know Michael Owen then please ask him to e-mail me for her address. One shirt can't be much for a little Colombian girl, especially considering I seem to recall the name Owen being on the score-sheet twice when we stuffed Colombia in this year's 'friendly'.

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