IT was with some apprehension that I headed up by train to Madrid on Friday afternoon.
I didn’t know what to expect in the capital for the Champions League final.
I just knew tens of thousands of English fans were set to descend for the biggest game of the year, watched globally by an estimated 400 million viewers.
A Spurs fan since the age of six I had never been more excited, although I knew that getting a ticket was going to be extremely unlikely.
My contacts in Fleet Street and the establishment, including consul Charmaine Arbouin, came to nothing and with prices soaring up to €9,000 and reports of fakes, I decided to save my shekels, to coin a north London phrase.
What I hadn’t expected to find was so many fans, with an estimated 100,000 in Madrid, at least 10,000 of those expatriates, I would wager.
What was clear was how much fun and revelry was part of the deal.
I met Spurs fans from as far away as Australia and Mexico, as well as German and Norwegian fans, who arrived from Oslo and Frankfurt.
And, best of all, there was almost zero trouble.
Late on both Friday and Saturday night, thousands of rival fans full of booze showed that English hooliganism is hopefully a thing of the past.
But just being part of this great stream of humanity will be something I’ll never forget.
Maybe I am, after all, just like them.
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