Sunday 23th January 2019 ko 12.00
Tercera Divisio Grup 5
C.E. L’HOSPITALET 1 (Rodri 24p)
TERRASSA FC 1 (Arranz 61) Yaya sent off 78 (2nd bk)
Maybe its the groundhopper’s OCD, but there is something rather satisfying about riding the train all the way to end of the line. Here it was Barcelona’s metro, and the red line’s terminus of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat in the south-west of the city. On the face of it it was an odd place to have a terminus, in the middle of a car park, but the hospital is a major one, and the the football ground beyond has it’s own story to tell.
The first thing you’ll spot is the rugby ground to the Estadi Municipal’s right, this is Catalonia first and Spain second. You turn left to the stadium’s turnstiles, and immediately are struck by two things, firstly that the stadium is bigger than the football club’s needs, and then by the stand.
Its unusual in that the two tier affair only reaches two-thirds of the way along one touchline before swinging around one corner and finishing just beyond the goal. I looked at it, couldn’t work it out and am grateful to Andreas (that’s his sunglasses in the Lillestrom article) who spotted where we were and pointed out that it used to be the Estadi La Feixa Llarga and was one of two stadiums, built or remodeled in 1991 for the Barcelona Olympic Baseball competition a year later. Incidentally the other baseball stadium, Camp Municipal de Beisbol de Viladecans, predates the Olympics, was remodeled for the games, but the Viladecans Athletics baseball team do still play there.
After the games were over the L’Hospitalet stadium was reconfigured from 2,500 to 7,000 seats with what used to be the home plate now one corner of the pitch! It was a genuine “Penny drops” moment! Then Segunda B (third tier) L’Hospitalet were installed as anchor tenants. Now Robyn and I’s travels have seen us see former Olympic venues who’s post games use has been troubled. This seems to be a reasonably good fit, even if the ground is too big for L’Hospitalet’s needs it does give them plenty of room to expand into as and when they manage to escape the purely Catalan Tercera division they found themselves second in at kick off.
The visitors had brought a following but the 400 or so fans had sufficient space to get cold with the chill wind whistling through the concourses. It was a good thing that the ladies on duty at the food bar could shift chips and mayo at a stupendous rate, and the little cafe behind what used to be home plate had a permanent queue!
Unfortunately the game didn’t quite keep the crowd warm. It held the attention but without ever managing to enthrall. I suspect it was an off day for the hosts, but even so they converted a nailed-on penalty, but failed to hammer home the advantage. But even after Terrassa’s equaliser, the dismissal of Yaya should have given them the impetus to force a win. But somehow, perhaps in spite of themselves they were forced to settle for a point.
We were in no great rush to get to our next game, so retraced our steps back around the hospital to the metro station in the car park. Oddly as soon the stadium’s floodlights disappeared from plain sight there was nothing or noone to suggest a game had taken place. I knew that was unlikely to be the case that evening!