After four months of spreading the CTFC gospel around the globe it was time for me to head home, but first I had the small matter of India, the last leg of my adventure.
I spent the majority of my time in the wealthiest state of Goa and little did I know, but the place was football mad. It was reaching the business end of the Indian Super League season, with the top four teams going into a Play-Off style competition. FC Goa had finished top of the table.
I had visited the same beach bar every day on Anjuna beach called Aggies, and like the rest of the Goan bars, restaurants and cafes I went to, Aggies displayed the orange flag of FC Goa blowing in the wind above the sunbeds in front of the hut.
I became friendly with the family who owned the cafe and began speaking to Aggie himself, who told me how the introduction of the ISL had sent the state of Goa into football mania. Unlike the rest of the country where cricket dominates, football is Goa’s official sport and the blue and orange colours of the local team is branded all over the place.
I watched the semis at a local sports bar, where FC Goa overcame a 1-0 away leg deficit to win 3-0 at home to Delhi Dynamos, managed by Roberto Carlos, and book their place in the final. As soon as the whistle went there were street parties and cars driving past blaring out the FC Goa song and tooting the horn.
It was a bit like what I’d imagine England to be like if we ever won the World Cup.
Aggie had been to England before, but the only football he saw was as the home of the Premier League’s two Merseyside clubs, Liverpool and Everton. However his family have another footballing trip to England in their sites, and the plan next is to venture down south to the capital, with a stop at the Checkatrade.com Stadium to see the Reds a priority.
That’s it for me and Roaming Red, back to rainy England to cheer on the Reds at home to Cambridge United on Saturday, COYR!