Tupi or not Tupi, that was the question for City fans ahead of Wednesday’s 2-1 victory for the team – a choice between a lengthy bus journey or cramming in more of the delights of Rio. The win was a fitting reward for those who didn’t make it back here until 2.30am, and especially those who leave today before City’s final match – nearby this time, fortunately – on Friday. City fans were also in fine voice at the Tupi game, with the Stanno song sung to compete with the Tupi Ultras. Listen here.
Every City fan seems to have been to the two obvious landmarks: Corcovado, the statue of Christ, and Sugar Loaf mountain. It seems extraordinary that when the original City squad arrived in 1914, the cable cars had already been running up and down the latter for two years!
Sunday evening’s game between Fluminense and Santos was a wonderful exhibition of pace and athleticism and some lenient refereeing, won with a stunning volley for Flu. Brazilian football might be at a bit of a low ebb (there are an awful lot of Neymar No 10 shirts still to shift) but the watching City players must have been impressed. What a pity the match wasn’t at the Maracana, due to some petty Fifa rules, where the crowd would have been at least 20,000. Incidentally, we learn that Maracana means ‘green parrot’.
On Tuesday, 35 City fans – split into five seven-a-side teams – took on a combination of ex-pats and locals. Having raced into a 2-0 lead, we were steadily overhauled but honour was satisfied in defeat and Roger Hamilton Kendall scored the goal of the tournament, chipping the keeper from the halfway line.
On the way to the game, our taxi driver surprised us by having a TV mounted on the dashboard. Still, it does while away the minutes between what must be the longest traffic light changes in the world. A personal highlight was stumbling on Brazil’s answer to the Buena Vista Social Club. The lead singer, a vast Barry White of a man, drew breath and sang for 55 minutes without pause. And the dancing in the Caroca de Gema club was definitely international class.
How well their time here has prepared the team for that though opening week of the season only time will tell, but it must have drawn them even tighter as a group. As for the rest of us, whenever we bump into each other again at some service station, or Stevenage railway station, I am sure talk will always turn to Brazil sooner or later. Let’s not leave it another 100 years.