Vandamme and the Manchester boys

From Hest

on Services to Barcelona â where I spend most of my time â via a â¨ã50 taxi to Gatwick airport. I bumped into Liam Austin on the Easyjet, a  26-year-old Australian who used to play for â¨Sydney United in AustraliaâÂÂs National Soccer â¨League. He now lives in Barcelona and is the main striker for The Celtic â¨Cross, a rival team of ours in the Barcelona International Football League.

Since 2006 IâÂÂve run a team called âÂÂManchester La  FiannaâÂÂ. Manchester United sorted us out with kits and La Fianna is the name of the bar which sponsorsâ¨us. Our squad is made up of players from 13 different countries, ranging from â¨the 37-year-old former captain of the Belize national team, to a⨠couple of hopeful young West Africans who are hoping to get legal papers to live in Spain.

Our captain is Hans Vandamme, a 24-year-old Belgian who represented his country at U16 and U18 level and was a professional with⨠Anderlecht for two years. Barcelona seems to attract footballers who want a change of scene and I do my utmost to â¨attract the best ones, after first explaining to them that they wonâÂÂt be â¨receiving a penny to play for us. â¨

We do alright â 4th out of 24th in our first season and weâÂÂre flying this year â but I think IâÂÂve bitten off more than I can chew this week. Without a league fixture, IâÂÂve accepted an⨠invitation to play against Strommen IF, a Norwegian third division team. They're finalising their pre-season plans with a â¨tour of Spain. We have a chain smoking 42-year-old Glaswegian centre-half.

At 34, IâÂÂm no Lionel Messi and IâÂÂm considering dropping myself from right-back to the bench tomorrow as IâÂÂve not trained properly this week. StrommenâÂÂs⨠website shows pictures of â¨hundreds of fans with flags and flares, we have 10 or so girls who watch us â¨because they fancy Hans.â¨

Don't think we're not taking this seriously though. IâÂÂve put the word around for â¨more support and 23 players have declared themselves fit for â¨selection. High-flying Espanyol have let us use their training ground for the match â¨and I had Strommen, who are staying up the coast in Lloret de Mar, scouted last night. IâÂÂll let you know how we do on Monday.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1