Wigan Warriors fans invade Barcelona ahead of Nou Camp clash
Wigan Warriors fans were in good spirits as they met with the players ahead of tomorrow's historic clash between Wigan and Catalans...
'Che-rry and white', they chanted. 'It's in our blood...'
And the fans next to them joined in, and the chorus grew, and suddenly a corner of the picture-perfect Placa Reial square - with its palm trees, fountain and stunning architecture - exploded in song.
Wigan fans turned out in force this afternoon to show their support for the Warriors ahead of the Nou Camp clash with Catalans.
Hundreds of them were at the square, soaking up the surreal atmosphere, bumping into old faces or making new links.
Around 4,000 have made, or are making, the trip for tomorrow's game. Who can blame them for flying out?
The club they've loved has given them memories to cherish and, whatever the result, this is an adventure few will forget.
Wigan are playing a Super League game at the Nou Camp - it would have sounded like the drunkest, most wildest, prediction just a few months ago.
The players did their bit, and more. They chatted and joked and posed for selfies. They're excited about the game, too.
They realise they are on the cusp of something special, something great. Something which will go down in history the same way the very mention of Bath and Brisbane and Milwaukee spark memories for those old enough to remember.
Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan was there. So, too, Robert Elstone, the chief executive of a Super League competition which will reap some of the rewards of Catalans' decision to move their home game across the border.
And yet, as you tip your hat to the Warriors - the away team, remember - you wonder if more could have been done to capitalise on this historic game.
Because as the Wigan players met with fans, the locals and the tourists - sipping their San Miguels or cradling their sangrias at the outside bars which hem the square - looked on curious.
They knew something was happening, they knew someone was in town, but they could be forgiven for not knowing what, or who.
There were no leaflets handed out. There were no signs.
For all of Barcelona's good work on social media - to millions of followers - there were no billboards or posters at the Nou Camp yesterday. No mention of the game in the city's newspapers.
Wigan's fans, like the players, did their bit. And as the gathering disbanded around 4pm, Cherry and White was spotted flecked among the crowds in every direction.
They will be back, tomorrow, in far greater numbers. And they can not wait for it. They have tickets to history in the making.