Rory Griffiths has written in with a nice tale of the time he experienced Maradona-frenzy in Argentina. Over to you, Rory:
“On Monday 28th November 2019, rumours ripped round Rosario, Argentina, that Diego Maradona and his team Gimnasia were in town. They were to stay overnight in Ros Tower hotel ahead of their clash against Newell’s Old Boys the following day.
“As it so happened, Ros Tower was just one block away from the apartment in which we were staying during our year abroad teaching and travelling around South America.
“Giddy at the chance of seeing Maradona, of being near his presence, I headed to the hotel. It was not hard to locate, for the expectant din could be heard from miles distant. A sea of red and black greeted me – thousands of Newell’s fans thronged round the temporary metal fencing that had been erected outside the hotel.
“For two hours, I witnessed a mesmeric spectacle unfold. The fans drank, they sang songs about Diego, they leapt in joy, they set off terrifying bangers and fireworks into the sky. All to the stomping rhythms of the Newell’s Old Boys’ percussion band. The anticipation grew into a crescendo when finally the Gimnasia team bus turned the corner and parked up. Chaos ensued.
“Of course, Maradona had once been a Newell’s Old Boys player. In the 1993-94 season, he racked up a grand total of five appearances. This was their rousing reception for him. God had touched down in their city. God made flesh, of both virtue and vice. He transcended the confines of the pitch, of time and space itself. No other player had touched so profoundly the hearts of all Argentinians.
“Diego stepped off the bus and saluted the frenzied fans, obscured by a swarm of paparazzi. He stepped into the hotel and disappeared. Gone but never forgotten.”