Barracas Central, Estadio Claudio Fabián Tapia

The Truckers of Barracas are a small club in the South of Buenos Aires, formed by a truck driver in 1904 have had a largely modest history apart from some bright spots in the 1930’s. They now find themselves in the second tier after winning Primera B in 2018/19, their highest league position since the 30’s. Historically, Central have bounced around the lower divisions in Argentina for decades. Promotions bring relegations, little runs up the leagues were followed by falls down them. In reality, things aren’t helped for Los Camioneros by living in the shadow of Huracan, they are the also rans of the neighbourhood, the little brother, in a rough part of town. What do you do when you’re dealt a bad hand? Name your stadium after an ex-player, who just happens to be the head of the AFA.

We were driven by a slightly bemused uber driver to Barracas, “futbol?!” he queried before the usual Argentine weaving drive to the ground. He happily pointed out the ornate art deco façade of Huracan’s Estadio Tomas Adolfo Duco while making the way to the ground. As we were dropped at the entrance to the ground I managed to ask a copper the usual “Entradas?” question. I was really starting to feel fluent in this area. We were pointed to small hole in the wall where I purchased a ticket for Dad and I. Oddly I was handed 4 tickets and 2 wristbands for around £16 all in. Even odder, I turned round to Dad to see him talking to one of the most un-Argentine looking men I’ve ever seen. Owen, fresh from the Patagonian wilderness had made his way to Buenos Aires for two weeks of groundhopping. Complete with Welsh FA tracksuit bottoms and Ceredigion accent, Owen was Aberystwyth and Wales home and away. To put this into context, there was between 200 and 300 people at this game.

We made our way into the ground, popped to the bar for a water (still no bloody beer) and then plonked ourselves down in the stand. San Martin were today’s visitors, and it was a big match for Central hovering just above the relegation zone. As relaxed in bucket seats with Owen stuck between the pair of us shooting the shit, Barracas took an early lead with a well worked goalmouth scramble (it genuinely was both). Despite being a small ground, and a small attendance the atmosphere was as fantastic as usual. The home support were rewarded with another goal before half time. To the background of chat about Bristol Rovers, Wales, Argentine tourist destinations, Welsh language Patagonia and other bits and bobs the second half was played out with minimal fuss.

Around ten minutes before the end of the match the skies blackened for the first time on our trip, as the final whistle peeped and we made our way to the exit the heavens opened. We hid under the entrance waiting for our uber to turn up, it wouldn’t be taking us home. We’d managed to wrangle a double, and we had another hopper for company. Barracas wouldn’t be the most memorable match or experience of the trip, but it was the only place I talked about Caernarfon Town and that was absolutely class.

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