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white-and-red dreams come true at Primera

GironaYou only need to take a look at Girona’s dressing room to detect happiness. There isn’t a player, coach, analyst or manager who isn’t smiling these days. They are part of the best, a milestone they have been waiting for for three years, two months and twenty-four days. An excessive punishment, how inordinate will be the joy they will experience when smelling the grass of Mestalla. The same one that will have the more than half a thousand fans who will travel to Valencia to experience Girona’s return to Primera (7:30 p.m., DAZN LaLiga), the category where dreams come true.

“Yes, it’s true, unimaginable things happen in Primera”, says Xavier Luján, a white-and-red season ticket holder who, when he was only six years old, in 1979, took a photo with Javier Subirats, a footballer from Girona on loan by Valencia, before a Cup duel between both teams in Montilivi. “I’m from Valencia and my grandparents were neighbors of Subirats’ parents. When they called us to say that there would be this match, we went to meet him and I took a picture, to have it as a memory.” That image was preserved and, with the passage of time, forgotten. Until in 2018, Valencia visited the stadium again and the media, looking for some connection and precedents between them, wrote about Subirats and that tie. The rest is amazing.

“Browsing through social media, I found the photo. It had been published by the newspaper Levante. It was shocking, I was speechless”, expresses Luján, who continues: “So, I wrote to them to tell them that that little boy was me. And, by the way, I tried my luck and asked if they could put me in touch with Subirats to repeat it, but both are a bit older (laughs)”. Said and done, Subirats – who played for Girona because he was assigned to military service in Sant Climent Sescebes – not only was he planning to go to Montilivi to watch the League match, but he was delighted to repeat the snapshot Luján would no longer have one treasure but two .

39 years had passed. “We stayed on the tribune esplanade, it was a beautiful moment. I was very excited for all the family memories that it represented. And I liked Subirats a lot, he had a great technique”, he says, before revealing the gift he gave her. “A scarf from Girona’s first promotion, of course!” This was not in doubt.

From generation to generation

“I remember being nervous, in 1979, in the first photo. Before, the football players dominated. You had respect for them,” says Luján, who has already lost count of the hours he has spent in Montilivi. “Years ago you could run around the stands and for a child it was fun. Girona has always been a very close club, we all knew each other; from going to the field or having played together in some team. Many of the footballers who they got to the first team they had been with me in the grassroots categories. But I wasn’t that good.”

There are passions that are passed down from grandparents to parents and from parents to children. Football is one of them. “It’s a vehicle that passes from generation to generation. I love taking the children, Pau and Ada. And commuting is an excuse to travel and share time together. It’s nice to have this in common,” he admits, despite the fact that he breaks the heart for all those who can no longer live it. “Obviously I think of the people who have left us and have not been able to enjoy some years that have been incredible for Girona. The youngsters have experienced two promotions, but there are many people who left before that happened and it was many years ago years to come, Sunday after Sunday. To see the city club in Primera, our club, would have filled them up a lot.”

Luján will not be at Mestalla this Sunday, where two of the loves of his life will face each other. Before the game he will send one last message. “Oh, and so much so that I’m thinking of writing to Subirats to wish us luck. Although I admit that my heart is divided and, in fact, in the last Valencia-Girona game I wore the Valencia shirt.” Girona won that night.

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