"Are you really Carlota Fabregas? If you are, could you please tell Cesc to stay with Arsenal?"
- me, after finding Carlota Fabregas' Twitter account
Sometimes, I love Twitter. It's mostly irrelevant, but every now and then it does something that makes you think that it's a profound piece of technology - like when I message Carlota Fabregas to tell her brother Cesc to stay with the Arsenal.
I guess it started when I was reading the Arsenole, and the Arsenole decided that marrying Carlota Fabregas will become his new life's mission. It's a worthy goal. Imagine being the Arsenal captain's brother-in-law? The mind boggles at the honor.
Still, when I read his article, it made me wonder what kind of person Carlota is. So I clicked on her account and had a look. She's in university, judging from her posts. She lives in Barcelona, I presume. She wears a beret at a jaunty angle and she's fiercely nationalistic and advocates a separate (and possibly socialist) Catalan state, I imagine. If I remember correctly, all earnest young Uni students wear jaunty berets and advocate left-wing agendas.
I can imagine the scene now.
It's a quite Friday afternoon, and she's sitting in an out-of-the-way bar in the Gothic Quarter. Maybe George Orwell Plaza. She's debating Catalan nationalism and the Barca 4-3-3 with her uni friends and they're drinking cervezas by the dozen and slowly get plastered. And as they drink, you can tell that there's something altogether ethereal about young Carlota, something that separates her from your run-of-the-mill Barcelona teenager.
She's holding court, and the others are looking at her with a mixture of awe and resentment. She's Cesc Fabregas' sister, after all. Whenever anyone looks at her, they're trying to see if they can spot Cesc's talent in her. What makes Cesc so special, they ask to themselves. Does Carlota have the same genius? And why does Cesc have it, and Carlota too, but not them? Those questions rise up in the warm September air and float unanswered in the beer-sodden afternoon haze.
And Carlota's flattered by the attention, but resentful of it at the same time. She's been the sister of a famous footballer since she was twelve. It's like growing up with a famous parent, only a little bit worse because the comparisons are more direct. She's used to it now, of course, but still it's a bit irritating when people look at you and only see you for your footballing brother.
And now that I think about it, I've just joined in the queue. I've just twittered Cesc Fabregas' sister because I quite enjoyed the idea of twittering someone tangibly connected to the Arsenal. And while I was doing so, I gave very little thought to our nationalist, socialist Catalan patriot who's getting pleasantly plastered in a Barcelona bar on a lazy Friday afternoon.
Nick Hornby was right; football fans are just middle-aged, balding groupies.