I spent a couple of hours today walking in the Borisova Garden, one of Sofia’s many parks. The park is home to the Bulgarian Army stadium, where CSKA Sofia play. Many years ago – 1981 to be precise – I saw CSKA Sofia when they came to Belfast to play my local team Glentoran in what was then the European Cup (now the Champion’s League). The Glens had lost 2-0 in Sofia and no-one thought they had any chance. While CSKA were not one of Europe’s footballing superpowers they were, by a long way, the best team in Bulgaria – 31 times Bulgarian league champions and 20 times winners of the Bulgarian cup. Despite their underdog status, the Glens were 2-0 up with 20 minutes remaining and the game went into extra time. CSKA scored with five minutes left and the Glens were out. CSKA went on to beat defending champions Liverpool in the quarter finals before being overrun by Bayern Munich in the semi final.

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