I’m not really a big one for friendlies. They are glorified training sessions if we’re honest. They can frequently make a fool of you as I’m reminded after waxing lyrical about Alan Smith’s performance v Juventus back in 2007. Expectations of Smith would quickly crash to earth in subsequent seasons.

But we have a friendly at SJP this Saturday that looks like it will attract an extraordinary attendance. The attraction might be to get out the house and back to Newcastle United duty as well as a good pre-Christmas swally in NE1 with the beautiful people in Black & White.

The truth is, this Saturday’s opposition, Rayo Vallenco are a fascinating football institution. Often described as Madrid’s third club, their rebel credentials are pretty impeccable placed alongside the dubious politics of some who follow Real and Atleti. 

It’s a good few years since I read this book – Working Class Heroes: The Story of Rayo Vallecano, Madrid’s Forgotten Team and for boring, speccy leftish wankers such as myself, I found it a great read – you can get a copy here if so moved. 

But if you can’t be arsed to prepare for a friendly by reading a book, I’d heartily dipping in by reading this great blog – La Política Del Fútbol Part Three: Rayo Vallecano – Madrid’s Working-Class Club from World Football Index. There is some video footage as well so a really good use of your time whilst freezing your nether regions off.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …. 

Michael Martin – @TFMick1892