Well top flight football in Spain and England is back. To say I’m underwhelmed is an Spain1understatement.  I watched United’s latest capitulation to Man. City, whilst on a short break up near Alicante. We got together with family for a birthday celebration for my in-laws. They live up there in an ex-pat enclave called Ciudad Quesada. I watched the game, with most of the family, in an English bar, surrounded by ex-pats and holidaymakers who in the main were rooting for the Mags.
Our party included my brother in law (ex-season SJP ticket holder) and his son my 16 year old nephew (current SJP season ticket holder and TF contributor) who were across from Newcastle. I couldn’t help feel sorry for young Daniel who has to endure a season of that. From what I had read it seemed to me that Pardew (I’ve now stopped listening/reading) had surrendered the game before a ball had even been kicked. As you all know we were 1-0 down after six minutes, we all knew that it was game over from that point. United got a football lesson and we were beaten by the same score, 4-0, as last season. That game back in April was the last time I seen United live. It could be a while before I see them live again whilst the people currently controlling the club are in charge.
In La Liga Barcelona got off to a flyer beating Levante 7-0., they were 6-0 up at half time! This had many Spain2commentators on the game talking about the gulf in class between the El Clasico duopoly and the rest of league. La Liga is without a doubt a two horse race and always will be whilst these two clubs get special favours by the Spanish league, TV and government. Even the never say die coach of Atletico Madrid, Simione, has thrown the towel in on La Liga, already quoting in the press that no club can touch the big two.
In Madrid Rayo Vallecano fans held another protest during their 3-0 victory over La Liga new boys Elche. They staged a twenty four minute silent protest against Spanish TVs barmy game scheduling, Monday nights don’t go down well here. I get the feeling that Rayo are a real thorn in the side of the La Liga bosses – I like them!
There is some good you tube footage of the end of the protest here.


Another game that was played at a daft hour was Valencia V Malaga. KO time 23:00 on a Saturday night. Valencia reduced some tickets as low as €8 to temp fans to attend. Check out ticket prices here
The game ended 1-0 to Valencia in front of a crowd between 35,000 to 40,000, depending on what you read.
Over the summer months the demolition of Bilbao’s iconic San Mamés stadium took place. A shame for some Mags of a certain vintage, who hold that ground close to their hearts.  I wasn’t able to go back in ’94, I’d spent up going to Antwerp, and it’s something I’ve regretted ever since.

Apparently it was a ground very English in style and atmosphere. Athletics’ new ground will be ready for the second home game of the season, so they say. They have spent €218 million on the ground, with €55 coming from the Basque government. The cost is said be no problem to the financially stable club. This weekend their first home game, against Osasuna, will be played at nearby San Sebastian at the Anoeta Stadium, home of rivals Real Sociedad. 328 buses will leave Bilbao for the short trip. It’s a bit like Newcastle playing at Sunderland, it wouldn’t happen would it.
Real Sociedad are going through some good times themselves. They finished fourth in the league last term, 34 points behind the champions FCB, and qualified for the Champions League. They beat Lyon 2-0 away from home in mid-week and look as though they’ll qualify for the ECL competition proper. I hope they have a run like Malaga did last season. I don’t know much about them, or the north of Spain generally, but I like their proper old time badge and proper striped football shirt with no sponsor. Very unlike the crap that Puma are supplying NUFC this season and with a sponsor who you all know about. Incidentally, if there is any none Mags reading this (I’m told there’s a few) and if your club is in the Champions League and if you draw Sociedad, GO!  I’m told, by Spanish friends, that San Sebastian is a great city to visit.
Staying up north, in Salamanca to be precise, there is another modern football story unfolding. In a similar way to lots of clubs, all over Spain, UD Salamanca was founded by foreigners bringing the game to Spain in the early 20th century. This time it was Irish students, who were studying at the city’s famous university, who introduced the game in 1907. Many famous British and Irish names, in the Spanish game, have passed through the club. For example, Jimmy Hogan, Vic Buckingham, Fred Pentland, George Raynor, Paddy O’Connell and Jack Kirwan all served the club as players or coaches. Following relegation from the Segunda (second division) it was revealed that the club owed €23m to creditors and thus went into liquidation.
Thankfully a local businessman Juan José “Pepe” Hidalgo has stepped into to save the club. However, a new Spain3club has had to be formed called Salamanca Athletic. This initially caused problems with the football authorities who initially blocked the new club taking UD Salamanca’s place in Segunda B (Third Division).
The situation was resolved in the courts and it now looks like the historic city of Salamanca will have a football club to support in Season 2013-14. Be prepared for more stories like this to be played out all over Spain in the near future.
During the last week the new true faith arrived, with some great articles as usual. I liked the historical ones, about United, best especially the excellently written one about the era around the First Word War. Do yourself a favour and buy it. Get it here
I’ve watched a couple of CAP Ciudad de Murcia friendly matches over the last couple of weeks. Most recently against a club called Plus Ultra, away from home. Ciudad won 2-1 against a team a category higher than them. Pre-season has gone quite well in general. Ciudad’s season doesn’t start until the first week of September, so there are a couple of more frendlies planned.
They have a game coming up next week in the interestingly named Trophy Against Modern Football. The match will be played against Olympico Totana at home. I hope to be there.
Well that’s it for now; try to enjoy the football wherever you are watching it.
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