If you’ve not read this blog before and you’re expecting a discussion on whether Messi or Ronaldo should receive the Ballon D’or then you’re going to be disappointed. All that malarkey is just like background noise to me and I wonder if when football first kicked off, if its pioneers had any inkling of how the game would develop into such a circus, I doubt it. Last week the new issue of true faith (107) dropped through my “buzzon” (that’s not rude, look it up) and the six page article about the Edwardian Mag, Colin Veitch, is a belter, maybe one of the best ever that I’ve read in a fanzine. I’d love to know if when he was campaigning back in the day, for players’ rights, what he would have thought of all the trappings of footballers these days. In the main, as far as I’m concerned, it’s all total bollox.
Talking about fanzines I’m happy to report that one of my scribbles has appeared in the most recent edition of the Spanish fanzine La Banda Izquierda (The Left Wing). The article is about the STAND AMF doo Ale, Football and Music that I went to in Liverpool, back in July. It looks canny in there tucked amongst the articles about Polish and Italian Ultras, there’s even something about Japan in the current issue. As I’ve told regular readers the fanzine is put together, in the main, by some Rayo lads based in the Vallecas barrio of Madrid.
Racism has reared its ugly head again in Spain; in fact it never really goes away. Most top clubs have a section of their following that is ultra right. Last Sunday was the Seville derby, one of the hottest contested derby games on the continent. Seville won the game 4-0, a result which anchored Betis to the foot of La Liga. During the game the Brazilian Real Betis player Paulão was sent off for two yellow card offences. As he left the field he was subjected to racist abuse, monkey noises, from his own support. This was caught on camera and went out on live TV; you can see the footage here. https://vine.co/v/hUbu1nZrIwx This incident comes shortly after a Granada player was subjected to monkey noises at Elche. From my own experience of general life, at least here in the South of Spain, it reminds me of what Britain was like 30 – 40 years ago and Spain and Spanish football needs to work hard to drag itself into the twenty first century, with regards to this type of thing anyway.
The cold weather is back in Murcia and a couple of weeks ago I watched CAP Ciudad de Murcia get beat 2-0, by UD Guadalupe, on a bitterly cold Saturday evening. I have to say that this game ranks amongst the worse that I’ve seen in around thirty five years of watching football. UD Guadalupe is rock bottom of the league and this defeat came on the back of a 1-4 home defeat by promotion chasing Pinatar. All wasn’t well in the Ciudad camp but thankfully, after signing a new keeper (no daft windows at this level), the team got back on track last Sunday with a 3-2 win against fourth placed Balsicas. My home town club of Caravaca, after setting the early season pace, are faltering a bit too and have dropped from top position to second after a string of draws. Life is never dull in the Murcian Preferente division!
Lots of people back home think it’s sunny and warm all year here but that is just a myth, probably made up by property developers and estate agents to sell houses. As I’m writing this I’ve just heard that snow is forecast for this area soon! However, despite the cold and the economic crisis it’s not that bad living here, according to The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development even though Spain is at the top of the Euro league for the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, cocaine and cannabis it still , at the age of 82.4, has the second longest life expectancy in the European Union. If Ciudad games are anything to go by I can safely say that the consumption of “El Verde” is a nailed on stat. The whiff of weed around their self “policed” terraces reminds me of the smell of incense that accompanies an RC mass; one wouldn’t be the same without the other. I’ve never partook myself but everyone to their own and it certainly all adds to the atmosphere at Ciudad. On a positive note the movement for fan owned clubs in Spain appears to be growing. Called Fútbol popular there are six fan owned clubs that I am aware of. Obviously there is the club that I am involved with, CAP Ciudad de Murcia, then in the north you have in Asturias, UC Ceares, in Castile and León there is CD Palencia, a bit further south there is Unionista Salamanca, in Madrid there is Athletico Club de Socios and in Cataluña there is FC Tarraco. All of these clubs are based along the same democratic one share one vote principals, all are left leaning and in the main antifa.
Back in August I reported on the demise, due to financial reasons, of UD Salamanca and the possibility of them being taken over by a local businessman who was going to change the clubs name to Salamanca Athletic and thus write off their debt. This would have meant that the historical university city of Salamanca would have a football team to support during season 2013-14. However, due to legal wrangling, Salamanca Athletic have not been able to take UD Salamanca’s place in Segunda B (Group 1), that group this season contains only nineteen teams as opposed to the allotted twenty. As a backdrop to this story a group of UD Salamanca fans ,who were opposed to the takeover, have formed their own club, Unionistas de Salamanca CF. They will start life ,at the start of the 2014-5 season, at the bottom of the Spanish football pyramid. See the link (in English) for more details regarding to the new clubs ethos and set up. https://www.unionistascf.com/el-club/english-summary
A bit further north of Salamanca, in Asturias, Unión Club Ceares are going well at the top of the Tercera (Group 2) and stand a great chance of playing in the end of season play-offs for promotion to Segunda B. I have to admit that after Ciudad these interest me the most, with their quotes similar to this fanzine, like keeping the faith since 1946, and their passion for the English alternative football scene. Their website is in English and you can find it here http://www.ucceares.com/organization/
Last blog I finished off by saying that I was happy that Murcian club FC Cartagena had drawn FC Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. Unfortunately that happiness has been soured a bit, as the club have decided to charge €65 for tickets that usually cost €10; I won’t be paying those prices to watch a Barça reserve team going through the motions.
…..and finally with Christmas around the corner there are two new books on the market with regards to Spanish football. The Guardians excellent journalist Sid Lowe has released Fear and Loathing in La Liga and Sky correspondent Graham Hunter has released The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble. I haven’t read the books but I reckon both will be good, as both authors are authorities on Spanish football (unlike the bloke writing this drivel). Graham Hunter is actually in Newcastle, at the Tyne Cinema, promoting his book on December 2nd http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/graham-hunter-spain-the-inside-story-of-la-rojas-historic-treble-tickets-8530142887 if you’re doing nowt else get yourself along it should be good.
Well that’s it for now, hope you enjoyed it and please feel free to leave some feedback in the comments boxes or on Twitter.
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