The vast majority of you reading this will be Newcastle United fans and you’ll know as well as anyone that it can be hard motivate yourself to go to football sometimes. This is especially so as the season enters its final countdown and your team has nothing really to play for. Lately it’s been getting that way for me going to CAP Ciudad de Murcia games, especially the away games, I’ve only missed one all season. The last three away games have all been defeats and I know that some of you think I’m running around in shorts and flip-flops all of the time but the weather has been bloody cold at those games and the football dire. Those three defeats, especially the last one in a place called Algar, have more or less killed any chances that Ciudad had for promotion. I don’t think I’d upset too many people or offend them if I said that the majority of the time the football on display is well….shit BUT you can’t fault the commitment and enthusiasm shown by all involved, remember we are talking fifth tier here. You have to keep reminding yourself that these players and others involved are only get paid expenses and in the main are playing for their love of the game. That all said it can get a bit of a drag sometimes…… and then something happens that rekindles the flame and reminds you about what it’s all about. That’s what happened to me this last weekend.
First I got an invite, as a Ciudad club shareholder, to go to a local brewery, called Estrella Levante, to see how the beer is made etc. We all know that beer is an integral part of any football experience and I was looking forward to going along and seeing what it was all about. Before that though Id arranged to go and see some Ciudad fans that are part of the local Subbuteo club. I, like many of you of a certain vintage, played that game for many hours as a child and it still has that magic aura around it. These lads at the club though play for real and believe it or not both the world champion and the European champion are from Murcia, the latter being a Ciudad fan. It was great to reacquaint myself with the game again but I have to admit that after about thirty years or more my flick to kick skills are a bit rusty. http://subbuteoaefm.es/
After a quick couple of games and meeting the world champion it was off to the brewery to meet up with about fifty or so other Ciudad shareholders, for a tour and the obligatory free piss up… errr I mean drink or two at the end. Estrella Levante is celebrating its fifty year anniversary. It’s a local beer made from local produce but is part of the Estrella Dam stable from Barcelona. Estrella Dam is freely available in the UK but I don’t think I’ve ever seen Levante over there. Anyway it’s a canny drink and after the tour there was a good few gallons drank by the Ciudad party. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_FqCNiyxBU
After that we all headed into town and it’s great to be with locals who know where to go, we ended up in some great bars that I would probably never find on my own, my favourite one was called Bar Republica, which was decorated with paintings that really did your head in after a few beers. All in all it really was one of the best football related days out that I’ve had in a while and unless you include the Subbuteo a ball wasn’t even kicked.
The next day, Sunday, meant another trip into Murcia, this time for Ciudads home game versus Santomera. In contrast to the teams away form their current home form is excellent. Before this game they had won the last four and were soon leading in this one too. However, the highlight of the afternoon as usual wasn’t the football. The Ciudad lads had arranged a huge tifo display for the clubs kit-man, Chema, before kick-off. You could see that he was visibly moved as he went across to thank the fans before the kick-off, it was a real nice touch and something to again act as a reminder to why we keep going along to football matches. Ciudad eventually won the game 2-1, it should have been easier though, and at the end the team and Chema came across to the fans who sung his name, great stuff! When I asked one of my mates, who is responsible for most of the fan choreography, why the display today, was it Chema´s birthday or was he retiring or something. He replied “No, today is only today, Chema is old and he could die soon, so why not today?” Maybe I lost some of that in translation but for me it was a typical Murcian response….today is today so why not?
I picked up my two favourite Spanish fanzines at the match the LBI Magazine and Ciudad´s very own Fanzone which are both excellent reads (Both Spanish). Talking of fanzines, I’m looking forward to the new True Faith dropping through the letterbox soon too. If you like this drivel (I’m told people do) I have two articles in there, one about the youth policy of Athletic Club de Bilbao and the other a book review. You can buy single copies or subscribe here http://shop.themag.co.uk/collections/true-faith
Next weekend I´m off to Gibraltar for a wedding and I hope to be going to a game there the Friday before the nuptials…. I know sad, but a lot is happening in Gibraltar on the football front and I´m going to cover that in the next blog….. so until next time no monkey business! Adios!