Last Sunday I had my own alternative version of Super Sunday, I went to watch two live games of football in the Region of Murcia.
Game one was La Hoya de Lorca versus Cadiz in the Segunda B (Group 4) and the second was CAP Ciudad de Murcia versus AD Caravaca.
The first game was a 12:00 kick off so that meant an early start from my base in Caravaca de la Cruz, the drive to Lorca takes around an hour.
The weather this time of year can be really unpredictable and when we left the mountainous terrain of Caravaca it was raining quite heavy, by the time we reached Lorca the weather had changed and was in fact very unseasonal t-shirt weather.
The more vociferous support of Ciudad are called the City Boys and they have had a long ongoing relationship with Cadiz´s Yellow Brigade for many years, mainly due to their antifa political alignment. About one hundred or so Yellow Brigade had made the long journey, through the night, to support their team and they were backed up by around thirty or so City Boys, who had made the fifty minute journey from Murcia City. Cadiz´s Yellow Brigade are renowned throughout Spain for their good humoured (drunken) support and were founded back in 1982, in fact one of their founders, El Loco Miguel (Mad Mick), was amongst their number at Lorca and I had the pleasure of meeting him.
La Hoya, as you will probably remember from a previous blog, are famous for having the ugly broccoli away strip that incidentally has sold over 5000 all over the world. They currently sit top of the Segunda B (Group 4) and have been playing very well this season. Cadiz on the other hand have been going through a bit of a bad patch and have only picked up twelve points on the road this season. The bad away form is in contrast to their excellent home form, where they have only lost once, but their travel sickness has meant that they have fell out of the top four and out of the play-off positions.
There was to be no improvement on this trip either, as Cadiz were soundly beaten 3-0 by a very efficient La Hoya who now sit two points clear at the top of the table, they haven´t lost at home all season. This defeat was difficult to take for some of the Cadiz lads and they turned on their team singing a version of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt.”
The game was played in front of just over 2,500 people at the Francisco Artés Carrasco Stadium, which is a great compact modern stadium with a capacity of just over 8,000. Get the full run down on the stadium here on the excellent Chris Clément’s Spanish stadium site http://estadiosdeespana.blogspot.com.es/2011/04/lorca-estadio-francisco-artes-carrasco.html
The match highlights can also be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uyqs87v2eM
After the game we made our to the car park and the buses that were to take the Cadiz fans back on the long journey south, I sympathised with them as we said our farewells and they boarded their buses, been there got several t-shirts, as will many of you reading this. Top lads though, I´ll be back to watch them again somewhere soon and I must fit in a trip to Cadiz, they say it has the best beaches in Europe and some of the friendliest people too.
From Lorca I then made the short trip along A7, passing the town of La Hoya and the numerous fields of broccoli ,that they have made famous on that ugly away shirt of their’s, to Murcia City. I was accompanied by my youngest lad and Vice President of CAP Ciudad de Murcia, Tito Uli. Tito has been influential in teaching me about the idiosyncrasies of Spanish fan subculture over the past year or so, like an unofficial guide, and we went to have lunch in his barrio before the next game. Tito, as well as being Vice President of Ciudad, also coordinates most of the fan animation at Caudad’s games, which for a club in the 5th tier is more than impressive. This game was always going to be a bit strange for me, today’s opponents being the town that I live in, Caravaca. Added to that my daughter’s boyfriend Pedro Carrasco plays for Caravaca and for this game he started in place of the suspended Cisse (I kid you not). Cisse is a very useful black lad from one of the African nations, which one I don´t know, and plays up front. He is one of the reasons why Caravaca were sitting in second place in the table before this game. I used to follow Caravaca quite a bit before finding out about what was happening at Ciudad, in honesty there is no comparison between the two clubs when it comes to atmosphere and camaraderie etc. On the pitch though Caravaca have put a good squad together, mainly of young lads who have played together since they were kids.
Ciudad, who are on a good run and were 8th before kick-off, took the game to Caravaca from the off. It was one of the best games, at this level, I had witnessed all season, full of commitment and passion from both teams and Ciudad, in my opinion, deservedly won 2-1, lifting them to sixth. At the end of the game Ciudad Captain, Leo Rueda, led the fans in an impressive sing along that you can see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uyqs87v2eM Leo was once one of the lads on the terraces and you can see his passion for the club in this great piece of footage. Poor Pedro meanwhile was yellow carded and subbed at half time, I felt for him. Afterwards we met him at the changing rooms and put a Ciudad scarf around his neck and had some good banter with the rest of the Caravaca players. I asked him what it was like to play in an atmosphere that is created by the City Boys and he told me that it motivates both teams, as visiting players are not used to that kind of support at this level of football.
You can read the match report, in English, on a North Tyneside (and Mag) exile’s blog here, he writes about all things football related in this neck of the woods (Murcia/Almeria), if you are interested. http://expatgoals.com/cap-ciudad-de-murcia-2-ad-caravaca-1/
All in all a great day of football with people who live and breathe the game.