Morning dawns slowly over the main road through a quaint residential neighbourhood. A set of waste disposal men get to work keeping Spain clean as a young lady zips past on her morning jog. But while the city begins to wake, all around there are signs that someone has been busy during the night.
Satisfied with the few photos I had taken, I awkwardly scrambled back down the muddy ground and continued my walk. More media vehicles had parked up at the front side of El Sadar since I had began my tour of one of Spain’s classic grounds, and the queue of expectant fans outside a closed ticket window had grown. Realising I was short of funds, I turned to go find a cash point and walked into the path of an older gentleman.
“Who we playing today?” Alavés I said. “Oh, should be a good one then”.
The title is a bit of a stretch, but hopefully succinct. The Basque Country is comprised of 4 provinces of northern Spain and 3 of southwestern France, even though the País Vasco is an administrative, semi-autonomous region of Spain. Known is the Basque language as Euskal Herria, the Basque Country can be best conceptualised as the land straddling the border where Basque cultural traditions have survived and are most celebrated to this day. Across the Easter break, we decided it was time to explore their ways and history by checking out some great Football matches in Spain’s most enigmatic region.
Once a primitive slum populated by the city’s dropouts and Gypsies, Triana has become one of the most popular night-out spots in Seville. It still has the mystery and romance of the eras gone by but with improved safety and accessibility to the city folk on the “right side” of the river. Beneath the gaze of the belltower of the Real Parroquia de Señora Santa Ana run narrow streets criss-crossing but still somehow eventually converging on just one – Calle Betis.
A father pushed his two daughters hurriedly onto the footpath and immediately sploshed his left foot into a puddle. With a sigh, he followed his children to a 50cm strip of concrete beneath an overhanging shop front, accepting the dark patch now a quarter of the way up his denim jeans. I caught his eye as I shuffled up slightly to provide room, sharing a defiant “that’s how it is sometimes” type of smile with him as his family squeezed in beside me. Now all we could do was hope the shower would soon cease. They had their weekly shopping to complete. I had 30 minutes to locate this damn stadium.
For most people, 2020 has offered little cheer. But the year does mark a noteworthy anniversary for Football fans from one nation that has contributed extensively to the global game. This year citizens from Seville to Santander can celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Spanish international Football.
At 22:55 on the dot, the distant sounds of car horns and deep whooping confirmed the result that half the city had been waiting for. A man in his fifties dressed fully in red staggered out from a tavern to my left, cheering his team on to the smiles and polite applause of four young women sat in the open-air plaza. Though the evening breeze still Continue reading
Originally constructed in bonnie Newcastle in 1915, the HMS Malaya had been of service both in World War I and II in places as varied as Denmark, Anatolia, Malta, Genoa, Cape Verde and the Caribbean. She gallantly ended her service as target bouncing bomb practice in Loch Striven in Scotland in 1944, but where Football is concerned, the HMS Malaya made her most important trip in 1921 – to the land after which she was named. Continue reading