So with this entry an Andalucían Autumn of football begins. Most weeks I’ll be recording the ups and downs of my local team Recreativo de Huelva, whose stadium I can actually see from my bedroom window, while trying to get around as many of the region’s other major clubs as possible.
Recreativo 1-0 Betis Deportivo (Estadio Nuevo Colombino, Huelva – 10.9.2017)
Armed with my new season ticket, I set off for the Nuevo Colombino for the first time this season as they took on Real Betis’ B team. Oh the glamour of Segunda B, where fallen giants rub shoulders with reserve teams and clubs from places you’d have trouble pointing out on the map.
It was fortunate that I’d went earlier in the week to renew my season ticket as one of the friends I was due to meet there had left it until match day and the queue at the ticket office was so long that he missed the entire first half. He missed the only goal of a typically-tight game, Recre’s results usually resemble some form of binary code with lots of 1-0s, 1-1s and 0-0s over the course of a season and this was no exception. New centre forward Boris scored from the penalty spot, but Recre were good value for the lead and should have really pushed home their advantage. Aside from one Betis shot which hit the woodwork in the second half, it was a relatively comfortable victory.
There was a good crowd in the Grada 20 Diciembre (where my season ticket is) and a really good atmosphere too. After almost two years of going regularly, I have picked up quite a lot of the songs and can join in with more than just the “lololololololo” parts, though every so often there’s a new one which catches everyone out.
I’ll get a better feel of how Recre might do as I go to more games over the next few weeks. The team has changed so much since last season with only one player from that squad starting this game, though the venerable Antonio Nuñez did make a cameo from the bench. Whether it’s pushing for promotion, battling relegation or mid-table mediocrity, I’ll bring you along for the ride (at most home games anyway).
Ok, let’s get the rant out of the way first. I paid €45 for what, thanks to a see-through partition separating the new Gol Sur from the old fondo, was basically a restricted view seat. And that’s the standard price for a ticket in one of the top tiers. Betis had the fourth highest average attendance in La Liga last season, testament to the loyalty of their fans who kept turning out despite a largely mediocre season which saw them change managers twice.
I don’t think that’ll be a problem for them this season based on this performance. Betis were so far ahead of Depor in every department that it’s a surprise it only finished 2-1 and it made for pretty uncomfortable viewing for me, a Depor fan undercover in the home end.
Everyone with a bit of an interest in La Liga loves Joaquín, always a stylish winger, but also famous for his personality and sense of humour. I wasn’t such a big fan of his on Saturday afternoon when he headed in from about two yards out after Depor’s debutant goalkeeper Costil Pantilimon weakly parried out a shot. The photo of the celebration was about the only decent action shot I managed to get as most of the important action took place at the other end. Fede Cartabia equalised for Depor in the first half before late in the game, Joaquín finished off a Betis counter-attack to seal the win.