Monthly Musings (September 2018)

Next Stop… Madrid!

Hello! Welcome to the Monthly Musings post for September, As I explained last month, this is just going to be my way to summarise the past month and look ahead to the next one, what plans I’ve made and so on.

August in Northern Ireland is a strange month. It’s almost never as sunny as July is but the up and down weather is always redeemed by the return of proper competitive football.

This has been a productive month for me in a footballing sense as I’ve been to all five of the matches Coleraine have played, unfortunately with some mixed results. It was always going to be hard to match last season’s start (it was a club record after all) and at least the long unbeaten record in the league is still intact. Unfortunately I am missing out on this weekend’s game as the big match with Crusaders was moved from Saturday to Monday night to facilitate live TV coverage by Sky, meaning it will be taking place just as I arrive in Madrid…

Away from football, the impending move is dominating a lot of my free time at the moment. If I find myself not particularly busy, I inevitably find myself scrolling through lots of adverts for rooms in Madrid and forwarding details on to my girlfriend who is doing the heavy lifting of ringing landlords and visiting the flats for me until I can in person. We’re so organised, we’ve even made a colour-coded spreadsheet. All this work paid off on August 31, so thankfully I will have somewhere to call home straightaway.

August has been a productive month in a blogging sense as well. Aside from publishing six posts (a personal record!) I’ve managed to write up a few so I have some in reserve for the Autumn and Winter when I’ll probably be a lot busier and not have as much time to update regularly. I’ve set myself a target of a minimum of three posts per month, one 2018/19 in Pictures update, one Monthly Musings and something else, whatever I feel like doing, or whatever I have in reserve.

Game of the Month

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The most enjoyable game I went to in August was Coleraine’s 2-1 victory over Cliftonville at Solitude (detailed here) on August 11. It was a brilliant end-to-end contest, which Coleraine deservedly won thanks to a wonderful late goal from Aaron Burns. Hopefully Madrid can provide a few contests of similar quality in the months to come.

Most Popular Post

Even though it was only published last Saturday, my post about Picking My Madrid Team has already become one of my most-viewed posts of the year and I’ve received a good bit of feedback on Social Media. As expected, there’s a lot of support for Rayo Vallecano in the responses, though lots of people have recommended Leganés as a good place to visit as well. I’ll certainly keep my options open for a while anyway and try to visit as many different grounds as I can this season.

Book of the Month

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After a horribly protracted struggle with Amazon (and a courier company who don’t know how to use maps) I received my copy of True Colours: International Football Kits by John Devlin. As a bit of a football kit nerd, I was a big fan of his previous True Colours books, published in the mid-2000’s and this is a worthy follow-up.

It features great illustrations of every kit worn by a selection of major international sides from the 1960’s to the present day. The only exception is Germany where sadly it seems copyright issues prevented the illustrations being used. The detail is excellent, even including things like one-off Argentina kits worn in friendlies against club sides.

Northern Ireland kits featured in True Colours

This is a great book for reference and nostalgia too. Going through it brought back memories, not only of my favourite Northern Ireland kits, but of various tournaments and my old tradition of buying a random country’s top from every international tournament (before they became far too expensive of course). I can go through my wardrobe and still find things like the Portugal 2002 World Cup shirt (I miss them using that darker shade of red), the Netherlands’ baggy-collared 2006 effort and the Spain home shirt from 2010 (complete with Iniesta 6 on the back).

What’s next?

Hopefully I get settled in Madrid nice and quickly! I start my new job on September 17 so that’s very much the target.

I’ve already identified my first match to go to in September, Atlético Madrid v Eibar on September 15. Rayo Vallecano v Alavés on September 22 was on my list but with the news that Rayo’s ground will be closed until mid-October for improvements, visiting Vallecas will have to be postponed for a while.

It’s going to be an exciting month. Looking forward to sharing it with you all!

All the best,

Andrew.

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