Greetings from Northern Ireland (it’s been quite a while since I’ve written that) for July’s Monthly Musings.
June 2019 was quite a busy month as I finished up my first school year/football season working in Madrid, hosted my Mum on her first visit to the city, coped with insane heat, moved out of my flat and headed back home.
It was one of those months which seemed to fly by, yet the start of it feels like a million years ago.
Where I’ve Been
My last month in Madrid for a while and I’ve travelled around the city a fair bit, going to a few places I’ve never been before and revisiting some others I haven’t been to in a long time. I finally managed to find time to check out the Metro exhibition at Chamartin station, which features old carriages.
When my Mum came to visit, I got to repeat one of my favourite day trips of the year by taking her to El Escorial, the historic royal residence and monastery which I first visited back in October. The weather was much nicer than my previous visit and on this occasion I was able to see the gardens as well as the main building.
And finally, on 28th June I headed back home. Typical delays to flights and buses meant that the journey from Madrid to Ballycastle was almost a full day. But at the end of it all, it’s great to be back home!
Game of the Month
I only went to one game in June so I guess the Champions League Final wins by default. It certainly wouldn’t have if I’d managed to go to any other game (my much-longed for trip to Huelva fell through due to affordability and scheduling issues) as it was far from being the most memorable final ever, but hey, the experience was great. And you can read more of my thoughts about it here.
I would have been able to go to a match straight after my return to NI but five days before the game, St Mirren unilaterally canceled their game against Coleraine yet still travelled to Belfast to play against an Amateur League side.
Word has it a few travelling Buddies fans turned up at the Coleraine club shop on Saturday, obviously not wanting to miss out on the experience of seeing one of the great cathedrals of football…
Most Popular Post
Despite there not being a huge amount of current football covered on the blog during June, it was actually my busiest month of the year so far!
A large reason for this was the reaction to my 2018/19 in Review post which has finished the month not only as the most popular post of June, but of 2018/19 so far! I received lots of great feedback on it and it was really encouraging to hear that lots of you enjoyed reading it.
Another popular post was my account of my meet-up with the people behind The Spanish Football Podcast. It was a fun morning talking football and getting to see what goes on behind the scenes of one of my favourite podcasts.
Food Glorious Food!
A special mention for a bit of a hidden gem in Madrid’s Argüelles district, Casa Paco and its incredible line-up of cheap tortilla! Anyone who has ever visited a Spanish bar will know that each one will have its own tortilla casera, their variant of the classic potato omelette. Or if you are Casa Paco, about 20 variants.
I was able to sample it in the middle of the month for end of season drinks with friends of the blog Brendy Boyle and Lester Drake. A great evening was had by all as we talked football, sampled the tortilla and enjoyed the cheap tinto de verano.
I’ll definitely be paying a return visit to Casa Paco in September!
Kit of the Month
June is prime kit launch season and plenty of the biggest names in the game have already released their shirts for next season.
In Spain there’s been plenty of controversy over Barcelona’s new chequerboard kit (my take – it’s nice, but just doesn’t scream Barcelona) while Real Madrid and Atlético have both released fairly standard new kits. Leganés have also released a brilliant new home shirt – for my thoughts on the latest Madrid football fashion, you can read the consistently updated post here.
But in a summer when Coleraine release a new kit, there can only be one winner… I was sad when the company’s financial issues caused the end of the Bannsiders’ contract with CX Sports, but on this initial evidence the new relationship with English company Avec is going to prove to be a fruitful one.
It must also be said that the German kit for the Women’s World Cup is a thing of beauty and a much better tribute to the classic 1990 kit than the one worn by the men last summer.
Let's do this 👊
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 29, 2019
What’s Up Next
Well now that I’m at home I’m getting to enjoy a spot of relaxation away from the oppressive heat of central Madrid. I’ve seriously never been as glad to see rain as I was on Saturday morning – though I expect I’ll soon grow tired of it. Wedding preparations will be stepping up now too.
I’m looking forward to seeing a bit of pre-season football at home, watching Coleraine’s friendlies and perhaps some of the other local teams in European action. I also have another trip to Edinburgh planned to see The Magnificent Gorgie Boys (Or Hearts as most people call them) play in the BetFred Cup against Stenhousemuir and I’m also hoping to take in a League of Ireland match down in Dublin.
On the blog there’ll be plenty of updates. I’ll continue to update the Madrid Football Fashion Parade as new kits are released, I’ll be starting up a 2019/20 in Pictures series soon enough and I have a new series coming up very soon. Provisionally titled ‘Retro Trips’, it will go back to the days before the blog and take a look at a few of my travels from yesteryear.
So until next time,
All the best,