Greetings from Madrid at the start of February!
The four and a half weeks of January once again felt more like four and a half months. Needless to say, I’m glad to have it all over with for another year and look ahead to February.
Where I’ve Been
I started off the new year (and indeed decade) back at home in Northern Ireland and as I did last year, travelled back to Madrid via a one-night layover in Málaga, which once again meant an opportunity to take in the famous Christmas lights on Calle Marques de Larios.
After returning to Madrid on 5th January, just in time to watch the Cabalgata on TV, Sarah and I were able to take one last trip into the city centre on Monday 6th, just to see the Christmas lights one last time before they were taken down and we were actually able to go inside the tree in Puerta del Sol!
After that it’s just been back to the grind. Aside from my trip to Alcalá de Henares for the Atlético Femenino match and going down to Leganés for El Derbí Histórico, I’ve kept my travelling to a minimum.
I do hope that I can get about a bit more in February, hopefully the weather will improve as well and that will be more conducive to day trips and general sightseeing in Madrid.
Game of the Month
The best entertainment this month was to be found in the Preferente! I went to six matches in January and the fifth tier of football in Spain provided two brilliantly entertaining encounters.
First, I went back to CD Canillas and saw their 4-2 win over San Agustín de Guadalix which included a goalfest of a second half and then at the end of the month, as part of Día del Fútbol Modesto 4, I saw Aravaca lose 3-2 at home to Atlético Villalba. It’s hard to separate the two games, but I might just give Aravaca the edge for the second half being livened up by all kinds of handbags and of course, the Aravaca puddle…
Most Popular Post
It’s a bit of a retro one this month! In the build-up to the Leganés-Getafe derby at Butarque, my post from December 2018 received a lot of attention. Actually more than anything I published this month…
I am hoping to get a few posts that have been in the making for quite some time out there next month.
At the end of last month I finally got round to setting up Google Analytics for the site, so I can now track traffic even more accurately than in the past and the figures for January, traditionally one of the slower months of the year, have actually been very good! Something to build on over the coming months.
Kit of the Month
This is being featured less for being an amazing kit (it’s nothing special) but more for the story behind it. Back in the summer Depor launched a new home kit which broke with over a century of tradition and featured hoops (or horizontal stripes if you will) rather than their iconic vertical stripes.
The new kit was poorly received by fans and coincidentally or not, accompanied the team on a terrible run of form as they slumped to the bottom of the Segunda and seemed certainties for relegation.
Then the club did something unexpected. Before a vital relegation six-pointer against fellow strugglers Racing Santander, they announced that they would be returning to the striped kit, having sought and received permission from La Liga to do so.
Rather than simply reusing last season’s home shirt, a new design was swiftly put together, seemingly an off the peg kit from the Macron catalogue and was worn as Depor won a vital three points through goals from debutant Sabin Merino and comeback king Emre Çolak, who celebrated his goal by jumping into the crowd to celebrate and was promptly issued with a second yellow card.
Merino scored again in the shirt to defeat leaders Cádiz the following weekend, but confusingly the hoops returned for the win at Albacete. Needless to say I’ll continue to monitor the Depor kit situation closely. Hopefully in person when they visit Alcorcón this month!
Book of the Month
This month I’ve been working my way through Jonathan Wilson’s The Names Heard Long Ago, which is a comprehensive (are any of his books not comprehensive?) history of the Golden Age of Hungarian football.
Having spent a bit of time in Hungary back in 2013, I have a particular interest in this subject but the most striking thing I’ve picked up from reading it is that the Magical Magyars of the 1950’s were only a small part of the country’s footballing legacy and actually represented the last flourish of the golden age. Hungarian players and coaches had been helping shape great teams in Europe and South America since the 1920’s.
I’m not quite finished it yet, still a few chapters to go, but so far it has been an excellent read and well worth your time!
Food, Glorious Food!
This month I just want to promote a newly-opened place in Madrid. Not that they really need my promotion as things have been going really well for Mazál Bagels since they opened earlier in the month.
You may remember that a couple of months ago, I mentioned that I had ordered bagels for breakfast from Bruja’s Bakery – and that they were soon opening a shop. That shop is Mazál, at Calle Alonso Cano, 30.
Sarah and I went on one of their first proper days open and had a great lunch there. We both tried the pizza bagel (pictured above) and afterwards were treated to a free slice of cheesecake. Needless to say, we also bought bagels to take home as well!
We’d both definitely recommend a visit, though make sure to get there early as they’ve been regularly selling out!
What’s Up Next
February promises to be a much better month than January. I’m hoping to get out and about a bit more, get more writing done and of course see plenty of football.
Unfortunately I’m not going to make it back home for Coleraine’s appearance in the Bet McLean League Cup Final against Crusaders on 15th February. A combination of the cost of flights and the general inconvenience (needing to fly to Dublin, the 7:45pm kick off) means it’s just impractical for me to go. Needless to say I’ll find some way of following the game and hopefully we can a similar result to the last time we played in a cup final at The National Stadium!
As I said earlier, I’m hoping to get to see Depor when they visit Alcorcón soon, which would form part of an interesting double-header with Alcorcón’s B team against Unión Adarve as Incontinue my quest to complete the Madrid Tercera this season.
Staying in the world of Spanish football, I’ve recently started writing for Get Spanish Football News. You can read my first few articles, featuring El Derbí Histórico, Depor and the arrival of Hatem Ben Arfa at Valladolid online already and I’ll be continuing to post things throughout the season.
Until next time,
All the best,