Greetings from Madrid! Spring is here, albeit with some decidedly mixed weather and the football season is racing towards its conclusion.
May will see the big prizes handed out in most of the leagues around Europe and here in Spain the race for promotion/to avoid relegation in the lower leagues will be heating up. It wouldn’t be Spain if it didn’t go on well into the summer, would it?
Where I’ve Been 🗺
We didn’t make it to Chinchón in the end…
April has felt like quite a long month and the weekends have been sufficiently packed to make going anywhere further afield rather complicated. Even visiting a new part of Madrid has been difficult.
One new thing I did manage to do was go down to the Madrid Rio park near Principe Pio and see the new Madrid tourism sign.
Made out of recycled glass, the sign spells out Madrid in blue letters and features the iconic oso y madroño from the city’s crest and once tourism resumes in the city will undoubtedly be surrounded with visitors almost 24/7. So for me, it was nice to catch it on a quiet Friday morning.
A trip out of Madrid to San Sebastián de los Reyes for a Madrid CFF match and an excursion to Leganés were the height of my travelling this month. But hopefully May can be a bit better, more details below…
And even familiar places can still surprise you. Take the road I walk along almost every day after work. Sometimes it’s worth stopping the walk back to the Metro to appreciate the beginnings of a sunset. It’s little things like this that make life what it is.
Game of the Month ⚽️
April was something of an odd month as I managed to go to four games without paying a cent for the privilege.
Probably the best contest was back on 11th April, when I was at Canillas v Galapagar in the Madrid Preferente, where the hosts shocked the league leaders thanks to a couple of brilliant second half strikes from midfielder Tiago.
But the best match experience, without a doubt, was at Independiente de Vallecas on 18th April.
A beautiful sunny afternoon, two goal-packed games, brilliant atmosphere from the home fans, smoke bombs and I even got a new scarf for the collection! I’ll definitely be paying them another visit, if not before the end of this season, then certainly next.
Most Popular Post 💻
I’ve been absolutely thrilled by the response to to my most recent post, The wonderful world of Spanish football club himnos!
This has been one which was long in the making, I initially created the draft late last year, but it has taken a while to get round to completing it. It did require lots of time on YouTube listening to various himnos and deciding which ones to feature, needless to say I’ve found myself humming a lot of them constantly as I go about my daily life.
Lots of people have got in touch to suggest their own favourites and ones I have missed out – there are so many I’ve never heard before and would love to experience in a packed stadium. Here’s hoping next season can see me do just that.
Book of the Month 📚
After finishing off 1312: Among the Ultras at the start of the month, I took some time out of football-related reading.
As such, when I did pick it up again, I went for a couple of quick reads, mostly things I’d read before. One of those was Adam Hurrey’s Football Clichés, mostly inspired by bingeing episodes of the podcast of the same name.
I’m now looking forward to getting stuck into Origin Stories, a history of how football got started in various countries around the world, written by friend of the blog Chris Lee of Outside Write. I helped Chris with some present day perspectives on Spain’s oldest club Recreativo de Huelva and he was kind enough to provide a complimentary copy.
Food, glorious food! 🥘
As we went here during Easter, it feels much longer than a month ago, but at last, I get to big up Porteño!
Located in the square near our flat, we’ve been meaning to go ever since we noticed the sheer number of rave reviews it has on Google last year.
And when we finally got to try it on 1st April, it definitely lived up to the hype,
The pizza had a perfectly crispy crust and as you can see from the photo, they didn’t skimp on the topping!
The Return of Super Pepino 🥒
Leganés’ iconic mascot has been missing from our lives for over a year now. But thanks to the marketing geniuses at Butarque (finally doing what I suggested almost two years ago) you can now take him home with you!
Of course I went down to the stadium to check out the latest addition to their stock and make a purchase. I had hoped to maybe pick up a bargain from the past-seasons’ kit rail, but pickings were slim unless you’re a small child or the size of Super Pepino himself. So I helped myself to a pair of socks emblazoned with his face instead.
I look forward to wearing them when fans are allowed back at Butarque next season!
The not so-Super League 🏆
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last could of weeks you may have heard something about an ultimately unsuccessful attempt by some of the richest clubs in Europe to break away from the existing continental club competitions and earn themselves even more money.
You may have already worked out that I wasn’t a big fan of this idea.
I guess the last year of behind-closed-doors games with fake crowd noise piped in for TV viewers has increased the disconnect I felt from the elite level of the game and something like this only underlines it.
The fact the English clubs sheepishly backed out of it a few days later after fan protests, with PR departments attempting to spin this as a positive thing doesn’t change a thing. Fans are customers now to these owners.
Here in Spain, the reaction has been somewhat different. No widespread media condemnation, very few fan protests, just lots of increasingly bizarre Florentino Pérez interviews where he tried to justify the Super League by making claims that young people are losing interest in football because matches are too long and boring unless it’s two big teams playing each other.
And while everyone was getting annoyed by the Super League, UEFA passed Champions League reforms that turn the group stage into a bizarre, elongated mess.
What’s Up Next?
Hopefully as this post publishes I’m off to Alcalá de Henares for some football, I wanted to go to Atlético v Depor in Primera Iberdrola back at the start of April but just before I bought a ticket online, the game was called off due to a number of Atlético players testing positive for Covid-19.
Atlético are due to play Rayo Vallecano today (1st May) and hopefully everyone will have a clean bill of health as I revisit a ground I went to for the first (and so far only) time last January.
Work is going to take priority as I head towards the end of the school year, but I will be able to fit in plenty of football as well.
The state of alarm which was imposed back in the autumn is due to end on the 9th of this month and this may mean the opening up of travel between regions, making day-trips to Castilla y Léon and Castilla La Mancha a possibility. Or then again, it might not. No one really knows what’s going on.
Until next time,
All the best,