As we enter the final few days of 2021, it’s time to look back and take stock of what has gone on over the past 12 months.
2021 has been another unconventional year – my travels have been extremely limited due to the ongoing pandemic – but I’ve still found plenty to write about, occasionally by diving into my archives of past trips.
So here we are, the ten most-read posts on the blog over the past year.
An old favourite, last year’s number two sneaks onto this year’s list at number ten.
Thanks to being stuck in Madrid for most of the year due to pandemic restrictions, Villaverde were the team I saw most over the last 12 months and the Estadio Boetticher was my most-visited ground.
It’s always nice to remind people of this hidden gem in the south of Madrid.
A flashback to pre-pandemic times makes the list at number nine. The summer of 2019 seems a long way away now.
This post deals with my extended stay in La Línea de la Concepción and Gibraltar ahead of my legal wedding to Sarah on 2nd September and especially the football I saw there, including watching the wonderfully-named Hound Dogs FC in Gibraltar.
The photos of sunset in La Línea’s Estadio Municipal are among my favourites I’ve ever taken and I never tire of looking back at them.
Last year’s number seven enters this year’s chart at number eight.
Goal III’s very existence is mystifying. The first two aren’t exactly The Godfather, but are at least passable, if predictable, fare.
The third one ditched pretty much everything about the first two and set off to tell its own story about two “Jack-the-lad” England players at the World Cup, but somehow finds time to squeeze in subplots about a trashy horror movie, alcoholism and personal tragedy. Let’s just say, it’s very bad.
A new entry at number seven…
At the end of July I killed a bit of time before my second Vaccine appointment by having a look at the new museum at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
I got to check out the classic Atlético kits on display, sit on seats brought over from the Vicente Calderón, sample the audio visual activities on offer, sing along with the himno and of course, see the La Liga trophy Atleti had won only weeks before.
A real blast from the past at number six!
By far the oldest post on the list, this one gained traction after I shared a video of Sporting fans from my visit there in March 2016.
I’ll be the first to admit this isn’t one of my better efforts – it was early days and I was still working out what I was doing with the blog, but this post always reminds me of one of my favourite trips ever.
I’d wanted to visit Lisbon for years and despite some terrible weather during my visit I was utterly enchanted by it. And I was blown away by the noise and atmosphere at the Sporting game. To this day I tell people that it’s the loudest ground I’ve ever been to.
Moving into the top five, we have a new entry from January of this year…
I’d finished off 2020 with a visit to La Mina so it felt a very natural choice for my first feature post of the new year.
The home of RCD Carabanchel, as the title suggests, is Madrid’s oldest continuously-used stadium – albeit with a few facelifts over the years – and I enjoyed unpacking the history of Cara, the third oldest club in the city after the two powerhouses of Real Madrid and Atlético.
Another throwback is in at number four…
Not being able to travel much, I looked a lot to past trips for inspiration in 2021 and my second game after my big move to Galicia was one I enjoyed looking back on.
Going through my first visit to A Coruña filled me with nostalgia for my old matchday routine in the north and has strengthened my resolve to go back for a game before this season is out – helped by the fact there is now an AVE line connecting Galicia to the capital.
I’m at number three, a fun one to write!
I love that almost every club in Spain has their own unique piece of music celebrating the club, its history, its values and aspirations. So I decided to highlight a few of my favourites.
I spent a lot of time listening to these himnos while writing this and some of them simply refuse to leave my head even now.
In at number two, it’s the awards!
My end of season rundown saw me tackle the really important issues, like where has the best sandwich, the weirdest piece of merchandise or memorabilia, the best celebrations, the most pointless yellow card of all time and critiquing the effectiveness of various Covid-19 safety measures imposed throughout football in Madrid.
The undisputed number one of 2021!
I originally published this post last year, on the day Euro 2020 was supposed to start and it did well enough to make it into last year’s Top 10 but this summer, with the Euros in full swing, it truly took over.
It was the number one throughout June and July and picked up enough clicks to make it the most viewed post in the blog’s history.
It was great fun putting it together last year and once I’d become familiar with the BBC and ITV efforts from this year, I was of course able to update the list. It was a very strange summer, not actually watching a minute of the tournament at home – BBC and ITV might have their flaws but their coverage is miles ahead of the constant adverts and in-game plugs for what film is on after the match from the commentators that we had to endure in Spain.