Sunday, June 20, 2010
Clearly, the probability of that verbose reply was discounted by officials of Elche CF, who still went ahead with a ridiculous plan to charge existing season ticket holders for entrance to the local derby, and potential money spinner, against Real Murcia. The upshot was, areas of the ground normally populated by the more vociferous element ( Peñas) of the home support were empty and the healthy travelling contingent made the most noise in a woefully poorly attended match that had so much riding on it for both Elche and Murcia. Considerably more was occurring outside the ground with protests galore occupying the local law enforcement as resentful season ticket holders (abonados) made their grievances known.
I'd hazard a guess that Willy Caballero did the interval team talk in the dressing room because, having failed to come up with a single chance worthy of the name throughout a one-sided first half, Elche, with ears ringing, got themselves on the scoresheet for the only time in the match two and a bit minutes after the re-start. Midfielder Perera charged forward and kept on going, riding tackle after tackle to bludgeon his way into the Murcia box to even things up. Perhaps now the difference in league positions would become evident, not a chance!
At about this time last season, the Elche President Jose Sepeulcre and his Rayo Vallecano opposite number, Maria Teresa Rivero, engaged in a war of words in the press following Elche's 1-2 away win which effectively ended the Rayo promotion challenge for 2008/09. Señora Rivero did not mince her words when openly suggesting that Elche CF had accepted a "prima" (cash incentive) from a Rayo promotion rival in return for defeating the Madrid outfit.
Today, the Elche performance had the same sort of look about it, nothing to play for so why not help out a struggling neighbour in return for some financial assistance!!!!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Nine months and three different home grounds after it all began, Santa Pola Club de Futbol put their 2009/10 season to bed with an emphatic home win on a late May Saturday evening. With the squad electing for a rare Sunday morning lie-in, preceded no doubt by a post game beer or two, Jove Español arrived for an 1800 kick off at the Manolo Macia, where, entrance was free and more locals than usual took advantage of the offer.
With nothing at stake for either side, Jove were destined to end up mid-table and Santa Pola a creditable fifth or sixth, just out of reach of the play-offs, my initial expectation of this meaningless rubber was a dire game of football both sides couldn't wait to get out of the way. Not so, Santa Pola, and 22 year old striker Adriano in particular, were terrific. The visitors played their part too, but not before finally coming to life mid-way through the second half.
Three nil to the good at half-time, the interval breakfast baguette and coffee tasted much better than usual as I wandered back to my spot, pitchside on the half-way line, ready for a bit more. When you're playing well and ahead by a hatful at the break, I always wonder how many they're going to end up with, wishful thinking though, (how often does that happen), because only a single additional goal was added to bother the scorers, and that was by the visitors just a few minutes after the re-start. To be honest, Santa Pola, despite conceding quickly, were in cruise control from early on and appeared to be looking forward to those end of season sherberts with about twenty minutes to go.
Full time 3-1 and that was that, after thirty four games, fifteen wins, fifty six points, fifty goals and an excellent sixth place in the table, the season was over. Enjoy the ales lads, you deserve them.
Arise Sir Adriano? well he definitely deserves one but but the club can't afford it!!!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Home in Elche to Pilar de la Horadada is a straightforward journey down the motorway until just south of Torrevieja where you join the N332 for about a twenty odd kilometre run south to Pilar. The quaint Ikomar stadium, home to the best grass pitch in Preferente football, is on the far side of town adjacent to a pretty scruffy and small industrial estate and easily accessed by using the main drag through the pueblo and just keeping going. Easy that is when there aren't roadworks that compel you to use a rabbit warren of back streets. In this order, three things then happened, I got completely lost, had a major row with a burly Spanish motorist and eventually arrived at the ground irritable and fed up.
I can kind of see the reason the big old Spanish bloke was a tad pissed off, I, without meaning to, (you never do), completely missed a stop sign and almost t-boned him at a junction I wasn't familiar with. Normally in that scenario, the combination of holding your hands up and employing a pathetic looking face tend to work and the other party drives of muttering a bit. Not today though, our heated road exchange ended with me asking the nobber a question and then answering it for him, something like...."Hablas Inglés? entonces Fuck off"
I could have guessed it was going to be one of those afternoons and so it proved on the pitch. A strange looking Santa Pola line-up, missing a host of regulars, (I won't bother advancing my personal conspiracy theory), were never really at the races and on a hot, hot Sunday evening slipped to their worst defeat of the season after one of their poorest performances of the campaign. Somewhat oddly, Santa Pola led by a goal at half time, that, and the combination of a few choice words from coach Domingo Grau during the break, ought to have been sufficient to rouse the guys from their lethargy. It never happened. Santa Pola sleep- walked their collective way through another dismal forty five minutes of football, conceding four unanswered and extremely good goals in the process. For the second time in 2009/10 'Pola lost to a decent Horadada side, today going down 4-1 whilst never really looking like taking anything from the encounter.
I've been to the Ikomar at various times this season and last and you always know what you are going to get, a warm welcome from a very friendly football club who deserve their onfield success. One thing that's always puzzled me is the attitude of one or two of the local Brits who gather to watch. Today, I thought The Reds were excellent and could have won by far more than three goals, despite playing as well as they did, all I heard from one or two English voices close to me for virtually the whole game was complaints. Curious.
Oh, and by the way, I was wearing different clothes agains!!