This is Spain


Real Madrid Club de Fútbol

As I have said elsewhere, I am a soccer fanatic and I was delighted when Simon Harris decided to launch an English-language web-site devoted to the “Beautiful Game.” I was even more delighted when i saw the site evolving.

As Simon explains, ” is a website with a very simple objective ‘Enjoy The Beautiful Game In Sunny Spain!’ Inspired by rainy Saturday afternoons in the north of England when all you could say about the game was ‘It pissed down and we lost 3-2!’, I originally intended to write a book about the joys of watching of watching great football in a great place – I support Barca, I’ve lived in the Catalan capital for more than 20 years and I sincerely believe that what you read in the press about both the city and the team falls sadly short of the wondrous reality.

The germ of an idea had been knocking around in my head for at least a decade, when Rangers were drawn against Barca in the Champions League. Their supporters let themselves down very badly and apart from feeling very annoyed by their behaviour, it struck me that all they needed was a healthy dose of education. If someone had only pointed out to them that had they only gone down to the beach to take their shirts off, get stupidly drunk and urinate in public, nobody would have batted an eyelid. Spain is inundated with places where you can be as uninhibited as you like but obviously, the Spanish aren’t to pleased if you do it whilst they’re trying to do their nine to five daily business.

The website will still develop into a printed something or other but at the moment it aims to make the visiting football fans life easier – buy the ticket, book the flight, hire the car, find the hotel, buy the shirt, read a book about it . . . and learn summink!”

“Thanks, Simon.”

As for Real Madrid, the club play at the very impressive Santiago Bernabeú stadium right in the very centre of Madrid. Think of the equivalent of Chelsea or Arsenal playing on Mayfair or Park Lane. Whether you are a football fan or not I would suggest that no trip to the capital is complete without a visit to the stadium and if you can catch a match too, so much the better. There are daily stadium tours which take you both pitch side and behind the scenes and are a great way to learn more about the club and learn how it is a central position in Spanish life in the same way that the Bareclona club has a pivotal position in Catalonia.

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