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The Getafe Gazette

Much like George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway and John Aldridge, I have left home and moved to Spain. A country, when growing up, I associated with the best football in the world. Yer’ Da with rose tinted nostalgic glasses will tell you Italian football in the 80s and 90s was when football peaked. When men were men and they knew how to play football. I feel when I am a ripe old age, I’ll be sitting up after a pint too many telling some unsuspecting young fella’ that Spanish football during the late 2000s was the best there ever was, a time where two of the greatest of all time played on rival teams.

There were Messi’s elegant Barcelona teams. First Pep’s version with Xavi, Iniesta and Pique who changed the footballing landscape, passing every team they faced off the pitch. Then they evolved, adding Suarez and Neymar, creating one of the greatest front threes of all time. Not long after Messi ascended to the top of the game, Real Madrid acquired his closest rival. Ronaldo and Los Blancos were a constant thorn in Barcelona’s side with their own world class team, going on to win the Champions League four times in five years. During this period Spain’s national team were dominating the world, winning successive Euros with a World Cup in-between.

Throughout my most impressionable years, Spanish football was the envy of the world and since I am living here, I want to immerse myself into their football. I thought the best way to do so was to pick a team to support. Living in Madrid, the easy option would be to pick one of the most successful teams of all time, Real Madrid. That would be too easy. I could get behind Atletico, watch Diego Simeone every week screaming and grabbing his cajones on the sideline – that doesn’t sound bad.

On the other hand, I always wondered what it would be like to support an admittedly average team, someone who was never going to win a league. While most people at school supported the big teams there was always one brave person who supported a different team like West Ham, Charlton, Leeds, etc. Their experience as a football fan must have been so different to the rest of us, where a spirited semi-final loss could be the highlight of their decade. They might dabble with relegation one year and then cobble together a good team for a year before they are raided by a richer club. There would be plenty of miserable, bad days but they would be all worth for one massive win. Imagine the euphoria of your team beating someone that has ten times the amount of money you have, their left back is worth the same as your whole team. That’s why I have decided to support Getafe, a team just outside of Madrid city centre.

Last year Getafe had a largely disappointing season, finishing 15th in La Liga and crashing out of the Copa Del Rey in the second round. Maybe, it’ll be another year of struggles, flirting with relegation. It’s the what if that sounds tantalising; maybe this will be their year? I just happened to start supporting them as they shock La Liga. Now that sounds more interesting than half-supporting Real Madrid. Either way, I am in for the ride now. I’ve latched myself onto Getafe CF.

Have you always wondered what it is like to support an obscure team? You want to know if La Liga is as soft as someone on TalkSport would claim? Maybe you are curious to how someone with little to no Spanish navigates it all. I have got you covered. While Orwell and Hemingway wrote about their experiences of the Spanish Civil War, I will be writing about something much more important. A guiri (foreigner/tourist) and his foray into Spanish Football. Stay tuned for the trials and tribulations of Getafe in 2021/2022.

‘Til next time. Adios.

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