Aleeeee Real Murcia .....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Money trouble.....

Interesting article in today's La Opinion by Jose F. Ponce in regard to the club's precarious finances. Jesus Samper, the majority sharholder, said before the game in Gerona, that if the club were relagated that the administration process "would not be the worst of our problems". The club does have a years margin to commence payment of the debt contemplated when suspention of payments was made.

"In the worst case, the club won't have to start paying out -something it has to do over 5 years- until the second semester of 2011, this gives Samper enough time to return the team to professional football". The debt when the club entered administration, was 24 million euros. "However, this was increased a few months ago as Real Murcia have to pay 5 million euros compensation to the group of clubs known as the G-30, for a breach of contract when negotiating collective television rights".

"The total debt stands at 29 million euros, of which 17 corresponds to ordinary debt, 5 to the taxman, and another 7 to companies also owned by Jesus Samper".

The 5 million compensation.....although the club has to pay, this was something that Samper was personally responsible for, part of an ongoing personal battle with Javier Tebas, from the LFP (Liga de Futbol Profesional). Conspiracy theorists think that Tebas has many friends in the refereeing set up, and that our "bad luck" may be linked.... sum up, we are in the shit.....and we need an express promotion very urgently.

Group 4 of Segunda B.....

Finally today we know who we are up against next season. Not a very attractive list, you have to say....

X (Team X will be in place of Real Murcia Imperial, who are relegated due to Real Murcia being relegated to this division. It looks like this will be JUMILLA - also from Murcia region).

Despite most wanting us to be in the easier group 3 with team from Valencia, I can see nothing to be scared of. Our only mission is promotion, Anything else will be a complete disaster.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Final Straw ( warned!)

It can always get worse. But not much. Yesterday was the final straw.....when that pocket tank with an assasins face, Carlos Tevez scored his second goal, a well taken but fortunate goal against Mexico, I turned the telly off and promised not to watch another game until Real Murcia's first pre season outing.

Tevez collected the ball after a couple fluke rebounds...the ball just sat up perfectly in the perfect place. Just another example of the footballing gods laughing their heads off at us. And this after Tevez had scored a massively obvious six feet offside opener, that conditioned the rest of the game. They showed it as such by error on the big screen in the stadium. What was the linesman doing? Either scratching his arse, looking at a bird in the crowd, or this feet or the sky, eating a bag of nuts.....because to have missed this offside there is absolutely no way he was looking across the pitch.

Earlier....well....although England were well beaten, granted. I'm sure it would have been a different story if we had got back to 2 - 2, but, yep, another lineo had his head up his backside just at the wrong moment. I was already out on the patio rolling around screaming "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL" like an idiot before someone came out and told me the officials hadn't given it. WTF!!!!!!

Real Murcia were relegated after a ref gave a terrible last minute penalty decision.....the kick saved, but, there you go again, the ball, through spin and increbidle misfortune, trickling over the line. All season we were the victims of terrible officials. Every borderline goal against was given, every borderline goal scored was disallowed. Without exception. Opposition forwards were allowed to bundle our keeper...and this is 2010, not 1950. The number of lucky rebound goals against us was just unbelieveable...and our goals scored column should have been higher for the sheer quality of the ones we did score. No flukes. No borderlines.

Why are the decisions and fate favouring despicable cheats like Maradona and unsupported clubs like Girona? The Gods or fate we can't do much about, but it is high time that buffoon Blatter and his chum Platini realised that refereeing has plummeted to new depths, and that big decisions need to be out of their hands. Rugby, Cricket and even snooker (!) use technology......why the delay?

This is the worst World Cup ever, and by a massive stretch. Piss poor officials, poor play, a ball more apt on a beach that for a serious tournament, terrible pitches, world class chavs like Maradona getting all the luck....all topped with the sound of those bloody Vuvuzelas!!!!

Arsenal, England, Real Murcia.....uffff....what a year.

I'll get my coat.

Photos : Political correctness gone mad. Even the blind can officiate.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Know Your Enemy....

Photo : Original Cartagena FC badge (Efese).

Efese, FC Cartagena, Cartagena FC, Cartagonova.....o como pijo se llame. Be clear that the team that nearly gained promotion to Primera (FC Cartagena) IS NOT our historic "Efese" rival from Cartagena. This version was only founded in 1995, when they purchased a place in the territorial league from Balsicas. This is a Frankenstein club, cobbled together and shamelessly usurping from the agonizing original version Cartagena FC, just changing the position of the FC letters.

As Alejandro Oliva wrote in La Combina.....under the title "A Monstrosity that exites a whole city"..... "After a decade of projects for promotion to the second division, the young FC Cartagena finally made that step. On a June afternoon in Alcoy, the Cartageneros left behind the phantoms of Cordoba and Vecindario (two sides who denied Cartagena promotion at the last hurdle), and finally achieved the highest level for a side from Cartagena, the historic Cartagena Efese (founded 1919, but with some gaps). Because, despite the silence and indeed deception that the media and the majority of regional and Cartagena public opinion peddle, this team is, so that we all understand, a "Ciudad de Cartagena" (This is a reference to the team started in Murcia by Quique Pina, who tried to be a carbon copy of Real Murcia, copying even team colours and blackmailing politicians into giving them joint use of our old La Condomina stadium). This team started life as Cartagonova when it looked like the original Efese was dying in the 90's, searching for the sentimental and economic seam that could be left by the sick Efese. This was aggravated by, with the arrival in 2003 of the current owner, Paco Gomez, sentimental aremed mugging; he changed the name and the club crest, to make them the same as the older club which NEVER WENT OUT OF EXISTANCE and had recovered as a senior side in 2002. You can't inherit from someone who hasn't deseased. We always welcome all our neighbours, but never those who userp sentiments and club badges, elements that make football great and special".

So when someone supporting this club give you that bollocks about the EFESE name being inherited, you now know the real story. From between 600 to 1000 attending home games, now, only this successful season, are they getting 10,000. This is like the empty church that fills to the rafters for "Songs Of Praise", or the whole town that used to turn out for "It's a Knockout". They are on telly and want to wave and be seen and shout the name of their town and be noticed.....all spiced up with their historic victimism against the Murcian oppressor. Yes, politics in futbol. All year they have displayed the "Cartagena is not Murcia" slogan around grounds. Even when beating us, their "supporters" did not cheer their team's success, preferring to goad Murcia with "Murcia Murcia Shiiit" (unbelievably to the tune of Barcelona's club song), or to celebrate our lowly position. Their behavior on their last day capitulation against Albacete was a complete disgrace. Celebrating each of Albacete's goals that although not directly responsable, helped to relegate Real Murcia. However, there is a glimmer of light. One ashamed Cartagena supporter wrote a letter to the La Verdad paper...... "I was born in Cartagena, and am a member of Efese this year and last year, and also 20 years ago when we beat Hercules 0 - 3 with Boria, Naixes, Requena, Rai, Bartolo, Pedro and company; but last Saturday, at the game against Albacete, I finally realised that I should not be a Cartagenero. It was the worst display of how miserable people can be I have witnessed at a football match. It was a palpable demonstration of a city who's only possible pride is in what the Romans did 2000 years ago, and whose only possible happiness is the misfortune of the envied neighbour city, with double population, that is the capital of an autonomous community, the prosperous, happy and very lively city of Murcia.
It is difficult to express what you feel when your people cheer the goals scored by the opponent. The 0 - 4, which isn't authentic joy, but rather collective schizophrenia from born losers, mediocres and pure meanness. It was a shameless betrayal of colours, of sentiments and of the players. I could only remove my black and white kit and leave the stadium half an hour into the game. I feel sadness and shame. Cartagena has much more that the Cartageneros deserve".

I'll leave it at that.

Photo : New FC Cartagena the difference? Why build your own history when you can nick someone else's?

¿Escudero on the cheap? NO FKIN WAY!

With no details of the meeting of the Madrid based board being in the public domain, today we have a classic example of page filling when there is no news. Eva Franco, who's sole mission seems to be to beat Real Murcia down, wherever they are, in the pages of La Verdad, writes an article stating that Sergio Escudero will be the first player to leave the club. This may be the case, as Escudero has been one of the few successes of the season, and his youth, and the fact he is a left back, means he has attracted interest. Eva states that Villareal, Real Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia and Sevilla are the clubs that are chasing his signature.

Eva then (for me) makes a typical simpleton mistake. "A few months ago, a few first division clubs commented their interest in counting on his services. At that time, and despite no official version, it was rumored that the price would be around 3 million euros. After relegation, and given the difficult sporting and economic situation that the club is in, these numbers are not real any more, and it is possible that Escudero could leave for an inferior price".

She is thinking that as the club is in debt, there is going to be a clearance sale.....but she forgets that Samper himself is not bankrupt, far from it, he is a very wealthy man. Also, in economic difficulty, WHY SELL CHEAP and reduce your income? It's illogical. And if you have reportedly 5 teams wanting to sign him....even less so. I think the club should sit tight. Evidently Escudero won't want to be stuck in Segunda B, but the club must make the best deal for it's interests, and a fire sale of our prize asset does not make sense. A 3 million price plus extra cash on appearances or if Sergio becomes and international and a percentage of any future transfer.....that is what should happen, given the clubs precariuos situation. Give him away for 2 million....don't make me laugh!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meeting of Minds.....

“La Opinion” carries an interesting interview with central defender Sergio Fernandez. If we as supporters had the impression that some of the squad were not pulling their weight, then Sergio just confirmed it. “In this squad there has been little commitment and implication to have avoided relegation, because many players forgot that they were defending a historic club with more than 100 years of history”. “Simply, we can’t make any positive balance whatsoever; things have been done badly which have finally lead to us going down. In any case, we must be clear that we can only learn from this year, and must analyze what has been bad from the very start”. For me Sergio was one of the few successes of this season – and always seemed to give his all. “There is no doubt this was one of the worst moments of my career. I don’t think any of us can imagine the magnitude of this disaster. But not all is lost, in Murcia we can see that the team has a big following, and with that base we can work towards achieving new objectives in the short term”.

“El Faro” sarcastically points out that Real Murcia’s first steps for next season take place in Madrid (in clear reference to the fact the majority owner and most of the board are from Madrid). Jesus Samper has apparently convened his trusted friends, to start plan the lines of action for the new season. From this meeting it will be clear if the “profound restructure” that Samper has promised, will be only for the playing and coaching staff, or of the dead and incompetent wood will be removed from the board also. The fact that it seems the other directors, those appointed to give the board a more Murciano feel, are not invited. A big worry. Madrileños are noted in the rest of Spain for being Chulos (cocky), and this, if true, would be another show of distain towards the Murcian directors……and I wonder if some or all of them will not present their resignations and spill the beans on the goings on behind closed doors.

In La Verdad, the usually rancid and anti-murcia Garcia Granero reports that Jesus Samper has told Ramon Carabante (owner of the Hispania formula 1 team, based in Murcia) that the price for Real Murcia is 45 million euros. 30 to pay off debt, and 15 for his shares. Carabante said that “If I did want to buy, it wouldn’t be at that price”. According to the article, Samper informed Carabante “If someone wants to buy, fine, and if not, the guy who is staying put is me”. Carabante added that he saw Samper as “absolutely convinced that promotion back to the second division could be achieved in a year”.

Let’s see what the outcome of the meeting is……


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Just a couple of days after relegation, plans are already being made, for Real Murcia to obtain the record number of passholders for a club in second B, and to attempt to have a better attendance record than many clubs in the first division. We can do it. Saturday's events, however sad, seem to have galvanised people's support. Everyone is talking of renewal of season tickets and of getting a family member or friend to add their support. The YES WE CAN campaign should continue. Come is the time the club needs us, so be strong, be REAL MURCIA.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Same old Sam.....

An open letter from majority shareholder Jesus Samper.....

"After the frustration of last Saturday, which was the final point of a season that can only be described as disappointing, we have picked ourselves up and again worked to continue defending our club, and to change course towards new success.

Without doubt we have made errors this season, from which we have to take the necessary lessons in order not to reteat them. However we are not going to fall into the error of discussing them in public, but are working from now without losing a minute.

My commitment to the club remains intact, despite the fact that the same people as always try to install the fear of a possible abandonment, and the saviours who insist on looking for supposed alternatives to whatever, without a minimum of shame and ignoring the history of our club, in however many fruitless attempts they have tried, guided by dark interests and with one aim, to abandon the club to it's own fate.

I only ask that now is when we need to be united, because our enemies, be they polititians or from the media, come out with barefaced destructive opinion. the solutions can only come from those amonsgt us who really care for the club, capable of pulling together and making commitment.

With this unity our club will be strengthened, and as the principal shareholder, I an working now to construct the future, and no-one can bend our will, however they try.

Our club will begin a profound restructure with the aim of becoming strong both on the field of play and as an institution. The administration process will not be effected by the events on the pitch, despite the fact that it demands we adapt to it's restraints.

Finally I want to apologise to you all as the club's owner, but as I have said before, we are working for the future of our club, convinced that we will again be promoted, and always proud of our history and our stadium.


Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.........

For me he talks of learning from mistakes, and of unity, but then makes another massive mistake and provokes division by attacking the press and local politicians. That is a battle you can't win.

I hope the profound restructure includes seeing the back of the bunch of usless amigos and family members installed to the board. The complete lack of a leader to guide the players, give them a kick up the backside or a slap on the back....remind the few that heavy drinking and late nights aren't on, open dissent to the coach isn't either, or to come out and defend them after the horrific and premedited refereeing we have suffered, says a bundle about the supposed "commitment". They just don't get it. The evident indolence has, for me, had a negative effect on events on the pitch. If it is real change.....great.

Before the letter was published, Samper was already on a plane to South Africa (his company, Santa Monica, owns the advertising rights to the Spanish national team). So the immediate and unstinting work has gone on the backburner from day one then.....

Photo : Samper. Would you buy a second hand car from this man?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Girona 1 Real Murcia 1

Saturday 19th June 2010....a day I will never forget. The alarm rang at 4.30 a.m., although I was already awake - time to shower, dress, have a mug of tea, and generally get my stuff together. Short trip into town to our meeting place at the Palacio de Deportes. In the end there were 5 buses in total, number 5 being our allocated vehicle. The convoy departed at around 6 a.m., and made slow and steady progress. Despite it being early, it didn't take long before the ice boxes were opened, and the first few ice cold Estrella Levante beers were on the breakfast menu.

I found the time went quickly, thanks to Yayo - he had brought the Marca guide to the 95/96 season with him, and we had a quiz. Name me the Racing Santander full back? Who was the Rumanian who signed from Dynamo Bucharest for Sporting Gijon? Who had played most seasons at Compostela? These type of questions.....and I was amazed at the capacity of Milpitas and Elenzo to find the answers to the most obscure of questions. "For 500 Points, name the Badajoz manager.......and Englishman?". I knew this one....Colin Addison! The only one I answered!

Mid morning snack on the bus......dried sausage, lomo, salchichon, cheese, bread, more beer. Then the vino came out.....and the stories, and the singing. Then the ham. A whole leg.....with a very blunt knife. Before we knew it, it was 2.30 p.m., and we were passing Barcelona. Then the nerves. The closeness. Only 80 kilometers to go....70....60....30....15.....Girona. Police escort to a small parking place. Tickets were distributed....and then, with no opportunity to go anywhere due to Police cordon, into the ground at 5 p.m., 11 hours after leaving Murcia. The then rain came down. I was totally ill prepared.

Despite the fact Girona were also playing for survival (although their chance of getting relegated was only 1 out of 100) the ground was only half full. Approximately 400 Peppermen had made the trip, with a 0,5% English contingent (Steve and yours truly). The game started with Girona looking very relaxed, and Real Murcia took advantage of some generous defending to take the lead, Jose Luis Capdevila taking the chance. Then news started leaking through......Cartagena were as expected capitulating at home to Albacete (not even attempting to cover up, they were 4 nil down by half time). Rayo were winning. Las Palmas also. And Huesca. And Cadiz.....the impossible was happening, and if things stayed the same, Girona were taking their 1% chance of relegation, and Real Murcia were staying up.

The second half, and the hosts became desperate, but didn't really threaten until the last 15 minutes, where some heroic defending was needed. Time stood still...the hands on my watch in slow motion. Finally the assistant ref raised the board...I thought it would be 5 extra minutes, but no, only 3!

Then tragedy....Miguel Albiol judged very harshly to have fouled in the box. Oh no.....surely took about 2 minutes to organize the taking of the penalty, time for many of us to completely lose it. But there was worse to was a poor spot kick, Alberto dived correctly, we all thought we were saved....but by some twist of fate the ball span and rebounded off his heel and rolled agonizingly into the net. This being Murcia, it couldn't have happened in the 80th minute when you still have time to do something, no, now 94 minutes were gone....

The final whistle only confirmed the inevitable. I have not lived scenes like it....Girona fans invaded the pitch in celebration, some very cruelly baiting us. I have not cried over football since the 1979 F.A. cup final when Man Utd equalized against Arsenal (I was only 10) and had always seen the blubbers on telly as being soft. But this was so so cruel....seeing your mates distraught, sobbing, others just staring blankly, some hugging each other, an older lad and his little brother streaming with tears....Alberto, also visibly distressed, came over with hands together asking for forgiveness. NO need Alberto, you saved it. It welled up, a massive lump in the throat.....but I held it together...but only just. And it never stopped raining on us.....

After a few moments a lot of the older Girona fans came over and were decent enough to try and console some of the away fans who were laid out on the pitch. Scarves were swapped. We trudged the 300 yards or so back to the buses. It was bleak. 10 hours minimum of bus ahead of us. I think it was about 9.30 p.m. once we set off in the pissing rain.

The mood was as expected. Grim. Soaked and relegated and 710 long kilometers from home. Some of the younger fans were still in shock....there were more tears. At the first of four stops, we just milled about, not knowing what to do. But here is where Pepo from the Ultras came alive. Gin, Rum, tonic, cola and ice. And from then on he had us all in better spirits, not letting anyone get upset, going round the bus making sure everyone had a drink, and using his very quick wit to bring smiles to our faces. He had me and a few others in stitches! And this made us all start looking ahead.....which segunda B group will we be in, that it was only one season, we would be back. After the last stop he had a big 5 litre container of wine, and another bag of ice, and a load of empty coca cola paper beakers.....1908 vintage (Real Murcia's year of foundation), and everyone had a drink. More laughs, more was great therapy.

We arrived back in Murcia at 6.30 a.m. We lost a division. But I gained 7 or 8 new brothers. Sharing such an can say it was only a game, but it was powerful. Those who shed tears in Girona, at our lowest time, these are the people I will look for the next time there are 30,000 celebrating promotion at the Redonda in Murcia town centre. The Girona Band of Brothers.

Photo : Jokin, his brother, Yayo and explanation required.

I'm in no mood.....

....for anyone to come along and have a laugh and a joke at Real Murcia's expense. This morning my office door gives a clear warning....careful, enter to take the pisss....and you will get bitten!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Intolerable Cruelty.....

Yesterday was hard to take. But true to form, it was a dramatic, heartbreaking and horrific injury time penalty (a very soft one at that), saved by Alberto but fate dictated that due to a strange combination of spin, water and extreme misfortune, the like of which I have never seem in football, made the ball escape his grasp and roll agonisingly over the line, and confirm relegation.

Real Murcia are else loses like we do. Yesterday, if it happened in England, would have been front page and first images on the news. Mythical proportions. Folklore. In Spain, where anything except Real Madrid and Barcelona and the world cup is ignored and even ridiculed.....nothing, zero, not a mention......only figuring on the local news.

We'll have to see what the next few weeks bring.....the only positive reading right now is that relegation will mean a massive clearout of players and staff, and a new model can be introduced. I have to say that Uncle Sam has said he is going nowhere, but his style inspires no confidence whatsoever. Under his stewardship, we have gone from Primera to Segunda B in 3 years. He is too far away, too totalitarian, surrounds himself with friends and yes men....never comes out in defence of Real Murcia.....

After the game it was pretty desperate......the trip home lasted forever. Feel like going into hiding for a week.....or two.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bus number 6.....

Bus number 6.....together with 20 buddies from the unofficial forum, is how I will travel the 711 kilometers from Murcia to Girona.

One thing is sure ; Going out will be fun. Few beers, few jokes and stories, some singing, watch a couple of films, read a bit, Jamon, queso, few more beers, a nap, more singing, leg pulling, butterflies, nerves as we get nearer and nearer to Girona....then 6 p.m. will arrive.....and then nothing is sure.

The return bus trip if relegation is confirmed isn't worth thinking about.

So I wont. A win may mean my first tattoo, others have made promised far worse.

Happy days!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Long And Winding Road........

That leads to....Girona.

The whole season comes down to 90 minutes from 6 p.m. on Saturday. As a certain red faced Sir would say..."squeaky bum time" has well and truly arrived. The Montilivi stadium has a capacity of 7.000, of which they have given 10% to Real Murcia supporters. Girona are also in need of a point to be absolutely sure of safety, as defeat, allied to wins for Albacete, Las Palmas, Salamanca, Huesca and Cadiz would see them relegated. Sounds far fetched? This is Spain remember....and those 5 sides are playing against sides with nada to play for, expect for the briefcases full of fresh euro that seem to circulate freely at this time of year. The grease up for victory is considered a fair trade......but never for defeat....that is another thing completely.

A draw will almost certainly not be enough for us. However...I don't know why but I feel pretty confident we can get the result, and that somehow money will mean one of the 5 that need to win to relegate Girona will slip up, and come 8 p.m., everybody will be happy. I know overconfidence is a bad thing (Spain proved that yesterday), but I can see that the squad is concentrated and focused, rather than over confident, despite 3 wins from the last 3 games.

I am not sure how to get to Girona.....bus is about 10 hours each way, and I hate buses. It's a long drive. Maybe drive and stay overnight.....we'll see.

Butterflies. Shakes. Nerves. Definitively.......Squeaky bum time.

Photo : The infamous Maletin could be the most important player come Saturday.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

...Murcia are S***.....

I wrote this a few weeks ago, in Spanish, and posted on the unofficial fans forum (link on right). I thought it was worth translating and putting on the blog.

A boy of seven years old, well, almost 8, of English father and a Murciana mother, arrived home from school yesterday with a very sad face. Although his eyes were filled with tears, none fell as he tried his hardest not to cry.

Every morning he is the happiest boy you could meet, happiness in person. His mum sends him to school well dressed, hair combed, washed and scrubbed, as bright as a button. He always returns a mess….hair all over, one knee bloody and the other with a plaster, lots of bruises, and arms, legs and face covered in dust, but always just as happy as when he departed in the morning. He doesn’t waste a moment to be kicking one of his always punctured footballs around. And if none are at hand, a can or an empty water bottle will do. He even has a soft ball for use in the house, so nothing gets broken, and he is always getting his dad to play keepy uppy and see if we can better our record. When he tires, he switches his PSP on…..he has signed Cesc Fabregas for Real Murcia, he is always Real Murcia, every week he plays a game against our next rival, and real Murcia always win big (yesterday, Cadiz 2 Real Murcia 10). He has a Real Murcia season ticket and is a shareholder in the club, he was present at the first game at the New Condomina, and doesn’t miss a home game. This season he saw his first away game (at Castellon). It’s is very rare to see him at a weekend without a Real Murcia shirt on – his favorite, strangely, is the yellow away kit we used 4 seasons ago. It still fits, and he considers it to be a keeper’s jersey. When five (much to his mothers annoyance) he put the number 1 and the name Notario (our goalie at the time) on the back with a bic biro (which won’t wash out). If you find him in his bedroom doing his homework, you can hear him humming Real Murcia songs. Every day he asks me a question, like….¿Daaaaad, when Real Murcia played Valencia in the first division, who won? Or ¿Daaaad, have we ever played against Sporting Gijon?

He arrived home sad because the playground is a cruel place, and I feel guilty about it. You know….all the kids support Real Madrid or Barcelona. In his class only 3 boys support Real Murcia….and the other 2 have split allegiances, one for Barsa, one for Madrid. The same as some kids had, seeing my Real Murcia polo shirt at lunch in the Molinero restaurant the other day, some of the boys at school had ridiculed him with a song….”Murcia are shit, Murcia are shit….” Etc. etc.

My first thought was to tell him to let fly……fisticuffs, defend himself, and see who was the next bastard to say that Real Murcia are shit. But no, I’m an adult, and advising violence was never going to be the right thing. “Don’t worry son” I told him….”they may be shit, but they should know that they are our shit, and not somebody else’s shit that is 4 or 500 kilometers away”. Then I added….”ask them if they are going to have the front to support Spain in the world cup……they should be faithful to their style and support Brazil or Italy….Spain have been shit at all world cups, they should apply the same logic as they use to support Madrid or Barcelona”. Sorry if that upsets anyone…..but that’s how it came out.

Sometimes I regret having pushed him into being a Real Murcia fan, difficult as it is in Murcia. But look…..I think it’s a learning thing, to be tough, a good preparation for life, because as we know, it’s isn’t always a bowl of cherries and things don’t always work out…….and most of all, supporting Real Murcia is great, different, and honest.

This morning, having breakfast, he was flicking through his collection of Panini world cup stickers (which I have to say is excellent – except, as he told me, that the England crest wasn’t correct, as he knows that it is 3 Lions, and not the cross of Saint George – probably a copyright dispute). He told me he wanted to complete the whole album….except for Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. And off he went to school, just as happy as always…..only maybe a bit taller than the day before.

Photos : 1, Guiriboy and Guirigirl September 2008, and 2, more recently (before the Castellon game at home) with their cousin Daniel.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And If, You Know, Your History....(Part II)

The 90's were not the best of times to follow Real Murcia. Failure to gain promotion to the first division in 91, was followed by a finish in 11th place in 91-92, only to be relegated to Second B as the only club unable to convert into an SAD (Sociedad Anonima Deportiva); nobody took a step forward, no businessman, no polititians. 92-93 saw promotion and a return to segunda, but the following season was a disaster, and Real Murcia fell into segunda B again. Worse was to follow.....relegation to the fourth tier of Spanish football for the 95-96 season. It was only one season in hell....promotion back to segunda B was secured. The following 3 seasons were pretty dire, only once getting to the play offs that decide who goes up to segunda from the 4 segunda B divisions (so only 4 promotion places between 4 divisions). The 99-00 season arrived, and Real Murcia were there or thereabouts for a spot in the end of season playoffs.

Pepe Aguilar was a mid season signing from Merida - and immediately slotted in and won his place in the starting 11. On the last day of the regular season, Real Murcia were away to Figueras and in need of a victory to guarantee a play off place. I can't recall how the scoring went exactly, only that not until the last few minutes did Murcia get ahead, finally running out winners by 4 to 2, Enric Cuxart getting a vital goal.

The playoff system as of was then was on a league format between 4 teams. Each playing the other home and away. Real Murcia were drawn against Granada, Burgos and Mensajero (from the La Palma Island, part of the Canaries). Our first match was at Mensajero, and despite going behind, Murcia managed to claw the game back and score a winner near the end.

Second game against Burgos at La Condomina resulted ina 1 nil defeat. The return at Burgos the following week was one of Real's best performances, running out 2 - 1 winners.

Fourth game at home to Mensajero was pretty despaerate. mensajero were almost out of the running and Murcia were expected to win....the winning goal came in the second half, to the relief of all concerned.

This meant that realistically only Real Murcia and Granada could be promoted, and the last two games were between the 2, the first being at La Condomina. A win for Murcia would suffice to be promoted back to segunda.....but, we lost. Granada were better on the day.

So the last game at Los Carmenes in Granada was set up. Granada only needed a draw, Real Murcia a win. The game that unfolded is now engraved on any Real Murcia supporters memory for ever....including the longest 20 minutes in the history of the world (until last Sunday).

This is how hard it is to leave segunda B. This is why only victory on Saturday will do.

The 90's were not the best of times to follow Real Murcia. Failure to gain promotion to the first division in 91, was followed by a finish in 11th place in 91-92, only to be relegated to Second B as the only club unable to convert into an SAD (Sociedad Anonima Deportiva); nobody took a step forward, no businessman, no polititians. 92-93 saw promotion and a return to segunda, but the following season was a disaster, and Real Murcia fell into segunda B again. Worse was to follow.....relegation to the fourth tier of Spanish football for the 95-96 season. It was only one season in hell....promotion back to segunda B was secured. The following 3 seasons were pretty dire, only once getting to the play offs that decide who goes up to segunda from the 4 segunda B divisions (so only 4 promotion places between 4 divisions). The 99-00 season arrived, and Real Murcia were there or thereabouts for a spot in the end of season playoffs.

Pepe Aguilar was a mid season signing from Merida - and immediately slotted in and won his place in the starting 11. On the last day of the regular season, Real Murcia were away to Figueras and in need of a victory to guarantee a play off place. I can't recall how the scoring went exactly, only that not until the last few minutes did Murcia get ahead, finally running out winners by 4 to 2, Enric Cuxart getting a vital goal.

The playoff system as of was then was on a league format between 4 teams. Each playing the other home and away. Real Murcia were drawn against Granada, Burgos and Mensajero (from the La Palma Island, part of the Canaries). Our first match was at Mensajero, and despite going behind, Murcia managed to claw the game back and score a winner near the end.

Second game against Burgos at La Condomina resulted ina 1 nil defeat. The return at Burgos the following week was one of Real's best performances, running out 2 - 1 winners.

Fourth game at home to Mensajero was pretty despaerate. mensajero were almost out of the running and Murcia were expected to win....the winning goal came in the second half, to the relief of all concerned.

This meant that realistically only Real Murcia and Granada could be promoted, and the last two games were between the 2, the first being at La Condomina. A win for Murcia would suffice to be promoted back to segunda.....but, we lost. Granada were better on the day.

So the last game at Los Carmenes in Granada was set up. Granada only needed a draw, Real Murcia a win. The game that unfolded is now engraved on any Real Murcia supporters memory for ever....including the longest 20 minutes in the history of the world (until last Sunday).

This is how hard it is to leave segunda B. This is why only victory on Saturday will do.


Photo : Celebration at the Redonda in Murcia.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Real Murcia 1 Las Palmas 0

Photo : Chando, pure number 9, what a fine fellow.

3 down, 1 to go. Finally Real Murcia peek over the relegation zone, only by a point, and other results mean that we must win again at Gerona next weekend to be safe. A draw may be enough, but depends on too many other results to be a real posibility. Gerona, after defeat at Albacete, also need a point to guarantee safety, so the game will be very similar to yesterdays clash at the New Condomina.

Pre match was a paella (rabbit and snails - sounds horrid, tastes fantastic) cooked on a wood fire at Casa Herminio, just a couple of hundred yards from home. Then on to Krunch at the New Condomina shopping centre, large gin and tonic please. Atmosphere was building nicely, despite the general sense of nerves and in some cases sheer terror at the thought of Segunda B. Alcohol helped and a bit of singing eased the tension.

Excellent attendance of 21.145 of which only 3 or 4 were from Las Palmas....and the crowd responded very well to the circumstances of the game, especially when most needed the last 15 minutes when the visitors created a couple of chances. Once again it was Chando who scored another vital goal, taking advantage of a through ball from Bruno on 22 minutes. He had another chance before scoring, but seemed to be bundled over before getting a shot away. Could have easily been a penalty, but the ref waved play on. Aquino forced Pindado into a great save with a close range header, and by half time Real Murcia were well worth the one nil score.

Second half started with another penalty claim waved away. Aquino clearly beat Pindado to the ball, and received a blow to the head in return.....a stick on pen....which the referee again turned down, at the same time as he waved Real Murcia's medical staff on to attend to the stricken Aquino. How does that work? Murcia pressed hard to increase their advantage, but came up against an inspired keeper and some last ditch defending. The last 10 minutes lasted an eternity (I think my son asked me about 20 times how long there was to go), and Las Palmas sub Rondon had a couple of half chances....but the crowd really got behind the team, and with that kind of atmosphere it is hard to lose. There was delirium at the final whistle - another final won, only tempered by the news that other results mean we have to win our last game to be sure. The "SI SE PUEDE" (Yes we can) shouts resounded around the stadium, followed by the chatter of fans making plans for an invasion of Gerona. The Guiris will be there!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Leave the bird food at home.....

18.00 hours, Nueva Condomina, Real Murcia - Las Palmas.

Part 3 of what, just 2 weeks ago, seemed an impossible dream. The 2 previous victories mean absolutely nothing today, and a defeat will almost certainly mean relegation. A win will almost certainly guarantee survival.

El Faro reports the Real Murcia are reborn, after putting together 2 wins after 8 games without a victory. Jose Gonzalez, our manager, said that the game was "a real final, no way back and no margin for error". "We will have to carry the weight of the game, just like against Celta and Elche, games in which we generated many goalscoring situations, and we will have to take our chances". Las Palmas coach Paco Jemez said his team were treating the game as if "there was no other game" and remarked that they would "not let this oportunity pass by".

La Opinion leads with "Murcia plays it's last card" and a typically rancid article from Ernesto Fernandez. What on earth the fact that we have the 5th highest budget in the division has to do with todays massive game, and from a local paper, is beyond me. When all is said and done will be the time to point fingers and demand responsability, not now. The usually harmful Eva Franco's title in La Verdad is much more apt on a day like this...."The Road to Salvation".

I expect us to line up the same as against Celta and Elche; Alberto between the posts, De Coz, Sergio Fernandez, Iñaki Bea and Sergio Escudero in defence. Midfield of Albiol, Bruno, Mejia and Capdevila, with Aquino and Chando up front.

Not a game for the faint hearted. The new Condomina expects a big attendance, as the club have let season pass holders purchase as many tickets as required at the price of 5 euros. Yesterday there were long queues, and it is reported that as many as 5,000 have already been sold. If all the passholders actually turn up (and they have regularly not done so, at least on the South stand where I sit), we could be talking of 20,000 plus.

I just hope that the occasional fans realize the importance of the game and really get behind the team. All too often they arrive with their demands of Real Madrid proportions (transferring expectations from their real team to Real Murcia). The Pipa munching hoards should leave the bird food at is the day the 11 Peppermen need 101% full and inconditional backing from everyone, it is the day that the cretin who sits near me and always whistles in criticism for Real Murcia and never the rival, needs to wake up and be on the refs and the oppositions case, and back the team he supposedly supports.

I now refuse to talk until 6 p.m., voice saving mode.


Photos : The South stand as it should be, and Pipas. I hope they make you choke.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Taking my mind off Sunday....

11th game day, Second division, season 1989-90. Old La Condomina stadium. Real Murcia - Figueras. One of those games that in the memory of Real Murcia supporters would be easy to forget, and to this day I have not come across anyone that does remember it. Early Season, the team, just relegated from the first division, was struggling to adapt to life in Segunda, just as I was struggling to adapt to life in Murcia.

My place of work had organized digs for me, a small, one bedroom flat in Calle Argilico, a small dead end street off Acisclo Diaz. On my second night, by 3 a.m., I had already decided to leave Murcia.

I had arrived the previous afternoon, to San Javier airport via Barajas. San Javier in those days was little more than a couple of outbuildings, not the (still inadequate) Terminal there is now. I can remember descending the steps of the Aviaco jet and being hit by the heat, and the completely cloudless sky. Needless to say London was drizzle on leaving. This was early September, and in Murcia, the Feria was in full swing. I stayed the first night at the Siete Coronas Hotel, protected by double glazing, air conditioning and a full mini bar. The second night was different. Strange new surroundings. Hot, very hot, oooo it was kin hot, and I slept with the window wide open. Noise. The bedroom backed onto....well it backed onto other blocks of flats...this wasn't my nice isolated bedroom in my parents nice big detached house. At around midnight, neighbours who’s flat backed on to mine, decided to have a blazing row, the kind of row I had never experienced, shouting, accusations, plates breaking, tears. At 1 a.m., the Feria erupted just after I close my eyes, into one of the biggest, noisiest firework displays I have ever seen. At 2 a.m., the heat was too much, and sweating like a pig, I gave up and went to watch telly, sure that in less than a week I would be gone. The next night was better; I had been shopping, arranged the flat more to my liking, and had a better night....

I was aware if a football team in Murcia, as I had been in Chile for some time, and in Chile their pools are with Spanish football results. I had seen those orange coloured signs pointing towards the "Estadio La Condomina". I had followed the team’s poor start in the press, and had my first contact with people’s feelings towards the club; in the office, people supported Barcelona, Real Madrid......¿What about Real Murcia? My question....made colleagues look at each other and smirk, and exchange elbow nudges. "Oh, Murcia is shit"...."Oh Juan Garrido has no shame"....."oh the players are very very bad"....

Anyhow, my weekend plans in London nearly always revolved around Highbury and Arsenal away games. There was a club in Murcia, the stadium was walking, naturally, on the 11th game day, I took the plunge and queued at the taquilla for a ticket for Real Murcia v Figueras. I can't remember how many pesetas it cost. I know it was the cheapest available, on the Lateral. The ticket had a row number and seat number. Used to England, and being a proper "guiri" I looked for row numbers, and could see none. I looked for seat numbers, and these were occasional. I asked and people either pointed towards the south end, or just laughed. I found by seat on the corner of Lateral and South. It was a slab of concrete, hard, deteriorating, and still warm from the sun. The game was a complete disaster for Murcia. Figueras went 0 – 4 up. The fans were restless, waving handkerchiefs and any other articles of clothing….I didn’t know the significance. Lots of “Fuera! Fuera!”. Murcia got one back late on….but nobody celebrated. But, strange enough, I was hooked.

The following home games were dire……until we managed to scrape a draw against Levante. I remember vaguely that Daniel Aquino equalized with a magnificent free kick very late on after Levante went 0 – 2 up. The games were an education, in that the fans were more likely to be on the player’s backs than actually supporting. I can remember one player, Eugenio, who had the misfortune to be from Torre Pacheco, and one old gent consistently suggested should “go back to picking melons”. Forwards Aquino and Comas were “drunks”…..others didn’t fare much better. There were some decent players….Perez Garcia, Abellan the goalie, fans favorite the enormous Juanjo, and my personal favorite, midfielder Ricard. After the Levante draw the club went on a decent run and finished mid table.

The following year, I think, still haunts all Real Murcia supporters that can remember it. We were a sure bet for promotion but fell apart. Last game loss to Deportivo put us into a promotion play-off against Real Zaragoza……another loss, and the decade that followed were some of the clubs lowest points.

The first night and the first game are almost 21 years ago. I think it may be obvious that I stayed!


Photo : The Old Condomina. Sniff!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And if, you know, your history....(Part 1)

The origins of Real Murcia are far from clear. It is taken that the club was formed in 1908 (hence 2008 was our centenary year), but there are serious doubts as to the veracity of this date.

At the start of the last century, (without any official documentation of it’s existence) the Association Murcia Foot Ball Club arrived. This has no relation, however, the Murcia Foot Ball Club from 1906 founded by the Menoyo brothers. Of these 2, Murcia Foot Ball Club prospered for some years, and the Association version ceased to exist. This club had many difficulties to survive, and faded away at the end of 1919. On the 28th of February 1920, a new society is formed ; Recreativo Levante de Murcia.

It is unclear who was the first president, it is thought to be Mr. Ramon Cremades, but there are doubts, but this señor was involved in the clubs creation. In 1922 the club changes it’s name to Murcia Futbol Club, and in 1923 obtains a royal order to be denominated REAL Murcia FC (the reason for the crown that appears at the top of our club crest).

It seems clear that Reacreativo Levante de Murcia was a descendent of Murcia Foot Ball Club (supposedly formed in 1908, but again other dates are quoted), but not 100% the same company, hence the confusion.

Thanks to Quique Baeza and his blog.....most info from there.

Proud and humble footy.....

Excellent article this morning in La Verdad (can you imagine a newspaper called “The Truth”?) by ex captain Juanma Valero, which echoes my thoughts on the Spain – Poland game and it’s insignificance compared to the Real Murcia – Las Palmas clash on Sunday.

“Now that Spain’s insignificant kickabout is done, let the football start. Real football. Not the one of camera flashes and occasional supporters doing the Mexican wave, but of proud and humble football. Real Murcia and Las Palmas with relegation to Segunda B at stake, to avoid playing at places that Cesc Fabregas doesn’t even know exist. I can’t deny that Spain’s game could be a nice starter, the olives before the steak. But on Sunday evening, the Nueva Condomina will have staged 2 games in less than seven days, and only one of them will have mattered. In play, Real Murcia’s survival in the second division, and who knows if something more important.”

The situation is clear. Las Palmas have 48 points. Real Murcia has 46. If we beat them we go above them in the table. The fact that Huesca (46 points) play Cadiz (47 points) also means that Murcia will go above either of those teams, or both in case of a draw and a Murcia victory. There is also a Cordoba (49 points) against Real Union (46 points) that will either see Cordoba safe or Real Union in real trouble. I expect Gimnastic (48 points) to guarantee safety against Elche, and Albacete (46 points) to overcome Gerona who, with 51 points, seem to be safe. Salamanca (48 points) have a difficult home game against Betis, who must win in their race for promotion. As Castellon are already down, there are 9 teams for 3 places. Real Murcia’s last game is at safe Gerona……where I’m sure, if we only needed a draw, it could be “arranged”.

Uncle Sam Samper gives a boring interview in La Opinion, basically discussing his conflicts with the local council. As if we could care this week. With the new stadium, built by Samper but municipal property, not having an agreement for exclusive use by Real Murcia, the club has not been able to use the facility for other events, or develop the surroundings to generate further match day revenue. Of course Uncle Sam isn’t happy, and is pressuring to get these negotiations moving. He states (probably rightly) that if results on the pitch were better, the relationship with the authorities would probably be better. And that he wants the city to dedicate some land so that he can develop a training facility that the club desperately needs.

Photo : Uncle Sam chugs away....


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The build up continues.......

Wednesday. D-day minus 4……I’m trying not to think about Sunday’s game. Win and we are 75% safe, lose and we are 99% relegated.

Plenty of build-up in today’s press. El Faro has Miguel Albiol taking the pressure off by saying that Sunday’s crunch match is “the most important of the season. For us it is like the world cup final”. Albiol is convinced that our support will play a big part, saying that he was sure the fans would not miss this vital game and that “they will give us that plus that we need to win the game”.

La Opinion reports that Sergio Escudero is unlikely to be transferred at the end of the season, as the club has yet to receive any offers. Given our precarious finances, and Sergio Escudero being our best young player, it was expected he would move on for a reasonably large fee (he has another 2 years on his contact with Real Murcia). A left footed left back is a bit of a rarity, there was talk of even Real Madrid being interested. The lad also has a huge Rory Delap-like throw in… expect Stoke City to sweep in and take him to the Premier league. I hope we can hold on to him, as, if we stay up, he could be a big part of a promotion chasing, more “home grown” Real Murcia squad next season. La Opinion also report that the Peppermen have “180 more minutes in intensive care”, and detail how we do depend on our own results, but that we cannot afford to drop a single point from the 6 still to play for.

Photo : Sergio Escudero....staying?

La Verdad carry comment from the club’s owner, Jesus Samper. “it is a very important game, and we must support so that the team can continue winning. I will back them as much as I can, just like any other Murcianista”. He has blind faith that Real Murcia can stay up….”not because I am especially optimistic, I am a realist in respect of the capacity that our team has to win the game”. About the players he comments that “They are totally conscious of everything that is in play. The know they have to give the maximum and have the maximum dedication”.

Photo : Samper without a cigarette. Has he given up?

Marca today offers comments from Las Palmas player David Gonzalez. Las Palmas are 2 points above Real Murcia, and with defeat or a draw could still save themselves from the drop with a win in their last game. Gonlazez says “I would never settle for a draw. Even if we lose we are not relegated, and it is Real Murcia that are really playing for everything. “We should know how to play this game, and I am sure we will win”. In reference to Real Murcia he said “it’s their last bullet, they have to give everything”.

Nerves, tension, butterflies. Thinking of taking up Yoga.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Football, or cult of personality?

Tonight, Murcia and the Levante area in general will be fully behind the Spanish national side, who play their last preparation game for the World Cup at the Nueva Condomina against Poland. It will be packed. Everyone will be dressed in red. Everyone will shout for Spain. Atmosphere. Inconditional support. For a sparring, a friendly, a game in which neither team has anything at stake, and no player will want to take the risk of injury before departing for South Africa. Boredom guaranteed. Why bother? Yesterday, Spain's training session attracted more supporters to the stadium than most competitive Real Murcia games over the last 2 seasons. Will these same people, supposedly real football supporters, again fill the stadium on Sunday with the colour red, the shouts, the atmosphere and inconditional support, for a life or death match, a real battle, a game where both teams have survival at stake, and will risk everything to obtain the massive 3 points on offer?

Sorry to say but, in Murcia, the majority see football as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Spain, and not much else. Seeing Xavi make two passes or Sergio Ramos adjusting his alice band, is more futbol than 11 Peppermen fighting for survival. I have to ask if Real Murcia's lack of success is directly related to a historical lack of general support?

I could have gone tonight, but won't. It means absolutely nothing. Sunday is full of meaning. A six pointer. As the article in today's El Faro paper said, sunday's game is "no apto para cardiacos" .... if you have heart trouble....don't go.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Real Murcia - Las Palmas......get in cheap!

The date is set, Sunday (13th) at 6 p.m., at the Nueva Condomina. It's a massive game for both clubs. All Real Murcia season ticket holders can purchase as many tickets as they please at a price of 5 if you want to go, Sunday is the day to do it, as you will have no trouble getting in cheapo...i'll get as many entradas as are needed for any brits that get in touch. Seeing a tense game with plenty at stake, in the best stadium (if not the biggest) in Spain.....priceless, and you may even catch the bug.

Elche 1 Real Murcia 2

I think this was my sixth visit to Elche…’s an away game I like as it’s only half an hour away. This season was by far the best, as we lunched at Santa Pola at the “Mar De Cristal” restaurant, just 10 minutes away from the Martinez Valero stadium. Lots of toast with garlic and tomato, quisquilla prawns, red prawns, followed by 2 types of rice…..negro and abanda. All washed down with Rioja…..”Bai Gorri”. The superb grub and excellent vino really got us in the mood. Surprised at the very low attendance given Elche still had chances of promotion, but really happy at the large and vociferous band of Real Murcia supporters squeezed into a small section of the otherwise closed off upper tier of the stadium. If only the support at our own patch was as good as the away fans, who gave their all (as expected, given the nature of the game)…..even when Elche equalized, they didn’t stop, willing and pushing the team towards goal. No Madrid or Barsa kit spotted amongst us……little by little we are getting there.

Our goals were scored by Dani “Torito” Aquino and Alejandro Torres “Chando”. The second was debatable offside, but the linesman had already ruled out a legal score, again by Chando. And it’s about fkin’ time we had a bit of luck with the officials…… they have consistently turned us over an shafted us all season, so balls to it, we got one back just at the right time. A lot of nerves and gnashing of teeth when scores were level, but a massive outpouring of relief at the final whistle. 2 down, 2 to go. Nice to visit Elche without incident……last 2 visits have involved baton wielding police and stone throwing youth. But's all part of the fun.

Photo : Murcia's number 9. Keep it going Chando, theres a good chap!

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place......

Just 2 short weeks ago it was all over. Doomed. 4 games remaining, 4 points adrift and make that 5 if we include the goal difference versus our main rivals for survival. "Segunda B" and an uncertain future seemed sure. But....Real Murcia is a Born Survivor......and 6 points from 6 against Celta and Elche have rekindled hopes. But we are far from be sure we need another 6 points from the visit of Las Palmas to the Nueva Condomina, and out trip to Girona. The Las Palmas game is make or break, do or die, the most important game of the last decade or so. Full support required. I believe....YES WE CAN!

The beginning......

Be patient with me.....I'm a complete novice, this is my first attempt at blogging. My attempt to use up some time, and keep any interested Brits or English speaking locals up to date with news and views on the Pimentoneros (The Peppermen) in their eternal battle with mediocrity. But we love em'......and one day, one day, we will rise above it. There will be no news about Real Madrid or Barcelona on this blog.....they will only be mentioned in criticism. There will be Efese bashing. This is about real spanish footy and my experience of it following a real team. Let's see if I can keep it maintained.....i'll try.....