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 distance....so, 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!
Posted by Guiri at 9:11 PM