Archive for February 8th, 2011
Rising Through The Haze, Armada Sur Head Home Via Avila And Madrid

There was no early church service for the Armada Sur, honest we would have, it was mid morning as we emerged from our after celebration slumbers, you can’t let a 2-1 away win in Salamanca go unmarked. First shock of the day, if you ignore the horrendous hangovers, was finding that Gordon (AKA The Moron) had fallen over (damm unsteady those local streets) the night before and had paid a visit to the hospital for 4 stitches above his eye. That was in the second group across town, myself and Andy did a zombie walk down the road from the hotel for a coffee at a service station but both found a chocolate pastry too much to stomach and left them part chewed. At least we managed a chuckle as we found a bizarre statue to pose with, clearly someone had more warped minds than us.

The General turned up in reception looking like Keith Richards on a bad day and we headed into town to meet the others, obviosly we didn’t mock our injured comrade Gordon in any way at all, even if he looked like Rocky 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. All safely gathered aboard the trusty mini bus we set off for Madrid with a half way stop at Avila penciled in. There had been some suggestion of taking in a Tercera Division game in the small historic town but with an eye on seeing the Chelsea v Liverpool game in Madrid we just took a meal break.

Avila is stunning, a medieval fortress wall embraces the town and after food we drove inside the battlements and had a quick poke around the plaza (above) and cathedral. One of the big pluses of popping over to CD Tenerife away games is the chance to taste some of Spain’s history, the cathedral was built in 1095 and is surrounded by a pride of stone lions. Looking up to the buttress’s I could see and hear large storks that had nested on the turrets, they were huge, no use offering them a bag of crumbs and a bit of bacon fat, they looked capable of swooping down and stealing a small child – we kept a close eye on The General.

The wheels of the bus were soon going round and round again as we neared Madrid close to kick off on the TV game, The General headed to the hotel after dropping us off near a Metro (underground) station. It just happened to be by Real Madrid’s impressive Bernabeu Stadium, DJ Johnny looked a little conspicuous in a CD Tenerife track suit top but it was several hours before Madrid’s home game with Real Sociedad – and no I wasn’t even tempted to go. Madrid is a great city and the Metro is just one euro for any journey, we had to change at Tribunal and Johnny our resident scouser peeled off to watch the match with the Madrid Reds at their Cavern look alike, The Tavern. The rest of us emerged at Sol, the city centre Metro stop and took the side street to our regular haunt the O Connell Street Bar, a big popular sports bar where the order of the day is a bucket of Coranita beers packed in ice and large baskets of crisps to tuck into.

Liverpool’s win merged into another victory for the local white menace, then with a ridiculously early wake up in mind and Johnny back with a contented look on his face, we adjourned to the local kebab house for a suitably greasy nosh up. This is another part of the Madrid ritual in a food house that features a large painting of a horse on the wall – they didn’t did they? Time for a bus back to our Hotel Torre Laguna, and like the Metro the bus was also just one euro. I grabbed a couple of late beers at the bar before kipping down for just over 3 hours only to rise like a zombie for our return trip to the airport to return the minibus and pile onto the plane. A gorgeously sunny Tenerife morning welcomed our return to the island blinking in the light like pit ponies that hadn’t gone to Specsavers. Good company, good fun and good grief a win, now for the rest of the season.

White Snow, Red Card And Blue And White Fun As CD Tenerife Win At Salamanca

Like a bizarre new version of the A Team the Armada Sur minibus inched its way out of Madrid airport car park, B.A and the boys would have been making impressive weapons out of scratch but we would have settled for working out how to open the windows. Never mind, it was cold outside so we settled for snug and warm as we headed up north to the snowy hills on the way to Salamanca. The two and a half hours trip passed pretty quickly especially after we loaded up with beer at a petrol station stop, it was like christmas for them as we plundered the expensive cans soaked up with nosebags of crisps and doughnuts – well it’s good to have a balanced diet.

We had alaready lost Tolf at the airport, his residencia was out of date and a couple of hundred euros to book a new flight would have dwarfed the mere 10 euros we paid for the Ryanair return trip. There was a hopeful mood as the snow in the Salamanca fields became deeper and the mountain range glistened in the sun. Arriving an hour before the game we headed straight for the ground, parked up and hit the nearby bar, it was small and basic but we spilled outside as more and more CDT fans joined the pre match jolly with some good natured locals enjoying our songs and antics.

It got a lot colder inside the ground but we had a good spot just behind the goal close to the pitch with just a few stewards seperating the near 200 Tenerife fans from the touchline. It was an encouraging start, Bertran looked more comfortable and tested the home side early on with a raid down the right. Salamanca had lost 8 games on the bounce but surprised us with Moraton heading home after 25 minutes, making the most of a hesitant defence. Kitoko was making his debut in the holding midfield slot and looked strong and purposeful but Luis Garcia in goal had a few juggling moments to keep us on our toes. Pablo Sicilia is on hot form and on the half hour he rose majestically to head in an equaliser, bringing a noisy response from the travelling chicharreros.

Tenerife looked more confident and had the better of the second half, Alvarez came close to beating Bernabe in the home goal and Natalio wasted the best chance of the game. New striker Igor was on the bench but coach Tapia was in no hurry to use him, Sicilia is revlling in his new role as a goal scorer and after a poor attempt to clear from a corner launched himself at the ball and headed it into the net. The home fans turned on their team and coach as our fans grew louder with the players clearly enjoying the support. Salamanca responded by bringing on ex Pio Marcos Marquez, my how we enjoyed taunting him, even better as he was clearly riled by it. Holding on to a lead has been a problem and when Kikoto was sent off for a second yellow card after 79 minutes every tenerife bum was squeaking. Coach Tapia clamped down the defence by bringing on Melli and Juanlu for Alvarez and Nino and it did the trick, the final whistle spawned a crescendo of noise from our blue and white sector as the players and Canarian media flocked to share our joy.

Leaving the stadium in full cry we were rudely interupted by a small gang of home nutters armed with flares and home made batons but thankfully they were repelled by our more vigilant fans. Even that could’t dampen the mood, we regrouped and caught our mini bus to the Hotel Recoletos for a quick check in, change of clothes and out on the town. On the way in earlier we had already been impressed with the beauty of the viaducts general layout of Salamanca and with our local guide Juanma we combined sight seeing with drinking. It’s a big student city and had a vibrant feel to it, Plaza Mayor was a wonderful ornate and stylish centre piece and provided a great first floor window view froma posh bar restaurant where we watched the Barcelona game. A tour around the back streets around the cathedral impressed us all even in our lubricated state. Karen needed a toilet stop so we dived into a small non descript bar only to find it bouncing with Tenerife fans.

We knew this was the place for us as our feet stuck to the floor and they played some fine tunes including The Smiths. By this stage our original group had fragmented with some relocating nearer to Juanma’s family home. It was around 3am that I headed back to the hotel via a kebab shop, well we had to eat eventually. Poor Andy my room mate was serenaded by my gold medal snoring as I went into an instant sleep, elsewhere the night still had more surprises.