Archive for August, 2016
Seven Seas Explorer Sizzles With Style In Tenerife

If your aspiring to be the World’s most luxurious cruise ship, being 54,000 tons, 223 metres long, and costing 450 million dollars is just a start. Seven Seas Explorer prides itself on attention to detail and those added flamboyant touches. As the 14 decks loomed over me on Santa Cruz dockside, its lower hull was being power sprayed and roller painted to ensure it looked as good as when it was launched in Monaco barely two months ago.

Where the new addition to the Regent fleet scores biggest is on personal attention, 750 guests is a modest number for top cruisers these days but with 540 crew, service is prompt, and I soon noticed, delivered with a chatty informality rather than curt efficiency. There are no cabins on this ship, just 14 different categories of suites, all with larger balconies than their rival companies. Captain Stan de Lacombe hosted a small gathering in the 11th deck Observation Lounge with its low sloping ceiling, a central dance floor, and a highly varnished grand piano with Santa Cruz harbour wall and the open sea stretching ahead through the large wrap around windows. The French born captain referred to happy memories of his only previous visit to Tenerife 15 years ago when he hired a car and explored.

I was itching to see more of the ship, our guide led us past the Culinary Kitchen where guests can take lessons in regional cuisine, the ships excursions also include a chance to sample local specialties at each port. There were 13 different Tenerife excursions on the form I picked up, most of the guests and many of the crew had poured off the ship earlier so the large pool and Jacuzzi area was fairly quiet. On the top level they have a golf putting green , shuffleboard, and even a tennis court. For the less energetic there are plenty of rest zones or the outside terrace of the La Veranda café, even with the heavy calima hanging over the capital, Santa Cruz was looking good down below. For those taking a break from the sun, the library further down the ship offered deep luxurious leather chairs for a spot of reading. Someone had put a lot of effort into printing off and clipping together the recent days newspapers like New York Times, The Washington Post, and London’s The Times, pointers to the dominant nationalities among the guests.

Foodies have plenty of choices, Prime 7 offers an America steakhouse menu with subdued lighting, Frank Sinatra was crooning via the speakers when I popped in, and a floor to ceiling wine cabinet along one wall promised a vast choice. Art is a prominent feature all over the ship, in Prime 7 they can boast three Picasso’s. Compas Rose is the main dining area, chandeliers are another ship wide feature and here they have a sea blue wave complimented by golden sea urchin clusters. Dinner services offer another touch of class, the plates in Compass Rose are designed by Versace. Our guide dispelled any thoughts of restrictive dress codes “we are fairly informal beyond no jeans, shorts, and flip flops, jackets and ties aren’t required but many guests choose to make a big effort to match the setting of the Compass Rose”.

Here come those chandeliers again, the two floor reception lounge with it’s sweeping staircases is centered around a glittering teardrop of light and glass. Other lounges connecting the main distractions burn brightly with opulence reflected in the intricately tiled floors. With so much daytime shore leave the ship bursts into full social mode in the evening, the Constellation Theatre with lavish shows and the casino with the lure of the tables are just some of the diversions. I know your wondering how much all this costs, I couldn’t find a price guide for this part completed 11 day cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona but a future nine day voyage popped up on the net from 3,999 dollars. If you want to find out about future cruises and booking go to  . Lanzarote was next stop on the schedule for this grand lady but I’m sure she will be gracing Tenerife with her stylish prescience soon.



Uncomfortably Numb After Nano Bombshell

Laughing, singing, and guzzling Dorada. What a happy bunch the Armada Sur were before the first home league game v Sevilla Atletico. But then news began to filter through that La Laguna born Nano would not be returning from injury but would be leaving CD Tenerife to join Primera division Eibar for 3.2 million euros. Ninety minutes later heads were down but bottles still up after a poor 1-1 draw including 69 minutes with a man advantage.

There was some joy left to us pre game, Choco Lozano was back from Olympic duty with Honduras – albeit before racking up more air miles to return home for World Cup qualifiers. Cristo Gonzalez started as Choco’s strike partner but the first chance fell to Sevilla’s Matos who drilled his shot straight into Sani Hernandez waiting arms. Raul Camara made a strong interception to snuff out another attempt and his ball up to Cristo looked like setting up a home chance but he was crowded out by defenders. The last thing Tenerife needed was an unforced error but that’s what happened, Cotan couldn’t believe his luck when Jorge made a soft half attempt at a tackle that gifted the ball to the Sevilla player who placed it perfectly in the back of the home goal after 19 minutes.

Maybefate was going to even out, visiting striker Ivi forearmed Raul Camara over and then stamped on his leg, the red card couldn’t have come out of the refs pocket quick enough. There wasn’t any significant shift in the balance of play, Aitor Sanz recovered well to mop up his own mistake in losing the ball and Choco tested the Sevilla keeper but it remained 0-1 at half time. Choco put the ball the wrong side of the post just after the break and. Marc Crosas took over from Aitor Sanz adding his impressive distribution of the ball from midfield, Cristo had a couple of decent attempts but it wasn’t quite coming off. Choco gave us a sight of the gold medal when he slotted home a Cristo pass for a 67 minute leveler, surely the win would now come. Ale Pipo replaced Alex Garcia and despite looking a little out of his depth he gave plenty of effort.

Choco and Cristo worked hard to try to break the deadlock, Choco got up well to a high ball only to have it snatched away by an alert Soriano in the Sevilla goal. The keeper was willing to use any means possible to repel Tenerife, already booked he continued to blatantly waste time as the game went on, the ref resisted the urge to give him a deserved second yellow. Inaki did his late push on the left sending in teasing crosses and corners, Cristo in particular wasted a couple. The game fizzled out into a 1-1 draw leaving the 7,959 crowd praying that Nano’s transfer money is put to good use before the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month.

Tina And Bobby And Oxford City

When Rivelino introduced himself to me, before a CD Tenerife home game, I was staggered at how deeply he had drunk from the fountain of youth. Of course it wasn’t the 70 year old wizard from Brazil’s football giants of the 1970’s but Joe Roscoe who is playing the footballer in Tina and Bobby, the new three part ITV drama about Bobby Moore. It was enough to rouse memories of a surreal spell in the 1980-81 season when my non league team Oxford City were managed by Bobby Moore with Harry Redknapp as his assistant.

Let’s start in the present, Joe, a fashion and management student in Manchester works part time as a film extra and recently had a walk on part in Coronation Street. I was more impressed by his role in Tina And Bobby, and not just because Corrie cutie Michelle Keegan plays Tina. Lorne MacFadyen (ex Grantchester) plays the great man and filming for the football action has taken place at Leeds Rhinos Headingley Stadium. When we met there was still a fair bit of filming to go so keep an eye out for the programme over the next few months. Sadly they wont be covering the Oxford spell but it was quite a drama in itself.

How the hell did Bobby end up at Oxford City? A local businessman Tony Rosser had left the board of Oxford United, disgruntled that his plans were not being well received. Looking for a way to upstage the county’s senior team he ploughed money into my beloved City and made big promises of a major managerial appointment, even better than his word he unveiled Bobby Moore and my gob had never been so smacked. It was Bobby’s first move into coaching and City were a struggling side in the Isthmian League Division One .

Suddenly City were national media stars, everything became polished and professional, the team got their own luxury coach, left early, and had a light brunch stop at a posh hotel on away jaunts. Unlike the supporters rust bucket, they didn’t have a human chain to dish out coffee from an urn, or the pre ordered greasy chip supper for the trip home. It should have been a springboard to greatness but there were a few built in flaws. Bobby was a soccer god trying to teach mere mortals, and sadly some of his”friends” in the game took liberties by offloading misfit players on him. One of the first new boys was ex Tottenham defender Phil Beal, a legend in his time but now way past it, 1975 FA Cup Final left back John Fraser arrived from Fulham and tried to squeeze a few last drops out of his game, Stuart Haigh from Bradford City, and a clutch of Bournemouth players rolled in headed by goalie Kieran Baker, but he was soon replaced by Martin Le Blanc – who flew in from Jersey for games. How can I put it kindly, Martin wasn’t the safest pair of hands and soon became known to the fans as Martin Ker Plunk. Martin Chivers turned up to watch one away game, maybe to see his old Spurs team mate Phil Beal standing still.

Home crowds swelled a bit to over 1,000 and we delighted the rest of the league by boosting their attendances when City came to town. Bobby was always the focus of adoring fans and he was a true gent, taking time to sign autographs and talk to all his new best mates. Strangely the spotlight shifted slightly when City played at Clapton’s Old Spotted Dog ground, a short sprint from his old West Ham home. Harry Rednapp got more hero worship than his boss, his autograph flowed that day like signing a cheque book. Sadly it was all a bit of a mess, the constant changes made it impossible to create a winning team and Bobby’s role turned out to be part time as Mr Rosser used him more as a marketing and promotional attraction for his business interests.

It all came to a sorry end with relegation for City and a dreadful 5-1 defeat to Thame United in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup final. In those last few days Bobby was making the worst football film ever, Escape To Victory, with Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone. Not surprisingly in the close season Bobby left the club, being at City was not really a fitting stage for such a great man but his dignity, enthusiasm, and all round decency impressed everyone who had the pleasure to come into contact with him.

CD Marino Launch Their Season With A Goal Feast Win

A killer instinct in the final minutes earned new CD Marino a convincing 4-2 home win over Tenisca to start the season with a home victory for new coach Toni Dumpierez. There were new ideas and new players but even with a five minute lapse that allowed the La Palma side to level, there was a growing confidence and plenty of promise for the Tercera campaign ahead.

Kevin Castro was as always a terrier as the main striker, he tried to exploit an early chance but the visiting keeper raced out to deny him. Bradley Mills overlapped well from the right back position to deliver a swift cross that flashed by Valiente as he raced in. Tenisca had their best chance after 15 minutes when their shot was scrambled away from just in front of the home goal line. Hammed tried a long shot for the blues that rose over the bar and then supplied a good pass to Valiente who had a hopeful penalty shout after being dispossessed in the box.

Kevin Castro gave the Tenisca plenty of uncomfortable moments, he forced a corner that Lolo Armario floated in just a little too high for a team mate to connect with. The opening goal came after 35 minutes, Valiente’s shot rebounded off the goalie and Lolo pounced to bury the ball in the net. Just before the break, home keeper Cicovic out jumped Ahmed to rob the ball off his head, that ensured a happy half time team talk, and it got better within two minutes of the restart. Ahmed fouled Kevin Plassencia in the penalty area to get a second booking and a sending off, Hammed converted the spot kick and Marino looked to be cruising.

Then came a nightmare few minutes for Marino, a free kick from Josua eluded the diving Cicovic to pull a goal back. A loose tackle on David gifted a penalty which Chema converted to level at 2-2, Kevin Castro missed a chance to restore the lead as a Josito cross came in, then the man advantage was wiped out after Bradley got a second booking for a rash tackle. This burst of bad news encouraged Tenisca but Marino stood firm and with Adan replacing Hammed they had new options up front.


There was a storming finish as Marino stepped up the pressure and put the visitors goal under siege, In the final minute of regular time Kevin Plasencia floated in a perfect free kick that beat the defence and goalie and nudged the home team back in front. Tenisca charged down the other end on an injury time breakaway but Josua found Cicovic on top form to deny his shot. There was still time for more drama, Marino sub Alberto hit a powerful strike to make it 4-2 and Cicovic made sure the final score stayed that way by blocking a last gasp Chema shot with his knees. Marino will take a lot of confidence from this encouraging performance and the character they showed after the Tenisca fightback.


More Cups Than Strikers For CD Tenerife

Like the pilgrims walking up the motorway to Candelaria, CD Tenerife coach Pep Marti is traveling with faith but needs a helping hand. This Copa Emmasa 1-0 home win over relegated Getafe showed that regardless of Nano’s injury and Choco’s Olympic football extension, a big new forward would be well handy before the August window closes.

Looking at striking alternatives, the coach started Omar in the central role with Ale Gonzalez and Suso supplying the ammunition from the flanks. Suso came close to grabbing a lead after 10 minutes with a shot from outside the area that tested the keeper. The game was pretty flat, Getafe were also tinkering with their squad and looked poor, the crowd was a mere 3,453, with most of the noise coming from Super Mario giving a concrete pillar a right old slapping. Aitor Sanz showed some initiative with a clever run that just failed to unlock the visiting defence, and Oriol was lively, putting a shot wide and setting up Omar who fired straight at the goalie. Falcon was hardly troubled in the Tenerife goal and the half time break left us hoping for more action.

A change of cast after the break saw Dani Hernandez back in goal, Ale Pipo for Raul Camara , Darixon for Ale Gonzalez, Marc Crosas for Vitolo, and Alberto for Carlos Ruiz, as well as some positional juggling. Crosas looped in a pinpoint ball to Suso’s head but he couldn’t bring it under control to launch a clean strike. Cristo Gonzalez took over from Suso and looked a bit keener than in the previous friendlies but it was Getafe who came closest with a shot that clipped the home bar.Cristo got into the groove and tried to hook the ball into the net, he wasn’t too far off target.

Getafe brought on a clutch of subs with barely 15 minutes left, they showed more urgency. With a penalty shoot out looming Cristo hit the winning goal after 88 minutes, thanks to a lovely pass from Darixon. Hopefully it will get the young striker back on track, a lot is resting on him. Nano watching from the sidelines leaning on crutches was a sad sight for the fans and a few hours later it emerged he is angling for a transfer out. Cordoba away will be a tough opener in the league, two pre season cups in the cabinet might look nice but league points are what really matters, it would be nicenot to have the usual slow start.








Red Mist At Night And Dani’s Delight As CD Tenerife Lift Copa Mahou

A flush of four red cards ignited the Canarian derby when a scathing tackle sent CD Tenerife’s Nano to hospital. A weak ref and some loose discipline made this the focal point of a 0-1 home defeat to Las Palmas but it was an absorbing game of real passion topped by a penalty shoot out win for CD Tenerife.

The fuse had been lit in the away leg, the Las Palmas coach fumed afterwards that Tenerife were over physical, Suso cranked it up before the home game by publically reminding the Pios there is no such thing as a friendly derby. The visitors looked sharp from the off, former Spurs and Portsmouth player Kevin Prince Boateng gave them a big presence up front, it took just four minutes for Michel to convert a neat pass from Viera on the right. The first half belonged to Las Palmas who stroked the ball about with confidence and looked a division above their hosts

Half chances encouraged Tenerife, Nano was lacking support on two promising breaks, and Omar saw his header glance off the post. After the break home coach Pep Marti made some changes, Inaki replaced Oriol and started to create some openings down the left. Just when it seemed the tide was turning, Aretcibia dived in with a two footed lunge from behind on Nano and as the young striker went down it was clear he was in agony. The red card for the offender was richly deserved but as players poured into the combat zone the ref dished out further reds for home player Vitolo and two more Las Palmas players. It was mainly pushing and shoving as tempers flared, the three additional expulsions barely deserved yellow cards.

That left Tenerife with a two man advantage for the final 30 minutes, it was worrying that they couldn’t make that tell. Inaki fed a good ball to Cristo Gonzalez whose shot was tipped aside by the yellows keeper. More changes saw Darixon and Younousse Diop paired up front, the combination showed a lot of potential, the speed and guile of the young Honduran and the power and strength of the Senegal youngster. The Las Palmas keeper helped his side to hold on with continual time wasting that earned him a booking. The 6,553 crowd, stoked up by the Pios tactics, gave full vent to their anger at the old enemy and their complaining coach Setien but Las Palmas survived and it was down to penalties to decide the trophy.

It was so good to have Dani Hernandez back between the sticks and once again he was the hero with two confident saves. Carlos Ruiz, Inaki, and Jorge struck their spot kicks straight and true to clinch the silverware. Overnight news from the hospital was better than first feared but Nano emerged with a splint on his leg and up to four weeks sidelined. On the same night Choco was scoring to put Honduras through to the knock out stages of the Olympic football, delaying his return from Rio. With just over a week to the league kick off, there are still plenty of problems for the coach to grapple with.


Late Goals Save Face For CD Tenerife

It was easy to feel the Ibarra goalies frustration, CD Tenerife didn’t trouble him for 70 minutes but bailed themselves out from a 2-0 deficit at Ibarra for an unconvincing 2-3 friendly win. The first half in particular was disjointed, aimless, and confused and not just because there were a lot of B team players filling in for injured seniors.

These warm up games are the perfect stage for the young rising players to get noticed, Bolaños had a shaky start at the back but settled well and Oscar Gonzalez played wide on the right and left before finding his groove in a more central role. Omar was playing as a central striker and it didn’t work that well, Cristo Gonzalez played behind him but did very little. The injured Nano was sorely missed, our striking options are a little worrying at the moment, with Southampton still keen on Nano, Cristo needs to raise his game this season to become a genuine contender for the next big thing.

Ibarra (in El Fraile) play in the same Segunda B section as CDT B and had most of the first half play, their 9th minute lead had a touch of good fortune about it as a shot deflected in off Adrian Garcia. Marc Crosas failed to shine apart from a good cross to Adrian who blasted well wide of the target. Less then 20 minutes gone and Tenerife were exposed down their left leaving Sandro to finish off from a probing cross. Two goals down at the break prompted a wave of changes for the second half. Angel Galvan took over in goal and was relieved to see a shot that beat him ruled as offside, Tenerife suffered the same fate a few minutes later. Camille slotted in at left back and looked strong and eager to support the breaks, it was a neat cross from him that fed Omar to pull a goal back after 70 minutes.

It was good to see Suso back on the pitch, he may be clocking up the birthdays but he is still full of fire and took great delight in crashing the ball into the goal to draw the scores level. Senegal born Younousse Diop arrived in Tenerife on a refugee boat with little more than his football talent to sustain him, last season he was loaned out after a poor pre season but he looked more determined after coming on in the second half. A hand in the build up for the 2nd goal was eclipsed by a superb finish to get a winner with just three minutes left. Maybe this will be his season to write another chapter in his incredible life story. Pre season games are notoriously poor indicators of league hopes, although this was hard to watch, it was a win and players and coach can learn as much from this below par display as from an easy goal fest.


Foot To The Pedal At Food Truck Festival

It felt a bit like being back in detention at school, there I was in the library but aching to get outside to play. Well maybe that’s stretching it, the Los Cristianos library is a daily call for me to check the local papers, the fun outside was due to run all day, and who says I was ever in detention at school? The Food Truck Festival did look alluring on the forecourt of the cultural centre, there were five trucks converted to serve specialist food and drink, two large bouncy castles, and a stage loaded with speakers, amps, and a microphone being given the old one two test.

Just after the official 12.30 start a special guest arrived to a big cheer from the army of children, Peppa Pig was out of the stye and in da house. The cute pink one needed a couple of minders to help him to the stage as young, and not so young, fans nuzzled up close to take selfies with the star. I was tempted to nudge Peppa towards the truck selling pork burgers to see if he would squeal but thought better of it. The trucks were already doing a good trade, I particularly liked the Dorada truck but the tequila truck was also proving to be a big shot with the nachos overflowing onto plates as a side order.

A range of activities were due to ebb and flow during the day, I returned in the evening but just missed The Beatles tribute band, the general response I got was the crowd had loved them – yeah yeah yeah. There was quite a sea of people lapping around the stage and out to the main road, the seating areas were full and the drinks were pouring at a steady rate. Queen were the next tribute act, a seasoned performer in local musical Rock Story made a struttingly enthusiastic Freddie Mercury and his band were impressive as they belted out the big hits like It’s A Kinda Magic, Radio Ga Ga, One Vision, and many more.

They, like The Beatles before them, did a full hour and most people thought that was it for the live music, I adjourned to the pub but got a call to pop back to enjoy a further act. This group started off with a selection of europop classics but showed their versatility with a rousing version of AC DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long. With the aid of a little alcohol, inhibitions were being thrown aside and there were a fair few more mature people digging deep to dredge up their dance moves. Inside the Auditorium there was a three group folklore show providing a different range of musical talents, both events were free, you have to hand it to Arona Ayuntamiento (council) they cater for a full range of tastes and nationalities.