Archive for May 17th, 2010
Relegation Becomes A Reality For CD Tenerife

Even the lure of the beer couldn’t keep us from heading for the Valencia stadium 90 minutes before kick off to greet our players. Threading our way through the side streets from Plaza del Virgen we arrived ahead of time and grabbed some seats outside a small cafe bar in sight of the ground. The Mestalla stadium is partly shrouded by office and apartment blocks and rises high on all sides. Refreshed we headed to the players entrance and found hundreds lining the road with banners and colours, barriers marked out a short corridor from the parking spot to the open door and mounted police kept the crowds back on the pavements. After a short wait the coach pulled in and our tense looking players filed off, most of them too wound up to acknowledge the roar of the crowd, coach Oltra gave a flambouyant wave and they were gone, alone with their thoughts in the dressing room.

A bar across the road had already caught my eye and with an hour to kick off a few of us squeezed in and forced some more sedative down. Our alloted entrance was easy to find, mingling through the crowd with colours proudly worn, the locals greeted us in friendly fashion, well their third place finish was assured. The steps up to the top of the ground seemed endless but our perch had a great view as a sea of CD Tenerife fans spread out around us. The older part of the ground on the far side was dwarfed by the steep tiers we occupied and we cranked up the noise levels as CD Tenerife took to the pitch.

Manolo nearly gave us a dream start but Moya made a comfortable save. That was about the best that Tenerife could muster in the first half as Valencia, without rested Villa and Silva, took control of the game. Ten minutes in and we were crushed by news of a Malaga goal at home to Real Madrid, the collective sinking of hearts seemed to signal the inevitable. The team must have been aware as well, an away win against a classy Valencia side seemed impossible.

Sergio Aragoneses was as always brilliant, a strong block from Rodriguez and a weak Zigic header denied a home advantage. Baraja and Dominguez saw their casual shots miss the target and at half time it was all square. There was still hope but it was fading fast, Madrid levelled but we still needed a win. Alfaro troubled Moya but at the other end Sergio turned in two more fine saves to deny Dominguez and Hernendez. Ricardo managed a weak shot as the Valencia pressure built. The game was nearly finished and the Tenerife fans were wilting as Alexis drove in the final nail with a header from a Dominguez corner.

The Tenerife players were drained and could barely return the applause of the fans as the reality hit home. As if we weren’t depressed enough, the local police decided to hold us back as the stadium drained of fans, a misserable 30 to 40 minutes passed before we were allowed to descend the tight stairways, for good measure they then turned the lights out. It was totally un called for as our coaches were just below us and there had not been any hint of problems between the fans.Carefully sidestepping the calling cards of the police horses we found our numbered coaches and headed for a quiet low key flight home.

Away form did for us, and lessons need to be learned about life at the top level, but the whole experience has been an uplifting one, our appetities are whetted for more and that new season can’t come quickly enough.

Bubbling Up Ready For Valencia v CD Tenerife

Football, beer and travel, what a great combination, there has to be a downside of course, there was the small matter of the nail biting, gut grabbing climax to the La Liga season with CD Tenerife slugging it out to avoid relegation. Volcanic clouds diverted and a nervous evenings intake of Dorada to settle the nerves, and a small section of the Armada Sur joined the other football pilgrims at Tenerife South airport for our Sunday charter flight from Viajes Halcon.

Canarian TV cameras hovered around us as we queued at check in and Kirsty uttered a very naughty Anglo Saxon word that may be picked up by English speakers over their morning Gofio. No delays and we were soon touching down in Valencia, a much smaller airport than Madrid and easy to filter through to our awaiting coaches. First stop was the stadium to collect our tickets, the local marathon was in full flow and the sun spotlighted this very clean city where ancient and modern rub shoulders. The tickets weren’t ready for us so a few of us jumped off the bus, careful to avoid the many cycle lanes that criss cross the city.

Was it a mischievious IPhone or did Kirsty need to brush up in her map reading skills, either way we were headed in the wrong direction for Plaza del Virgen, the pre arranged fans meeting place. A quick about turn and we found our way to Plaza del Reina and regrouped over a few beers at a fast food cafe. Lookie lookie men have big ideas and even bigger displays of sunglasses here and we amused ourselves watching them set up and hurridly dismantle their pavement wares as the police played cat and mouse with them. Some of the previous days arrivals found us and we realised we were just a short walk from Plaza del Virgen.

Passing through the narrow connecting street we were in a large open square with cafe bars one side and a performance but it was the ornate statue draped fountain that really attracted us. Mingling with other CDT fans we swapped good wishes, beer and brandy as The General went in search of bubble bath and washing up liquid to liven up the flowing water. it certainly worked, the local kids loved it, tourists posed in the foam and the police looked on bemused. It was a lovely setting and I couldn’t resist a trip up the Torre del Micalet for 70 km high views over the city. A cluster of 14 bells held off while I snapped away at the gorgeous city unfolding below.

Time was moving on, the beer was flowing and the game was beckoning, Viajes Halcons rep had delivered our tickets so it was time to head for the ground to welcome the Tenerife players. Our date with destiny was almost here.