Archive for January, 2015
Time Runs Out For Alvaro Cervera At CD Tenerife

Gratitude for our rescue from Segunda B, and sympathy for working under weak  management kept Alvaro Cervera clinging to his job as CD Tenerife coach but a 0-1 home defeat to Ponferradina looks to have sealed his fate. It was another poor display devoid of direction and ideas, the boos have been growing louder by the week and something had to give, maybe the first 10 minute fan protest opened the exit door but the sound of a paltry 6,650 crowd baying for change at the end will surely pushed him through it.

The players will bemoan their bad luck against a terrible referee but they must take their share of blame for the nosedive in form. There is a solid platform for the new boss to build on, the defence was again strong apart from the left back spot where first Igor Arnaez and then Albizua failed to cover for suspended Raul Camara. Dani Hernandez again shone in goal and Jorge is the big find of the season at centre back.


Aridane got a recall up front, he had the best chance with a first half header that pinged off the inside of the post into the keepers hands but his lack of mobility and poor awareness were clear to see. Former CD Tenerife player Acoran skinned Arnaez down the right in the 16th minute and crossed for Sobrino to score at the far post. The rain poured down and Cervera must have been reviewing his CV, the fan protests were three pronged with President Concepcion and Director of Football Serrano getting equal blame but the team looked stale and the coach’s tactics looked tired and inflexible.

The ref threw a possible lifeline when he sent off Infante on the half hour but even a man advantage couldn’t swing the game Tenerife’s way. Diego Ifran was always willing to shoot but he was trying to do too much on his own as always. Numbers were even 10 minutes into the second half after Moyano went off for a late tackle that deserved a yellow at most. Ponferradina went down as often as they could to preserve their lead and even managed a three on one break that Tenerife bundled clear. Guarrotxena was brought on too late to make any difference and as large sections of the crowd headed for home the rest turned their frustration on the three men calling the shots.

This was the start of the second half of the campaign so time is on our side even if the transfer window has less than a week to run. A new chapter is about to begin and we are as ever , hopeful.

Afternoon T Break Puts CD Marino On Top

Games in hand have to be turned into points and that’s just what CD Marino did with a first half demolition of SD Tenisca in a 2-1 home win on Wednesday afternoon. The blues left the door ajar in the second half and the La Palma visitors made things uncomfortable for them but now two points clear in their Tercera group Marino have plenty to be pleased about.

Tenisca looked a strong, skilful team in the opening minutes, Eslava had to stand firm to stop an early break and Sergio saved well from Miguel after a neat back header by Riki. Marino stirred into life and Nestor tested the Tenisca goalie with a crisp shot that he turned aside. A dipping strike from Chema kept Sergio busy as the action switched from end to end but with Kevin Castro in the starting line up Marino had plenty of their own skills to offer, the nippy young player burst down the right and put in a defence splitting cross that Balduino hammered into the net for a 1-0 lead with just 15 minutes gone.

Tenisca struggled to contain Kevin, for a slight player he showed lots of power and they resorted to hacking him down. Nestor had his eye on the goal as he carved his way through, Marcos made a clumsy tackle on him and he got up to convert a clear penalty. Marino were purring and should have buried Tenisca, Balduino spurned a couple of good positions, the second rising high over the bar. Nestor blasted wide, Kevin had the away defence in a panic and could have got his first senior goal, and a Nestor header missed the target.

A two goal lead at half time against genuine promotion rivals promised much for the second half but the visitors must have thought they had rode their luck and came back out determined to have their say. Spreading the ball wide on the right they found acres of room but the ball launched towards the Marino goal should have been cut out by Sergio, instead Marco was able to nip in and bulge the net to put the game back in the balance.
The more experienced Marchena came on for Kevin and tried his luck on the left flank with some success. Marino tightened up at the back but were still missing too many chances up front. Both sides had half hearted penalty appeals that didn’t trouble the ref.

Marino brought on another youth product, Jose Carlos and he showed a great appetite for the game and created havoc with his speed and skill, he fed a cracking pass across the goalmouth but Balduino at full stretch couldn’t quite get his boot to it. A trio of misses came in one late charge for Marino but it was a good three points and just reward for their earlier dominance.


CD Tenerife Explore New Empty Depths

Even multinational oil companies have to admit when their plans don’t bring any reward but CD Tenerife looked as blunt as a worn out drill when they bored their way to a 0-0 home draw with Numancia.

New loan goalkeeper Dani Hernandez made his debut and his sure handling was one of precious few bright spot in a dire game between two very poor teams. Jorge was back in the centre of defence for suspended Carlos Ruiz and he looks a class act, backed with a goalie they have confidence in the defence is not a worry but the lack of a credible second striker is really hurting the cause. It took half an hour for the first real shot, Suso roasted Juanma on the right and tried to set the ball up for Diego Ifran but Munir got down to smother at the post. Numancia had a go a few minutes later as Perez drew a good save out of Dani and Victor in his full home debut beat a defender on the left before seeing his soft shot easily saved.

Tenerife’s play was disjointed and lacking ideas, they resorted to slinging the ball across too often, Diego had to cover so much ground and pounced on a mistake by Munir just before the break but shot high. How bad were things? During the break the fans were talking about the need to bring Aridane on but it didn’t happen. Some games have 0-0 written all over them, this one had it engraved in gold with a cast iron guarantee. A blade of grass was seen to move on the hour and we were all transfixed to see if it would start growing, it didn’t and the stands paintwork was already dry so that was our entertainment all used up.

Inspiration was needed, Cervera brought on Ricardo for Cristo Martin with little effect and ten minutes later took off Victor for Guarrotxena but he got poor service and couldn’t take the strain off Diego. Perez tried a long shot that skipped past the home post and Diego had another half chance that Munir got a hand to. The 8,658 crowd started thinning out 10 minutes before the end and Cervera must have known what was coming, he is constantly booed pre game but the final whistle brought a stronger onslaught from all around the ground.

A Cold Snap In Oxford

I laughed when I saw the man in the fish costume, but at least he was warm. The wind was whistling down Cornmarket Street and it seemed a large percentage was sneaking up the legs of my jeans. It’s always good to be back in Oxford, the last trip was in glorious July sunshine but this was a whole different kettle (or costume) of fish. At least no snow settled until my final morning but thewind chill increased steadily with each day.

With recent dramatic events I thought airport security would be heavier and slower but I sailed through Tenerife South and Gatwick and a speedy coach had me in Oxford in time for a few late beers at The Britannia near my Headington guest house. Heavy rain and a good, if standard, choice of real ales awaited me, Monday is their promotion night of 2.49 a pint, just softening me up for the more expensive stuff to come. My first look at town the next morning after the first of my daily 16 mile bus trips out to my mums care home in Wantage. The fields and rivers reflected many days of heavy rain but the bus still rattled along at a fair crack. Mum was in good form physically but her memory was hazier than ever.

Back in Oxford the sun popped its cold head out as the paths were being gritted and I was entertained by street musicians and the fish man. One old bloke was playing guitar and his fingers must have been plucking cold, mine certainly were. Later that night back in town for a few beers I noticed even more rough sleepers and beggars than ever in the shop doorways, a team of students were administering hot drinks and snacks which tempered my annoyance that students were being offered “discount” at the increasing number of money exchange shops. Over the next few days I managed to meet up with lots of old friends including a Co-Op office reunion out at The Evenlode at Eynsham but the dark brooding winter warmer ales I was after were proving elusive. A 4.5 Rudolphin from Whale Ale was the darkest and best I got.

Aside from the dashing around I did manage to indulge myself with a visit to the Ashmolean Museum, the last time I called was in a school party many, many years ago. What a brilliant place it is, now with a more modern outlook  and very user friendly, a far cry from the unwelcoming vault of history that I recalled. The imposing frontage was offset by a couple of large sculptures and a large lobby opened out into a sweeping stairwell that rose through the six floors with links to the 60 odd galleries. It’s a good trick keeping the sense of grandeur whilst making it easily accessible to enquiring minds – they have got the mix spot on. I peeked in at the café on the basement level, nice home made cakes and snacks, then I took the lift to the rooftop restaurant and was wowed by the bright and warm layout. The weather meant the open air terrace was sealed off but through the glass surround I got a tease of the views of the spires of the city and the Randolph Hotel opposite.

The food was up market and expensive but very imaginative, how about rabbit leg (14.50) or guinea fowl (16.00), and to tie in with their William Blake exhibition there were special menus from his era including duck, black pudding, and bacon at 21 pounds for three courses. I noticed the drinks included bottled real ales like Loose Canon from the Abingdon Bridge brewery, not a session drink at 4.65 for a 330 ml measure. It would be a great place to go for a special meal, I might squeeze my piggy bank for an open air meal if I pass through in the summer. The museum is free but they suggest a donation of 4 pounds and the collecting tubs had a lot of big notes in them. I only had time for a whirlwind tour, the next time I will set an afternoon aside.

Meanwhile outside it was getting colder, returning to town from the Rose and Crown in North Parade later that night the wind and sleet was cutting through me but at least I had some good ale inside me after wobbling down ice hockey memory lane with landlord Andrew Hall. My last night was a mini crawl of the city centre with some old drinking friends. It was Friday night and town was packed with students and locals, The Chequers was our starting point, as it had been some 30 plus years ago, it hasn’t   changed much, quite reassuring as other pubs have become trendy or supermarkets. The Wheatsheaf in the next alley was loud and rocking with heavy metal and classic rock, tattoos and piercings were on display, and that was just the women. Last call was The Bear, much smaller, much posher, but with good beer and a roaring fire to warm us up.


It was an early start on Saturday with Headington tinged with a dusting of snow for my return journey via Gatwick, I thought I was going to witness some air rage as the couple next to me on the plane rared up at the people in front who had reclined their seats. The stewardess defused it by moving my neighbours to a spare area leaving me to stretch out over three seats and free to enjoy the welcoming views of Tenerife as Mount Teide emerged through the clouds.



Second Half Blitz Fires New Look CD Marino

Full marks to coach Jose Espinel, CD Marino had looked a little stale in previous weeks so he shuffled the pack and his player and positional changes made the difference in a 3-1 home win over Estrella.

It took the first half to get used to the changes and by then Marino were behind to a soft goal but they grew in confidence with everyone playing a full part in this convincing win. Defender Mendy was moved to left back and able to overlap with Marchena on the wing, both have plenty of pace and they caused problems to the visitors. Mendy showed he still had his mind on his defensive duties when he shielded the ball back to Sergio in goal as Estrella threatened. Sesma moved to a more central attacking role and that gave more freedom to Balduino who had one of his best games of the season, he was unlucky to see his early header clear the bar.

Estrella relied on quick breaks but Eslava and Pablo in the heart of the home defence managed to snuff out several chances. Mendy won the ball in midfield and set up Balduino on the half hour but the keeper saved down at this post. There was a setback when Marchena limped off but his replacement Kevin Castro soon got stuck in and fought for every ball. With the break just five minutes away Marino were caught napping by a quick break, Ruyman had far too much space to stroll through and place his shot in the net.

Espinel gave Marino a rousing team talk on the pitch just prior to the second half kick off and they responded well. Castro charged at Estrella and hit a strong shot that deflected off a defender for a corner. More pressure and further corners followed and it was from one of these balls that Mendy rose high to head the equalizer with just 15 minutes gone. Estrella tightened up as Marino tried to break through and their persistence paid off as Balduino shrugged off a defenders bear hug to turn and fire in the second goal. Not killing off games has cost Marino points this season so they were determined to add to their tally, Castro was a little terrier tormenting his markers, he broke free after one typical squirming run but shot just high of the target.

Sergio needed a seat in the home goal as Marino kept the action up the other end, Balduino was a menace to Estrella and eventually they fouled him in the box and he stepped up to convert the penalty. The referee had been showing selective eyesight in favour of Estrella but he had little choice but to send off Aibal as the visitors lost their composure, he gave Espinel his marching orders late on as well but he must have got plenty of comfort from his good choices. It was a comfortable win by the final whistle and just what was needed to strengthen Marino’s position in the top four play off positions, they now sit in 2nd , four points behind Lanzarote and still have a game in hand on their rivals.


Police And Painters Amid The Santa Cruz Bargain Hunters

Just when you think people’s wallets are empty from the festive period along come the sales and they squeeze a little more to pick up a good offer. Santa Cruz always has big reductions in the January sales and it was buzzing for my latest visit.

Street entertainers were drafted in to ease the open purse surgery but the marching bands and jugglers were second fiddle to the search for a bargain. I had sussed out my target, a little pocket camera, early on and was free to roam. Half way down Calle Castillo I was drawn away from the shopping frenzy by the new look Circulo de Bellas Artes exhibition hall. I had been to various presentations there before and found it a little tired and run down but a gleaming welcome awaited me for the Mercadillo del Arte with local artists displaying and hoping to sell their paintings and sculptures. The building has been opened up into a brightly lit two floor display area and was packed with good works. I enjoyed a look around and recognized a few artists names from other exhibitions, the stone handbag seemed very appropriate during the sales season.

The port was calling me, the Santa Cruz Policia Local are celebrating their 175th anniversary and had an open day on the large promenade above the ferry station. There were so many police around I couldn’t help thinking the men with masks and stripey pullovers might be helping themselves all across the capital. I don’t think turning on the charm comes naturally to our police but they were doing a grand job helping youngsters on and off the motorbikes and putting some through their road safety paces on cycles over a short circuit – the spirit of Tufty lives on.

Although the BMW bikes were the main attraction for most blokes visiting, the dogs of the Unipol team were getting plenty of patting and petting. On the day of the exhibition the Policia Local announced plans to add around 20 more recruits to their strength this year. I saw a few people wince when they saw the traffic cameras displayed in all their glory, I’m sure a few were frantically trying to locate the off switch for future use. There will be other events popping up all over Santa Cruz to continue the years celebration, it was a good way to temporarily break down a few barriers and the female officers ensured my interest never wavered.


CD Tenerife In High Resolution For 2015

Hosting the second placed, unbeaten Sporting Gijon would have been met with dread a couple of months ago but this 2015 opener was relished by a confident CD Tenerife who deserved equal praise in a 1-1 draw.

Replacing suspended Carlos Ruiz in the heart of the defence could have been tricky but Jorge Saenz stepped up from the B team and repeated his glowing pre season friendly form. Aitor Sanz issued an early warning to Sporting when his shot just missed the post, Raul Camara tried to unlock the back door down the left but the keeper blocked well. It was easy to see why Sporting are flying high, they look strong in all departments and were always looking to break, Jony cut lose on the right but was wasteful with his effort. Diego Ifran is a lethal predator and a Lora foul was a gilt edged invite for his free kick which he curled over the wall and goalie to take the lead, that’s his sixth of the season and he looks capable of many more.

Ricardo won the ball in midfield and tested goalie Cuellar who was glad of a little help from his woodwork. There was even a little good fortune for Tenerife, Jony thought he had scored after 22 minutes but the ref called it as a foul on Carlos by Bernardo. Midfield was looking strong again with Vitolo showing his experience and class, Sporting were made to work hard for every ball and they were closed down when they looked for the breaks. It took a well worked goal to level, a long ball from Hernandez got a little help from the head of Guerrero before N’di chested it down and scored a peach.

It was finely poised now, Suso cursed his slow response when the ball pinged around the Sporting defence before breaking to him on the left. Back on his usual right wing Suso sent a long ball across to Diego but the keeper had it covered. Rivero took over from Ricardo and Iker Guarrotxena was given a warm welcome when he replaced Cristo. Sporting didn’t sit back, they wanted the win, Rivero came to the rescue to hook out a goal bound shot just in front of the posts.

Ifran is always sniffing for goals but at least one new forward would be very welcome in the January transfer window. As Ifran went off after 85 minute his replacement Aridane was met with whistles and boos, his days in Santa Cruz look numbered. Neither side could grab a winner but the 9,594 crowd were left with plenty of encouragement for the rest of the season.

A Right Royal Night In Los Cristianos

How did the school playground version go “we three kings of Orient are, one in a taxi, one in a car, one on a scooter blowing his hooter, following yonder star”. Transport is a bit more adventurous in Tenerife, in Adeje, Melchor, Gaspar, and Balthasar arrived by helicopter and in Los Cristianos they combined a short sea trip with the traditional camel ride.

Reyes, Kings Day, or epiphany to use the bible definition, is on 6th January and marks the kings arrival at the stable with their gifts. Most Spanish children open their main presents then but the big public celebration is the arrival of the kings and the cabalgata parade. Last year Arona made a little tweak to the well established formula and they ran with it again this year. The kings arrived at the fishermens quayside by boat and started the parade on foot along the old beach promenade before mounting the waiting camels just below The Devon Arms, one of my watering holes. The rest of the parade was already there slipping into costumes and adding finishing touches to vehicles.

I caught up in Avenida Suecia where the even longer than usual procession was working it’s way along the packed shopping street. The kings were at the rear allowing for a build up of excitement and less chance of other fancy dress characters stepping in a camels calling card. Quite a few old favourite cartoon characters and fantasy outfits from Carnaval time were enjoying the route, posing for photos with bubbling children and throwing sweets into the night air.

It’s a slow process and all the upstairs windows were full of people getting a better vantage point. A lot of dancing, singing, and cheering elapsed before the kings came into view, they are undoubtedly the stars and milked their audience as they progressed. From their lofty perches on the beasts of burden the kings were able to spray generous helpings of sweets even further, they can be a bit hard if they hit you but no one complains, some children amass quite a haul of sweeties by the end of the parade.

I adjourned to the bar as they hit the last stretch leading to the cultural centre and the thrones set up outside. Allowing a couple of pints settling time I returned when the biggest swell of admirers had subsided. There was another small change this year, the large manger scene had been scaled back allowing better views of the stage as children queued to sit on the kings laps and receive pre arranged presents. It’s always a magical sight, the pleasure the children and their parents get is immense and as a tourist attraction it has few equals.



CD Marino Blown Off Course By Home Draw

On a day when the wind was so strong it blew the subs benches over, both teams played far too many high balls but it was CD Marino left regretting a 1-1 home draw with Union Sur Yaiza. The Lanzarote visitors are in the promotion pack and Marino should have killed them off after going ahead.

It could have been a dream start, Richard saw his shot shave the post in the 2nd minute but Marino kept up the early pressure, an Aridani cross was forced out for a corner but it came to nothing. Airam made a strong run between two Yaiza defenders, he got a shot in only to see the keeper claim the ball with ease. The greens started to settle and push forward, Lamine back after a long absence had to make a telling tackle to stop one of their raids.

Airam’s determination saw him win the ball in midfield before driving forward but this time the move was broken by the Yaiza defence. It was hard for either team to play flowing football, the wind was gusting strongly and the pitch bore the scars of the three day under 12’s tournament. Sesma burst through down the right and put in a good shot, again keeper Ruyman was alert to the danger. Marino were by far the better side and got their reward on the half hour, an Airam cross found Balduino on the edge of the box and he rifled the ball into the net.

That should have been the platform for a convincing victory but Marino eased off a little, at the start of the second half Aragoneses tipped the ball aside at full stretch to prevent an equalizer. A few minutes later the home goalie was called on again, this time to deal with a dipping shot low down. Coach Sosa Espinel tried to freshen things up with Pablo and Javi Jerez coming off the bench but they made little impact. Going into the last 15 minutes Yaiza drew level, Juanjo sent over an inswinging ball and Aridane popped up at the far post with a perfect header.

Nestor had a chance to restore the lead but hit the post. The game ended on a sporting note when Balduino and goalie Ruyman clashed near the goal, after the keeper received treatment the ref did a drop ball that Balduino tapped back to the goalie to pick up. Now in third spot with a game still in hand, Marino are still firmly in the promotion picture but can’t afford to keep dropping home points.

Strike Up The Band For New Year In Tenerife

Soothing, rousing, and enchanting, the Arona Municipal Band gave a tuneful welcome to 2015 with a free concert outside the Los Cristianos cultural centre. It was a very different sound to the pumping dance music that had occupied the same spot well into the early hours of 1st January and quite a different age range of audience.

This is the 30th anniversary of the band which consists of pupils from the Arona school of music and dance and most of the musicians were in their young teens. They’re a talented bunch, after conductor and musical director Jose Luis Dominguez Rodriguez welcomed the audience in Spanish, one young performer addressed everyone in English and German. Seats were set out for around 200 people but others stood behind them to enjoy the treat.

We were promised a diverse programme and it lived up to its billing, ranging from classical to show tunes and even a carol Oh Come All Ye Faithful, well the big day of presents, Reyes, isn’t until 6th January, with the three kings arriving on their camels the night before. The band has 40 members and the stage looked pretty full with a grand array of trumpets, clarinets, kettle drums, tubas, flutes, and saxophones. A few Santa hats added to the festive feel but the nearby Mojito and beer stalls were rather quiet as drinkers went cold turkey.

White Christmas was another timely choice that fitted well with the twinkling evening lights on the cultural centre. In the breaks between tunes as score sheets were shuffled and instruments adjusted, the dull thud of the fairground music up the hill was a reminder of more commercial distractions. A tap of the baton and along came I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady, this was performed in a medley of dance styles, some cha cha cha and some swing.

Conductor Jose ensured that each soloist took an individual bow from the appreciative audience, some musicians were multi tasking, I noticed one young lady move from organ to clarinet. When The Saints Come Marching In led into a more upbeat finish, new hats were added for a lively Dixieland jazz finish but there was no way the audience was going to let them go just yet. The encore was a stirring rendition of the Johann Strauss classic The Redetzky March which had everyone clapping along. That big number was a nice nod to the long established New Years Day Strauss concert in Vienna. Los Cristianos may not have a Blue Danube but hopefully this will become just as popular a tradition in Los Cristianos as the offering in Austria.