Leicester City And England Fans Travel to Malaga and Seville Report and Photos
By PeteLCFC and SteveLE4
Monday 16 Feb 2009 10:04:00
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Spain away in Seville (and Ecuador in Malaga) February 2009
We decided to split the writing duties for this trip (mainly because I couldn’t be arsed to do all of it) So Steve has covered Tuesdays events in Malaga and the rest is by me.
When the FA announced a February away match with Spain there really was only one outcome, we would be there.  However for sometime we didn’t know where 'there' was?  Eventually Seville was chosen in the South of Spain, happy days. With most of us being snow bound for some of the last few weeks this definitely put sunshine on the wish list!
With flag, shorts, money and flip-flops packed the first port of call was East Midlands Airport.  Joining us on our flight to Malaga was Jay, a Forest fan (insert your own joke here) a life-long mate of Pete’s whose taste in music turned out to be way superior to his choice of football team!
Getting through Man United's defence is easier than getting on a plane these days but once making it through to the departure lounge our trip can begin ... with beer!  The usual suspects are out in force with Derby, Forest, Notts County, Leicester and the West Midlands clubs well represented in the airport bar.
As an added bonus to our trip the England Under 21s are playing an Ecuador XI side in Malaga so following a smooth flight this is our target!  A quick drop off at a pleasant hotel and we are taxi bound to the Estadio La Rosaleda, home of Malaga FC.  Our driver was a character, a season ticket holder at Malaga, but also a huge fan of Real Madrid.  It turned out he despised the National team since Raul was dropped!  A promise of a lift back after the game was made and we were off to the match.
A wonder goal by Adam Johnson and a second by Frazier Campbell made it worthwhile but the healthy England contingent then watched three Ecuador goals turn the game on its head.  This sparked scenes of wild jubilation among the Ecuadorians amid suggestions that Ecuador would make their victory a National holiday!!!  Our very own Joe Mattock earned another cap and was solid if unspectacular, he didn’t let us down.  A decent performance considering the Ecuador team was made up of a mixture of U23 and senior players, 6 of whom played at the last World Cup in Germany.
 As the wind picked up and the game ended food and beer became the priority.  Luckily the taxi driver was as good as his word and we got a lift back to the centre.  Good lad!
A small Spanish Pizzaria then became the scene of a Fawlty Towers - Manuel breakdown in communication!  Can I have a Hawaiian pizza with a side order of fries por favor was delivered as a chip topped pizza!!!  Yep a pizza base cooked with the fries on it!  Much hilarity ensued along with plenty of ‘Formidable’ beer!  It does need stressing that Jay got a pizza with FULL bacon slices on and Pete's arrived with a fried egg?!  Ah the crazy English breakfast Pizza combo!
A poltergeist kept me awake most of the night but I wasn’t scared ... much!
 A brilliant first day and I wondered what the rest of the trip would bring? Would I find a donut?  Or would we just end up watching the seniors play like them?
Left Malaga on the 9am train for Seville.  Good journey, just over 2 hours through the Southern Spain countryside and the weather in Seville was just as good as Malaga.
Seville is the forth largest city in Spain and the capital of Andalusia.  It’s a very traditional Spanish city - orange trees line the narrow, cobbled streets.  It’s very tempting to help yourself to the oranges, they look very appetising and fresh, we were however warned against eating them as they are apparently very bitter and the ones in the city have been sprayed with a chemical to keep the birds away.  The old town area is very nice, no commercialisation at all, just traditional local bars and shops.
After checking into our hotel we had a wander round the city and had a few beers outside a bar with a load more England fans.  Walked towards the stadium in the afternoon and stopped at a pub away from the main area.  Burger and a beer €6, we stayed here for a few hours drinking in the sun (24 degrees!) watching the world go by.  After paying the bill we started walking towards the stadium when we realised that they’d undercharged us by 6 pints!  Oh well, the pretty barmaid got a handsome tip for her efforts.
We then went in a place just round the corner from the stadium which I think was actually a kebab house, we only went in to use the cigarette machine but they were serving beer and I bumped into a Cov lad I know from previous England trips so we stayed in there for a bit.
The locals gathered outside were getting a bit rowdy and were letting off flares and fire crackers, all good natured, nothing too hostile.
We made our way to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan for the 10pm kick off, we were stood in the upper tier in the corner.  Good stadium, a bit dilapidated but the stands were really steep so even up at the top you felt like you were right on top of the pitch.  This contributed to a great atmosphere, the Spanish fans were very confident and rightly so.  Seville is seen as a lucky venue for Spain, having only ever lost 1 competitive game here since 1923 and in Torres and Villa they have one of the best forward lines in World football.  Oh, and they’re the current European champions.  Still, we shouldn’t have anything to fear, this season we’ve become the first away team to beat Croatia in Zagreb and the first away team to beat Germany in Berlin for quite a few years.
England started the match quite well, Gareth Barry put in a good cross for Agbonlahor who sent his shot just wide quite early on.  Heskey held the ball up well and put himself about a bit.  Shaun Wright-Phillips’ pace caused them a few problems and for the first 30 minutes it was a fairly even match.  A badly mis-placed pass by Phil Jagielka gave David Villa a fairly simple goal to score and that was to be the pattern of the game after that.  England gave the ball away far too much and were closed down too easily and when it came to going forward there didn’t seem to be any creativity, the midfield looked static.  David Beckham came on in the 2nd half to equal Bobby Moore’s record of 108 caps for an outfield player.  Beckham put in a few decent crosses, unfortunately Peter Crouch was on the end of some of them and, although he tries, he still has the appearance and mobility of a new-born giraffe.  Carlton Cole had a shot cleared off the line but Spain had a bit too much for us and continually got round the back of the defence where Ashley Cole should’ve been.  How he’s made a career out of football I’ll never know.  Frank Lampard came on for Downing and continued his fine record of not playing a good game for England since Portugal 2004.  I missed Spain’s second goal because I wasn’t really paying much attention by then but I’m told it was a simple header by Llorente.  Probably a fair score line overall, the French referee had a shocker I thought.  Not that that would’ve stopped us losing but he was particularly terrible.
Hopefully this game will have been useful to Capello in that he now knows which of his fringe players aren’t up to standard and which one’s are worthy of another crack.  That’s what these games are for really and it’s pleasing to see he picks players on current form and not reputation, but that doesn’t explain how Ashley Cole keeps getting picked.  At the final whistle all the England players came over to the away end to acknowledge the support which was nice, most of the 5,000 England fans had left by then though!
20 minute walk back into town and a couple more beers before retiring for the night.
We were woke at 9am by the bells of Seville Cathedral and all the surrounding churches ringing their bells completely randomly for what seemed like hours but was probably only about 2 minutes.  So we got up and made our way back to the train station.  Steve eventually found somewhere selling donuts so he was happy!
The train to Malaga seemed to be completely full of England fans.  With a few hours to spare before we needed to be at the airport and with the sun blazing down we did the only logical thing and went to the beach with a few cans of lager.  The next couple of hours were probably the highlight of the trip – paddling in the Mediterranean and lying on the beach surrounded by half naked women.  Marvellous.  Not a care in the world, snow?  Floods?  Recession?
But all good things come to an end and with a feeling of resignation we got a taxi back to the airport.  We were back to reality when the plane door opened at East Midlands airport at 10pm with a sharp blast of icy air.
An excellent trip all-round despite England losing (twice).
Now, who wants to lend me a few hundred quid to get me to Kazakhstan in June?
Pete and Steve – England and Leicester       
February 2009

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