Friday, 10 September 2010

Estadio La Rosaleda (Málaga CF v Valencia CF)

I have just returned from a two-week holiday in Benalmádena on the Costa del Sol during which I was lucky enough to see Málaga CF play their first league game of the season at La Rosaleda. Although my wife and I had booked our holidays in January of this year I was not sure if Málaga were actually playing a home game during the 14 days we were in Spain (or even still playing in La Liga for that matter), also because I knew that the first weekend of September, as always, was reserved for international matches. La Liga were probably the last of the major leagues in Europe to release the fixture schedule for 2010/2011 and I was happy to find out that the first Málaga game of the season was a home match, against Valencia of all clubs. I was in Valencia last summer but unfortunately I was unable to see any games (a friendly against Arsenal taking place days after we had returned to Scotland) and I had only been able to take pictures of the beautiful Mestalla from outside the stadium.

Tickets for the Valencia game went on sale a few days before the game (when I was still in Scotland) and I had already heard that the cheaper tickets behind the goals (at €35) were usually the first to be gone. I had been in touch via email with Reggie who organises a coach from Inchy's Sports Pub in Benalmádena to all Málaga home games. He advised me to get my tickets as soon as possible because a near sell-out was expected and as soon as my wife and I had unpacked our suitcases on Friday 27th August we took the train to Málaga to purchase our briefs. After a 30-minute journey we arrived at María Zambrano train station. It was only a short walk to the Málaga CF shop in the Larios shopping mall but my heart sank when the lady in the shop shook her head when I asked if any tickets were left for the Valencia game. Fortunately it turned out she only meant that she did not speak English and plenty of tickets were left so we bought the cheapest ones still available at €40 each.

The next day we went to Inchy's bar in Benalmádena at around 5pm. It was packed with tourists, watching various football and rugby league games, and many ex-pats in Málaga CF replica shirts. I spoke to one of the guys having a pint outside the bar who told me the atmosphere at the Rosaleda was always brilliant, like being at a game 'back home 20 years ago.' I asked him if he knew Reggie but he did not although his pal knew he was the guy who made the new English-language fanzine (Los Blanquiazules, a good read by the way). After we got off the coach in Málaga I finally met Reggie and his wife (edit: no she is not...) Val, who turned out to be from Glasgow, and they showed us the bar where the Guiri Army meet up on matchdays, the Bodego Hermanos Madrid near the stadium. There were a lot of ex-pats and Spanish Málaga fans drinking on the street outside the bar, a tremendous pre-match atmosphere without a hint of trouble and no police presence. I have to say a much more enjoyable and authentic atmosphere than outside Camp Nou.

After a few beers my wife and I walked to the stadium and had some trouble finding our seats. The only steward in our section was not a very helpful chap but a Spanish supporter pointed us in the right direction. The match was virtually sold out and there was a lot of expectation in the air tonight despite the fact that the Boquerones only narrowly avoided relegation last season. The reason for this optimism is the recent takeover of the club by Qatari businessman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani. He has pledged to invest millions in the club over the next few years and he has already brought in a good number of new players for this season. The takeover also meant the club's sponsorshop deal with bookmakers William Hill was cancelled because gambling does not sit well with muslims (as it happens a bookmaker as shirt sponsor would not even be legal in the Netherlands).

However despite all the buzz, Valencia had a reasonably easy night at La Rosaleda. Málaga's new boys have potential but the team probably need a bit more time to gel. The home team were lucky to be level at half time (1-1) but after the interval Los Che made sure they would take all three points back to the Mestalla with two stunning Joaquín goals. The stadium was impressive and I went back last Monday for a tour of the ground which comes with a visit to the Málaga CF museum, pictures will follow soon! Despite the defeat the mood on the coach back to Benalmádena was still upbeat. I had a great time at La Rosaleda, definitely recommended if you are on holiday on the Costa del Sol!

For pictures of the stadium tour at La Rosaleda see this post.


A few pre-match drinks outside the Bodego Hermanos Madrid...


...where many ex-pat and Spanish supporters meet up before the game...


...with loads to drink but no trouble and no police.


Approaching La Rosaleda.


Spaniards love their nuts...


The Preferencia stand.


The Gol end.


The Fondo end.


The Tribuna, which is the main stand.


Málaga are about to take a free kick.


A rare picture of myself which my wife took at half time.


The more vocal element of the Málaga supporters can be found in one of the corners. You can also see the 'Guiri Army' flag.


The Preferencia after the final whistle.


The Gol stand after the game.


The Fondo end.


The Tribuna.


Saturday 28th August 2010
La Liga
Málaga CF 1 Valencia CF 3
Málaga: Sebastián Fernández 45.
Valencia: Aritz Aduriz 9, Joaquín 70, 74.
Att: 26,000

3 comments:

  1. Did you see me mate,i was the one falling over every where after sampling a few in those pubs :)
    Thanx for the good right up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have been twice before and believe I was high up in the Fondo end both times. I am about to buy a ticket for the first game of the season on 23 August 2014 v Bilbao. Right now there are €20 tickets in the middle at both the Fondo and Gol ends. I am happy to sit with the home fans but would rather not be among the most boisterous or " "singing" sections. Should I stick with the Fondo or am I safe to move to the Gol and if so are there any p[articular sections to avoid?

    It looks like you have to register on the web site to buy a ticket direct, which I don't mind if it's free; or do you have to be a a member to buy online?

    I don't want to go through Ticketmaster or any third party like that.

    On both previous occasions I bought a ticket at the ground but then it cost about double as all the cheap tickets were sold out.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do not think there is anything wrong with buying from Ticketmaster, they seem to be the official ticketing partner and are not acting as touts. I bought my tickets a few days in advance from the club shop in the shopping centre near the station of Malaga. You are right, the cheapest tickets sell out quick. When I went there was also a discount if you bought tickets in advance but I don't know if that still applies. For more information check these guys: http://www.malagafootballenglish.com or www.guiriarmy.com

    ReplyDelete

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