Real Football in Spain

As everyone knows, football is the the best sport in the world. No other sport comes close to matching it's worldwide appeal in terms of participation, spectator numbers and passion. So why is it that when most of us get to a (ahem) "certain age" it dawns on us that the big clubs with their overpaid, ponytail'd, nivea-promoting, soft-as-shite playing squads should all just bugger off to a European super league and let the rest of us get on with the real stuff.
Pre-kick-off at F C Cartagena's 15,000 capacity stadium

There is a thriving football pyramid in Spain, thriving in terms of participation and passion if not necessarily spectator numbers and/or financial security. But I know next to nothing about Spanish football beyond the existence of La Liga and the handful of its clubs that represent it on the European stage. Not unlike the Premiership and Championship in England, the top two divisions in Spain are La Liga (20 teams) and the Segunda Division (22 teams). But the third tier in Spain - Segunda Division B - actually consists four "Grupos" of 20 teams each so 80 in total. And the fourth tier Tercera Division consists eighteen regional Grupos of 20 teams. That's 440 teams making up the third and fourth tiers. Promotion and relegation between the tiers, including play-offs, is complicated and I won't even try to go there. But that is a lot of football to become acquainted with and now that I don't have to worry about work any more, I am thinking that exploring Spain via its football teams sounds a pretty good way to spend some time.

Now, at the time of writing, there isn't any football to watch anywhere - remember, always close the fridge door (in-blog joke). But the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have provided me with the time and inclination to get this blog off the ground, up and running as it were. So when football is back on the agenda, Mrs C and I are looking forward to exploring more of Spain, its towns and cities, its real football and its real beer. But as far as the footie is concerned, it won't be the Real Madrids or the Barcelonas that we're interested in. We want to get to know the real football scene, the histories, fans and stories from the Segunda B and Tercera Divisions. We've only experienced the one game so far and that was Cartagena's (Segunda B, Grupo 4) opening game of the current/ now cancelled 2019/20 season. But next time we'll blog about the experience. And then we'll look forward to the next one of the potentially 439 other visits we have at our disposal.

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