Well the football season is over and so is El Camino de la Liga. The challenge has been completed. Twenty stadiums have been visited and twenty Primera Division matches watched. I have travelled on foot as well as by bus, train and plane in an 18,700 km round trip. I have seen 51 goals, seven home wins, seven away wins and six draws. I have paid between 5 and 125 Euros for tickets.
People have been asking questions about my favourite match, best stadium etc. It’s difficult to pick out one trip but below are my awards.
Best Stadium: San Mamés (Athletic Bilbao). Known as the Cathedral, San Mamés is unique in Spanish football. It is a real loss to Spanish football that this was its last season and I feel privileged to have visited it.
Best home Support: Atlético Madrid. Really difficult call but in terms of noise, passion and loyalty it has to go to the colchoneros from the capital.
Best away support: Xerez. Clearly Xerez don’t usually take several thousand away supporters to matches but it was by far the largest and most vocal away support I saw.
Best club song: Sevilla. Anyone who has heard the himno de Sevilla will know what I am talking about, a great football song.
Best Banner: Xerez: Banner read “Xerez no es Cadiz” (Xerez isn’t Cadiz)
Best match: Almeria 2 Barcelona 2
Most watched teams: Athletic Bilbao and Valladolid (4 times)
Finally, El Camino de La Liga wouldn’t have been possible without the help of many people. I would like to thank Pedro Villar Yeates for his advice and help in Valencia and Mallorca. Russell Murrell for his help in Santander. Diana Osak for providing accommodation in both Santander and Tenerife. Juana Alosno for help with accommodation in Barcelona. Xavi Jané López and his family for help in Barcelona. Stephen Abrams for his help in Jerez. Rodrigo Garrido Delgado for his help in Valladolid. Fernando Urra Goñi for his help with Osasuna. And lastly, but definitely not least, Kasia Lewieniec for her help in every single trip. Without her none of this would have been possible and this is as much her achievement as mine.
I would also like to thank Jim Trainor from Vaughan Radio and InMadrid newspaper for helping to publicise the blog as well as friends of El Camino de la Liga at livinglaliga.com, madridatleticos and soccerwrapup.blogspot.com. Check these guys out, they all have excellent blogs. Finally thank you to everyone who has read El Camino de la Liga and left comments either on the blog itself or via other channels. It has really encouraged me to keep writing and persevere.
El Camino de la Liga is over and my weekends won’t be the same again. Well at least not until next season. Watch this space.