Saturday 19th December 2015 ko 17.00
Segunda B Grupo 4
ALGECIRAS CF 2 (Javi Medina 6 Javi Chico 90)
LA HOYA LORCA 1 (Roberto 83)
Entry (Tribuna- main stand) €15 (£11)
If ever there was the very epitomy of a port town it’s Algeciras. If you want to know where your Spanish import said goodbye to it’s mother country, chances are that it was the port the other side of the bay from Gibraltar. The town has always been associated with the sea, firstly from smuggling from North Africa, then via more conventional trading routes. In fact the real surprise for me was just how difficult the Estadio Neuvo Mirador was to reach from a base in Gibraltar.
With Spain maintaining a claim on the British-held rock it was hardly surprising that no public transport crosses the border to La Linea de la Concepcion. But once into Spain, the nearest train is in San Roque, but that only operates three trains a day to Algeciras, so the more obvious option was to use the bus service from La Linea. The service is reasonably frequent, but do watch out for the last bus times, they do tend to be quite early!
But once you’ve got to Algeciras, your next problem is actually getting to the stadium. The club moved from the old crumbling El Mirador stadium on the sea-front in 1999 in favour of a new-build next door to an industrial estate on the very edge of town. And try as I might I couldn’t find a bus service to it! We were fortunate that travelling companion Simeon’s brother Justin lives near Malaga, and he came to visit, and decided to extend his time with us, and drove us to the game. It made a potentially difficult journey very straightforward, and it was wonderful to spend time with an old friend.
Now I know what you’re thinking a this point, so let’s pull a couple of quotes into context, “..a new-build..” “…on the very edge of town..” and you could be forgiven that you’d be visiting somewhere dull. Add to the fact that the ground is to exactly the same spec’ as the Estadio Municipal Butarque in Madrid, home to CD Leganés, also in the third tier Segunda B and you’d probably be writing this place off altogether.
But the Madrid version doesn’t have the Rock of Gibraltar as its backdrop, and even the shipping containers stored beyond the “Preferencia” seemed to be in keeping with the club’s shipping roots. We soon discovered the beating heart of the club though, and that was the bar underneath the “Tribuna,” complete with table football players in club colours. The locals found us a restaurant for a pre-match meal, and after the game were sufficiently amused by their English guests to provide a round of beers on the house!
The game was the kind of fixture that is perfect for the occasional visitor. Algeciras made the early breakthrough, a shot rebounding off La Hoya keeper Salcedo, hitting home forward Javi Medina and trickling in..
La Hoya have become famous for their “Brocoli” themed change kit, their part of Murcia is famous for agriculture, and the logo, “Necesitamos Agua” (We Need Water) refers to the irrigation problems the local farmers have. They’ve even picked up the nickname “El Broccoli Mecanico,” or the clockwork brocoli, a reference to their excellent performances in the kit!
This wasn’t to be their day, they fought hard and deservedly equalised through Roberto, but with a few seconds of second-half stoppage time left Javi Chico’s delicious curling free kick sailed past Salcedo, to give Algeciras the win. The friendly locals loved it, and whilst you couldn’t begrudge them their win, it did seem rather unfair on the Clockwork Brocoli..