On our hot and sunny Seville walkabout Sunday we happened upon an exceptionally large all-male crowd spilling out of an Irish pub and flooding the sidewalk for several shopfronts beyond it.
Of the more than 100 fellas, several were half-dressed, most were more than half cut.
We’d inadvertently stumbled across the lair of the legendary soccer hooligans. These specimens, however, were out of their native habitat - they were of the English variety, obvious by the Manchester United and other banners on display.
Later that day we learned at some large event tents set up on Alameda de Hercules that on Monday there was a futbol (soccer) game in Seville; the UEFA Group A4 inaugural Nations League match between. Spain vs England.
Blah blah blah, suffice to say it’s a really big deal. Thousands turning out in Seville to watch England’s final training session on Sunday.
We had a lot of fun at a game in Barcelona so the temptation to purchase tickets was strong.
We learned first that the 51,000-seat stadium was nearly sold out. Second, that
nosebleed seats ran 60€ each. A few pairs of better seats were available at
84€, 100€ ($150 CDN). We even had access to “a rare find” in row 24 for just 431€ per ticket.
We decided the rain forecast ruled attending out. Sour grapes, in other words.
Monday did start out sprinkling, and our usual self-directed walking tour took back past the lads again. They still singing and chanting, but were well dressed. Well, not well-dressed, but warmly. National team scarves and regional team banners waved madly in the wind and rain.
By 4 it was pouring. We felt so clever as we set our sopping wet clothes, bags and umbrellas in the bathtub.
On the TV pre-game we saw today’s pub crowd again. Duncan noticed the banner for Sunderland, where he has family.
From the news we learned that a group of England supporters had been dispersed by riot police the previous night, after the team practice session. News reports stated that about 3000 England supporters had traveled to Seville.
Ahhh, I said to myself, that explains the paddy wagons, mounted police and riot-geared-up coppers we saw at the pub this afternoon.
“Goooooooaaaaal!” This is maybe one of the most important words related to Spanish culture. Football is easily Spain’s most important sport and the Spanish people the most dedicated fans.