In true WT fashion the itinerary changed almost daily, particularly as the fixture schedule for level-3 and 4 games is not published until Thursday morning the day before our flight to Alicante/Elche airport.
Our options became limited when most of the fixtures in the area coincided with our game of choice on Sunday evening at ELCHE (level-2, Segunda Division).
However, we found a game for Sunday morning a short tram ride from our base in MURCIA at CHURRA where the local Tercera league side were hosting MINERA at their small ground not a million miles from the REAL MURCIA stadium on the northern outskirts of the city. This would at least enable a two fixture weekend.
On the Saturday evening we had a look at the bull ring and the UCAM Murcia stadium in the old town of Murcia having returned from a day trip to Lorca and it's impressive castello. UCAM were ELCHE's opponents for the Sunday fixture and play at Real Murcia's old ground the 6,500 capacity La Condimino. We were in good spirits as the mighty Saints had demolished Sunderland at the Stadium of Light earlier in the afternoon.
On Sunday morning we decided not to travel to Elche in the afternoon but instead watch the local side Real Murcia in Segunda B (level 3) as the stadium looked impressive when we passed it on the coach on our way from the airport to our hotel in Murcia.
We bought our 5 Euro tickets at the gate for the 11:45 kick-off at CHURRA and enjoyed a number of visits to the friendly club bar while the two teams battled away to a 1-1 draw on the astro turf pitch. There was a minor skirmish when a dismissed Minera player had an altercation with a home fan on the touch-line.
After the game we took the tram north to the end of the line where the Estadio Neuva Condimino was situated adjacent to a large shopping mall. Three hours before the 5pm kick off the ground and it's environs were devoid of any signs that there would be a game on. On approaching the offices at the stadium we spotted a poster that confirmed that there was indeed a game as we had expected, then the relieved party retired for lunch.
Tickets were 8 Euros behind the goal. The 31,000 capacity stadium was impressive as were the views across the surrounding terrain and city from the top of the stands. REAL MURCIA took an early lead in front of 5,000 fans and despite going down to ten men held out for a narrow win against LINENSE, a team from near Gibraltar.
The trip ended after Monday was spent on the coast in splendid Cartagena where we lunched al fresco (do the French* have a word for that?) in 25 degrees.
Plans are well in hand for the next trip (#73) to PRAGUE in April where another 6 man expedition has been confirmed.
* Or indeed, Italians.