Apologies for not having blogged yesterday but the local Xerez fans took us on a pre-season drinking session of epic proportions following their pre season friendly in nearby Rota on Wednesday night and I've only just recovered. Amusingly, Xerez played Rota on a rota-system - with two Regional division sides (Division 4 or 5 English equivalent) playing the tier two Xerez in either half of their pre-season friendly. There were two reasons why the match was interesting to watch: 1) it was played in a stadium (of sorts) and not a training pitch whilst, 2) there were no Pompey fans.
Wednesday had started innocuously enough with a visit to the Xerez football ground. I was most excited about one corner of the 20k capacity (pah) stadium hosting a hotel - apparently paying guests can relax on this balcony to watch games during the season. What with Falmer's popularity, could this still happen at the New Withers? We certainly hope so.
Having circumnavigated the stadium in classic TSLR style, it was off to the nearest bar for a cerveza. Whilst sat outside the pub, there was a Xerez first-team veteran player - Jose Marie (not Maria as previously mentioned on Twatter) - who was sat in the sunshine drinking two beers. He was on the pitch for the first half of the friendly about five hours later and actually played quite well. A true pro and surely the perfect example to set to the younger lads. Second half, he was topless and drinking another beer. Lad.
The seven goals served up that night and the six the night before in the Albion match certainly prove we've been getting our money's worth in an attacking sense this trip. Below is a list of observations I made about Albionites, Andulusian football and Xerez supporters over the week:
1) There is a totally bizarre obsession amongst Xerez fans for West Ham and London - based entirely upon the dreadful film, Green Street.
2) The local media are clever - their caption of a 'typical English fan' in Wednesday's newspaper was the perfect description of a topless Pompey supporter.
3) Senoritas turn out at pre-season Spanish friendlies dressed like they're going to a nightclub in Mayfair.
4) They don't sell Harvey's. Anywhere.
5) Stalking the Albion players may seem like a good idea but when you are actually looking over a hedge to see Charlie Oatway jogging, it really feels, and is, a bit wrong.
6) Vicente remains the finest player to ever play for the Albion. He set up four against Portsmouth including one for himself and, if he stays fit, we'll win the league. Some Albionites are still hot under the collar from getting to within three feet of the great man.
7) Fran Sandaza would love it here - it's Spanish and full of horses.
8) Try and watch Albion in both pre-season friendlies (club announcements permitting) or else you'll be upset at leaving on the day of the second game.
9) Whenever TSLR head off on holiday, the sunshine back home is better. Feel free to send us donations for our next trip.
10) Sherry isn't that nice - tis a bit too sweet and should only be drunk at Christmas. Prefereably, with a grandparent.
11) Never trust a man who only drinks sherry - he seemed nice enough but there was danger in those eyes.
12) Too much beer and sun makes Englishman tired (I re-learn that one on every foreign trip).
13) Singing Gaviotas (Seagulls) at the top of your voice in a nightclub can be surprisingly well received by people that think you're a nationalist (see some Spanish political party who have hijacked the seagull as a logo).
14) Asking to go to watch a bull fight is thought of as nationalist and doesn't go down well amongst staunch left-wing Xerez fans.
15) And some sunbathing advice, you need to go red to go brown.
And that is, for the most part at least, that. Where next? Oh yep, Swindon - don't forget the factor 30.