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Malaga football fans last Saturday. SUR
Promotion commotion
The Music Maker opinion

Promotion commotion

Why did SUR columnist Peter Edgerton find himself spontaneously clapping down at the pub last week?

Peter Edgerton / www.peteredgerton.com

Malaga

Friday, 14 June 2024, 15:21

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There haven't been that many times that I've found myself spontaneously clapping down at the pub. Maybe for someone offering a particularly good performance on open mic night or an annoying drunk waddling towards the exit, but, generally speaking, rounds of applause from the owner have been scant on the ground.

Imagine my surprise, then, when, last Saturday, I found myself vigorously putting my hands together in a totally spontaneous manner. What on earth had come over me? Well, Malaga football club of all things, that's what. Most of our regular customers had gone to the Rosaleda to see the promotion play-off semi-final second leg but we put it on the telly anyway, mainly because I wanted to watch it myself. In the end about twenty-five people turned up – many in their vintage Malaga shirts - and the tension was palpable. I've never seen so many 'pipas' (sunflower seeds) consumed at such a high rate of knots and with such skill. By contrast, the standard of football on offer was pretty poor, but that wasn't the point – Malaga were playing for the chance to get to the play-off final with the ultimate aim of being promoted to the Spanish second division and, thus, every school boy error on the pitch was greeted with the appropriate groans and grimaces.

Only a week previously, the pub had been rammed to the rafters for the final of the Champions League. 95% of those present were Real Madrid fans – 0% of them actually from Madrid, as far as I could tell. These occasions leave me stone cold these days; in fact, to tell the truth, in 2019, when Liverpool won their sixth Champions League, it barely registered with me which came as something of a surprise, given that I was a die-hard season ticket holder at Anfield for ten years, standing on the Kop on many-a bitter winter Tuesday, clutching a cup of watery Bovril, contemplating the driving rain and how I was going to explain not having done my physics homework the following morning. Sometimes, there'd be only fifteen or sixteen thousand people attending these matches – it must have been the Bovril.

Anyway, last Saturday's spontaneous applause was a cathartic moment for me since I'd long ago come to the conclusion that I'd just got bored with football. Malaga's victory proved otherwise – I just got bored with the monetised, greedy version of football. It's still the best sport in the world and will be even better if Malaga can now beat the curiously named Nástic (Club Gimnastic de Tarragona) over two legs and are promoted to the second division.

Stand by for more spontaneous applause.

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