Antequera fans celebrating their team's win. SUR
Up, up and away

Up, up and away

Anyone can be a fan of Real Madrid by saying "I'm now a fan of Real Madrid". I propose, instead, that everybody be legally obliged to support a team whose ground is within twenty miles of their birthplace

Peter Edgerton.

Friday, 21 April 2023, 12:38

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Up at the northern tip of Murcia, sits a town of 35,000 souls, all pottering about, undertaking their daily business which, among other things, includes producing some mighty fine wines and lashings of lip-smacking gazpacho.

Yecla, then, is one of those many Spanish places which sounds like it might be great for a short break. The truth is, however, that I'd never heard of it until this week, when I stumbled across its Wikipedia page while investigating the Yeclano Deportivo football club and its origins.

Why on earth were you doing that, Peter? Well, because Antequera football club had just beaten them 2-0, thus securing themselves a place in what, effectively, is the Spanish third division - La Primera RFEF. So it's hats off to the Marea Verde (the Green Tide) who, next season, will be playing in the same category as, among others, Deportivo de La Coruña, winners of the top division as recently as the year 2000.

It's such a joy to see smaller teams do well and, surely, for the 4,500 spectators crammed into the El Maulí stadium for the decisive match, their delight must have matched - possibly outstripped - any experienced by fans of the massive, money-machine clubs when they win yet another trophy in front of millions watching on television.

Anyone can be a fan of Real Madrid, for example, just by saying "I'm now a fan of Real Madrid" and this is simply wrong.

I propose, instead, that everybody be legally obliged to support a team whose ground is within twenty miles of their birthplace. Failure to comply with this eminently sensible legislation would incur a suitably harsh punishment such as being locked in a room and made to watch old videos of big clubs cruising to victory over little teams simply because of their vast wealth, followed by footage of their supporters indulging in their groundless, misplaced gloating.

Having once been an avid football fan - for decades in fact - I barely bother with it now as the gap between rich and poor gradually becomes a chasm. Meanwhile, it's stories like that of Antequera this season which are still capable of stirring a sense of joy and wonder deep in the heart. Theirs will be the first result I look for in the paper next season.

Come on you Green and Whites! (Ok, that chant needs a bit of work).

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