Yes, we can make a mark in football
The Espanyol field in Barcelona, Spain

Yes, we can make a mark in football

REAL SPORTS SCENE - Anthony Suntay (The Philippine Star) - September 25, 2018 - 12:00am

During my recent trip to Spain, I had the opportunity to visit two ball clubs with a rich history of football, and one with a direct link to the Philippines. 

While I was in Europe, I received an email from David Bley from the communications department of RCD Espanyol de Barcelona, who learned from La Liga Philippines representative Almudena Gomez that I would be in the area and interested to visit football clubs.

The many trophies of Espanyol

So I headed to Espanyol, one of the league’s oldest teams, and there I was met by David with another David (Tolo), their historian. They opened the stadium just for us — me and my kids Annika and Kael —  and we were brought to all the areas we wanted to see. We were even allowed to step onto the pitch, which is hallowed ground.

They let us in their museum, which contained all their hardware from all competitions since the ball club was established, along with pictures of important moments in their club’s history. 

Espanyol have won the Copa del Rey four times, the last being in 2006, and reached the UEFA Cup final in 1988 and 2007.

The museum

But what was very interesting was the Filipino connection that was brought up by Tolo when he mentioned that the club’s president Manuel Meler Urchaga (from 1970-82) was also the chief of a company called Tabacos de Filipinas, the national company of tobacco in Spain, and he made a trophy called the Pedro Domeq, where Espanyol became the first team to play in the Philippines in 1978, playing twice here in the country. 

When we traveled to Madrid, we then had the chance to visit Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, the home of Atlético Madrid.

 This tour was arranged by Míchel Martin Hernandez, head of Clubs Communications, and Silvia Cosia, head of International Communications, of the La Liga head office.

Kael and Annika at the stadium tunnel

The sight of one of the league’s newest stadiums was amazing!

They understand the growth of football and that is why this stadium can fit almost 70,00 spectators. Obviously, trying to make sure that every fan’s view is enhanced, the stadium was built in such a way that you can appreciate the action regardless of where you are sitting.

At their state of the art locker room

It also boasts probably the largest media center, I‘ve seen, understanding that media really plays a major role in promoting the club and all its activities.  

Atlético is the third most successful club in Spanish football, having won 10 La Liga titles, including a league and cup double in 1996; the Copa del Rey 10 times; were Champions League runners-up in 1974, 2014 and 2016; won the Europa League 2010, ‘12, and ‘18; and were on top of the UEFA Super Cup in 2010, 2012 and 2018. 

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Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @anthonysuntay, and like my Facebook page: Anthony Suntay.

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