First World Problems at Rayo Vallecano
I Daniel Barthold
I Rayo Vallecano vs FC CD Lugo 1-0
I have been to Madrid several times and I really like the city, however, this trip was a bit different so I will more talk about the 11 hours I spent in town and most of this time at Barajas Airport. There are weeks where the own schedule is too busy to tick off new stadiums or you need to find a way to attend a game with very little time to spare. Strangely, living on an island with several major airports it is sometimes easier to fly abroad rather than travelling within the UK and it turned out that flying to Madrid was the best option this time. The flight departed 3pm from London-Stansted, landed 6.30pm in Madrid and kick-off at Rayo Vallecano was 8pm so it really needed to be a photo finish to make it on time for the game. In fact, everything went perfectly well and I arrived at Portazgo station, which is located right next to the stadium, about 8 minutes before the start of the match. The problem was that the police had other ideas and came up with the worst crowd management so a number of fans could not make it inside the stadium on time – Rayo are a left-wing club so a bit of provocation between police and Ultras surely caused this delay which was quite annoying. On top of that, a security guard told me that I could not enter the ground because I had an Ipad with me which could be used as a weapon. However, after I told a steward that I came all the way from London for this match he promised me to take care of the device until after the game. I trusted the guy – I had no choice anyway – and finally made it inside the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas….
Rayo Vallecano – CD Lugo 1-0
An average one as you would expect in La Liga 2 between a mid-table team and a below average side. The hosts were in control for most of the time but CD Lugo created a few good chances over the course of the evening. I think there could have been more goals in this game and overall, Rayo Vallecano deserved to win this without being too convincing.
Quite an interesting situation before the game was me buying my match ticket although, a guy said he had a spare season ticket for free on this night. He could not believe that I refused the offer and bought a stub ticket for my collection – sometimes people just don’t understand groundhoppers!
I really liked this ground due to various reasons. It is a rather old one without running track and I thought the two main stands looked decent. I was standing behind the goal where the Ultras made most of the noise and with Rayo being a left-wing, anti-fascist club you can see plenty of banners against racism all over the south stand. I could definitely tell that the die-hard Ultras were not too keen on the police forces being around so all the police staff remained at the gate and did not interfere with the fans. They basically ignored each other during the game “for the sake of everybody”.
At the end of the game, the steward returned my iPad so I was happy that he did not disappear mid-way through the game. Needless to say that these are First World problems to worry about an electronic device during a football match. I also thought that the banter and provocation is quite a privilege for European football fans. I can assure you any provocation between police and Ultras in South America would end “not so nice”.
HOW TO GET THERE
Taking the subway within Madrid is easy and convenient. From the airport it takes about an hour by tube to Portazgo station which is on the blue line (linea 1). It is also no problem at all to get to the city centre from Rayo Vallecano, there is a nice ‘Cerveceria’ opposite of the stadium though which seemed to be recently refurbished inside.
Madrid Barajas Airport is one of the major 5-6 European hubs so there are several flights daily from London, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon and other cities. I ridiculously paid 40€ return for the flight with a low budget airline which is cheaper than getting to the airport in London.
Born in 1983 in Hildesheim (Lower Saxony, Germany) and raised in the Hamburg Area. Supporter of FC St. Pauli and since 2010 living and working in London (England) as a sports business consultant. Groundhopping has been a passion since the early days but I am actively counting and ticking off grounds since the Euros 2004. I have been to 500 stadiums in 65 countries so far.