La Liga’s Fish & Chip Wrappers
‘Match report Special’
Estadio Carlos Tartiere ~ Sunday 13th February 18:30
Oviedo, the city that erected a life-sized statue of the screenwriter, director, actor, playwright, comedian, author and jazz musician, Woody Allen.
Oviedo, a place that, thanks to Woody Allen, can list actress Scarlett Johansson as one of its visitors, albeit provoked by the filming of ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’.
Oviedo, birthplace of Carmen Polo, the wife of General Franco, Caudillo de España.
Oviedo, home of Real Oviedo, Stanley Victor Collymore’s final football club, after a couple of substitute appearances he disappeared in his usual insouciant manner, later releasing a statement via his agent announcing his retirement.
Financial mismanagement and irregularities hurt the club badly towards the end of the 90’s, Real Oviedo’s most successful period. During the 90’s under the guidance of Raddy Antic (Luton Town fans may remember him, David Pleat definitely does…) they were steady mid-table finishers with Robert Prosinečki in fine fettle, alongside current Portugal manager, Paulo Bento.
Fast forward to a rainy Sunday in February 2011 and one can hear the footfalls of a local derby, Sporting B, that’s right, Sporting reserves from neighbouring Gijón, visit Oviedo in a match that can only represent a chance to keep pride intact.
The second half was decidedly spicy. On 60 minutes an off-the-ball incident occurred leaving the Oviedo striker Rubiato pole-axed, the Sporting player in question, Alain, chased the referee around with ‘cupping spilled blood’ gestures. After a quick consultation with the lino, both saw red, a tunnel fight ensued.
Eventually, the final whistle was blown, finishing Real Oviedo 0 Real Sporting de Gijón reserves 1. The boos rang around the 30,500 capacity stadium, the echoes not numbed by the crowd swell of just 8,000.
I felt sympathy for the home side, from gracing the top division to being humbled by their biggest rivals’ reserve team in a little over 10 years, however, on remembering that I was charged 25 euros for the pleasure, the pity abated fairly swiftly.
With the Oviedo connection in mind I was left to stroll home wondering if Stan Collymore ever approached Woody Allen for a film role. I imagine the Oviedo film cognoscenti wouldn’t pay 25 euros to watch that.