100 Day Tour

100 Days for 10,000 Euros

On the 21st of September 2017, Steve Hall will start off on a 100 day virtual tour of Spain.

Yes, a digital tour where he will be viewing the four corners of Spain through the eyes of local hosts and writers. It will be a virtual tour of Spain which should be of interest to thousands already here in Spain and those thinking of coming. He will be shown what is the very best of Spain and what makes Spain unique. He will be “staying in” favourite but modest hostels in Calatayud and Barcelona and magnificent hotels in Madrid and Ronda. He will take a look at some of the most exquisite properties on sale as well as the most stunning sunsets and mountainscapes through words, images and video. He will “mingle” with the tourists in Benalmádena and the locals in Zaragoza. He will “catch” trains and boats and planes and, no doubt, a few ALSA buses.

His company along the way will be the ladies of Costa Women who are “partners” for the tour and the members of www.myexpatsworld.com who will be sponsors. Notionally, he will be “driving” in the car kindly supplied by Coys of Torrevieja for the journey. Steve is famed for his staple diet of pizza (the food of the gods) and coffee (the drink of the gods) so I know that Lauren Aloise and her team at Devour Tours will, no doubt, help him to understand the finer points of Spanish cuisine.

The Virtual Tour

The journey will start on the twenty-first of September in Madrid.In fact it will start in the very epi-centre of Madrid. No, not at the Moncloa or the Plaza Mayor but at his favourite bar in Spain, the Gastrobar Ópalo where the owners and staff are offering superb support. For a an who survives on pizza and coffee, he has become a huge supporter of their vegetarian food and alcohol free beer. The good news is that they serve GREAT meat and fantastic cocktails too!

It will move north to Bilbao and then west to Galicia. After visiting Santiago de la Compostela at the end of the “Camino” he will go inland through the west of Spain down to Andalucia and Gibraltar before taking the ferry to the Canaries. A few days later he will return to the mainland, visit Granada, Almeria and Cartagena and then spend time with his friend Keith Nicol in Torrevieja where Steve lived for many years. He will be at the Expat Spain Exhibition in the Salt City on the 11th/13th November before he goes to the Balearics. On his return to the Levante he will amble up the coast to Denia, Jávea and Calpe before he arrives at Spain’s third city, Valencia. After a few days in a favourite part of Spain, he’s off to finish the tour in Barcelona.

The highlights of this virtual/digital tour will be ironically some “in real life” visits …. in Madrid where he will attend an ACN International Event, the Torrevieja Exhibition and at and the Writers and Bloggers about Spain Annual Retreat in November. See you on the way?

So, what is this journey? Why is he doing it?

At least half a dozen reasons, I am told.

#Something of a homage to Spain. A pilgrimage to Spain, if you like. He has lived here 15+ years and is embarrassed that there are still provinces in the north that he does not “know” despite spending a lot of these years “on the road.”



#He aims to raise 10,000 euros (100 euros per day) for the AECC (Spanish Cancer Charity) via Rock Against Cancer Charity

#Equally over this period, he has had contact with hundreds of ebuddies who he would love to meet. (I wonder how many know how deaf he is!) He is active in a writers’ group and he would like to spotlight their work. One of his friend’s is Jorge Varo from Regus and Steve will be visiting every Regus in Spain …..and Gibraltar!

#He is a passionate “Remainer” and is fascinated by people’s hopes and fears of Brexit. He will be looking for reactions.

#He is also planning to walk the Camino del Norte once an injury clears, so this will be great preparation.

#Most of all, he hopes that you, the reader, enjoy this 100 day tour of the Kingdom of Spain.

#The route is going to take in a lot of Spanish football grounds …..watch this space!

Please follow him as he travels his journey through Spain. The journey will be charted on www.thisisspain.info, www.HotCosta.com and will be shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, EmpireKred and many other social media channels. At the end of the journey he will produce an e-Book which will be sent to every single supporter. Obviously, this makes it a great opportunity for Tourist Information Centres, town councils, travel companies and even commercial entities to become involved. Please, shout if you have any suggestions.

In 2010 Steve did a similar journey but this time on a cycle and “In Real Life” as he cycled around the United Kingdom to raise awareness for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That was a journey of four months and 5000 kilometers. Then in 2015 he did a 90 Day Virtual Tour of Spain that was very successful on every level. This latest tour of Spain with more supporters and more focus on the Charity fundraising looks a little easier!

2017 Shirts

Brentford Home 2017/2018

2017 Shirts

The new season is upon us and most clubs seem to have new shirt designs and/or sponsors’ logos.

Some are simply reinventing the wheel and I fear many are “launched” more with an eye to empty the fans’ pockets rather than that there is anything inherently wrong with the 2016/2017 design! Among those that I have seen I like the Brentford shirts and over the next few days, I will add some of the more interesting shirts I see on my travels.

Andreas Hugo Hoelgebaum Pereira

Andreas Pereira, the Manchester United player, on loan at Valencia in their 2017/2018 strip. He will be pleased to know that even their casual wear is sponsored now by NP Makarthy, the Spanish fashion business.

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona

I got a very interesting email from my friends at Copa today. What a small world it is!

“Last weekend we were pleasantly surprised to see the one and only Diego Maradona wearing our Argentina Capitano T-shirt in the new Bavaria Beer commercial.

El Diego, of course one of our ultimate childhood heroes, wore the shirt in a promotion inspired by the famous van Basten-video by Bavaria, shot almost 25 years ago.

The Argentina Capitano T-shirt and other Argentinian retro shirts can be found on copafootball.com and via selected retailers and online resellers.”

Coolligan

Coolligan

I was strolling around Madrid yesterday when I came across the Coolligan store in the very centre of the city. Oh, happy day! It’s a veritable treasure trove of quality football memorabilia. Like my friends Copa in Amsterdam it is part display and part museum. For somebody like me, an Alladin’s cave.

There is a huge selection of football shirts (current and retro) but these are not replica kits to wear for 5-a-side or to kit out an amatuer side. These are high quality leisure wear. I was delighted to see so many of many favourite shirts including many of the classics from the 60s and 70s…..fashionable but without the omnipresent sponsors’ logos!

A couple I really liked are the Zaire shirt from 1974 and the 1900 Scotland shirt (above)

If you are in Madrid, please pop in. Otherwise, they run a mail order service. Incidentally, they have stores in Málaga and Galicia too. Please visit their website www.Coolligan.com

U. Adarve

Unión Adarve

This week I have come across possibly one of the most interesting football stories I have read in many a year. It deals with a Madrid club who play literally walking distance from the Real
Madrid Santiago Bernabéu stadium but who are a million miles away.

The club is Unión Adarve and their presidente is the charismatic Luis Gómez whose team has just been promoted to Segunda B, the third level of Spanish football. There is nothing unusual about a promotion story but when you look into the background it is an amazing (fairy-)tale.

The club is just 25 years’ old and is what is called a “barrio” club. These traditionally gets their players and supporters from one local district or neighbourhood of a city. Often these clubs have kids teams from 4/5 years all the way through to adults and often there is a ladies team, a 5-a-side team and a seniors’ team too. If anybody watched the TV series “Pelotas”, you will know what I mean. Generally these adult teams have no massive ambitions but they are a vital social function of the area. Unión Adarve have done it slightly differently though! With the lowest budget in their Tercera division and after a poor start they got through the league and the playoffs to reach the dizzy heights of 2B! Note also that they do NOT charge for admission …..ever! This season too they have stated again that they will not charge for admissiom. In English terms they are playing at the same level as Portsmouth, Bradford City, Wigan and Charlton ….but their capacity is just eight hundred!

Luis Gómez used a recent article in AS, the national Spanish sports’ paper to make his thoughts very clear about the amateur nature of the lower leagues in Spanish football. It is frankly eye-opening! This week I am looking to make an appointment to see whether we can create some sort of support for the club à la Peña Internacional Malaguista at Málaga CF or, more likely FC Torrevieja with its famous Torry Army.

Whatever happens, I wish them every success.

(PS The season got off to a good start with a 1-1 away draw at Valladolid B)

La Liga

La Liga 2017/2018

Marca have produced a nice guide to the shirts worn by all the La Liga teams for this season. Click on the start page and you go through each club one at a time where you will see there shirt for the season and the squad numbers.

If you want to learn more about this season’s La Liga, Marca has also posted a team by team review where it is clear that Real Madrid are the clear favourite’s for the season just about to begin. They kick off with a potential banana skin at Deportivo Coruña but what will the next 37 games bring? See here for expert analysis in English.

Commemorative shirt worn against Betis in honour of the victims of the Catalonia atrocities.

Mourning



Barcelona in Mourning

Within 24 hours terrorists launched two atrocities in Catalonia. More than a dozen innocent people were slaughtered in the centre of Barcelona and a few hours later another band of terrorists struck in Cambrils to the south of the capital.

The immediate decision of the Barcelona board was to honour the dead and injured by taking the players’ name off the shirts for this weekend’s game against Betis.

#Respect

Goalsoul

Goalsoul

I was delighted to find Goalsoul this week. The Sheffield-based company say,”we create visually stunning and unique football t-shirts infused with spirit, style and quality.

Our original designs celebrate the iconic players, teams and memorable incidents in football’s rich and diverse history. The goalsoul collection of artwork, graphic tees and associated apparel, is an eclectic mix. We pay tribute to the cultural vitality of the most beautiful game of all.”

On that basis, it would be rude for me not to highlight them! Please check their beaitifully designed website.

Brentford Community Stadium

Brentford Community Stadium

Planning amendments proposed before construction starts on Brentford Community Stadium
Brentford FC, together with its development partner Be (formerly Willmott Dixon Residential), are presenting amendments to the approved Brentford Community Stadium development to members of the London Borough of Hounslow (LBH) Planning Committee on 24 August before plans are submitted in early September for the Council to consider. These are the final changes which, subject to approval by LBH, will mean construction of the new stadium will start early in 2018 with the aim of completion by late 2019 or early 2020.

Since the original planning permission was granted in June 2014, significant changes have taken place both within the development marketplace and in relation to Premier League football and Premiership rugby union requirements. As a result, the Club and Be have undertaken a detailed review, to ensure the stadium is Premier League compliant upon completion; to enhance the urban and residential design; and to reduce the risks from the stadium construction process and its future operation.
The result is a stadium that is smaller in capacity (down from 20,000 seats to 17,250) and which will be sited three metres south of its original location. This will allow the incorporation of a road at the northern perimeter to improve access through the site and ease the construction constraints imposed by a site bounded on all sides by railway lines. In addition, Be are taking this opportunity to revise the residential development to create a better and more integrated sense of place, with increased permeability. The stadium and the enabling residential development will remain within the planning envelope approved in 2014 and there is no increase in either the height or the overall number of homes within the residential development.

These amendments will not impact on the overall quality of the stadium. In fact, recent successful seasons in the Championship have only served to harden the resolve of the owner, Matthew Benham, and the management team of the Football Club to continue its pursuit of Premier League status. This is illustrated by the fact that a key amendment involves the inclusion of Premier League compliant Outside Broadcast facilities within the stadium itself, together with facilities to meet the latest Premier League requirements for lighting and media. Similarly, the new stadium will benefit from premium lounges with the capability of welcoming up to 3,000 guests. There is also provision for some safe standing, when legislation allows for this.

The facilities for the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust will not now be within the stadium itself. Instead, it’s proposed that the Trust’s offices, Learning Zone and Hounslow’s Interim Education Centre will be housed in the ground and first floor of the Central Eastern residential block, immediately next to the stadium, giving them dedicated facilities which can be used 365 days a year, something that was not possible if they had been located in the stadium.

The proposed amendments to the residential development are focussed around the first phase and specifically about improving the experience for all those who will come to enjoy the site. A new square which knits the apartment buildings and the stadium together provides a proper main entrance to the stadium, whilst the addition of non-residential uses around the square will make it somewhere people will want to come on non-match days. The look of the buildings has been improved to make them much more in keeping with the existing architecture in the local area and the apartment buildings themselves have been re-planned to better suit market needs. Of the 910 homes consented for the scheme, 487 will be delivered in the first phase with residents able to both rent and buy.

Cliff Crown, Chairman of Brentford FC said: “I would like to thank the fans of Brentford FC for their support and patience during this last stage of detailed planning. I know that some fans may be concerned that the capacity of the stadium will be reduced but it is critical that this project is as financially robust and deliverable as possible. I am delighted that we are continuing to prepare for life in the Premier League with enhanced media, Outside Broadcast and lighting facilities to make the stadium fully compliant from day one, with provision for safe standing as soon as legislation allows.”
Conor Hayes, Chairman of Lionel Road Development Ltd and Corporate Adviser (appointed May 2016), added: “We are looking forward to submitting these planning amendments that are the final hurdle to us getting on site to start the stadium build itself. These proposals will help make the scheme as financially robust as possible, whilst still providing a high quality stadium and residential development that will help to regenerate this area, provide significant benefits to the local communities and deliver a Premier League ready stadium.”

Matthew Townend, Managing Director at Be Living Ltd said: “We have had a very productive six months, working closely with the club. These proposed amendments will improve the fans’ experience as they approach and leave the stadium, enhance the amenity for future residents and, we believe, create a greater sense of place not just on match days, but all year round for everyone coming to the development.”

London Pride

Fuller’s and Brentford FC renew an old partnership

Fuller, Smith and Turner PLC, the London brewer and premium pub company, and Brentford Football Club are delighted to announce a new strategic partnership. A two-year agreement has been reached for Fuller’s to become an Official Club Partner of Brentford FC in a deal that sees London Pride continue to be available to supporters on matchday at Griffin Park. Fuller’s and Brentford have a history that goes back more than a century, to when Fuller’s donated a nearby apple orchard to the Club, which became their Griffin Park home in 1904 – the name being a nod to Fuller’s Griffin Brewery.

The new deal sees Fuller’s become Brentford’s Official Premium Ale Partner. London Pride will be available on every bar including The Hive, the main supporters’ bar. Their partnership features key branding round the stadium, including on Brentford’s incoming perimeter LED advertising system, the London Pride pint and can mascots will be making regular appearances and Fuller’s was the Match Sponsors for the first home league game of the season, when The Bees took on Nottingham Forest on Saturday 12 August.

Other elements of the package, to be activated in the future, will include player appearances, match tickets and a two-way discount which will see special group promotions for Fuller’s employees, while Brentford FC Season Ticket Holders and Club Members will get a discount on tours of Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, Brewery shop and selected Fuller’s Pubs.

Simon Dodd, Managing Director of The Fuller’s Beer Company, said: “With the historic link between Brentford and Fuller’s, it’s great to see our flagship beer on sale at Griffin Park. We have a lot of Brentford supporters working at the Brewery, it is a club that is geographically very close and we know that London Pride will be a popular choice on The Bees’ bars.”

James Parkinson, Brentford FC Commercial Director, added: “The relationship between Fuller’s and Brentford goes back a long way and we are delighted to have now reached an official partnership agreement with Fuller’s. The Club prides itself in delivering engaging partnerships that reach beyond just branding and marketing, but which can deliver a true partnership, working together to add value to both our supporters and Fuller’s staff. We look forward to working with the Fuller’s team in the years to come.”

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