Spanish football: Alavés
In the first of a new Spanish football series, Spain Buddy offers a mini guide to the country’s clubs. I’ll start off with the Primera Liga teams. Using an alphabetical order, let’s kick off with Alavés.
Alavés…in 90 seconds
You’ll have to hit the north of Spain if you want to catch Alavés playing a non-away fixture. For Deportivo Alavés SAD, to give the club their full name, hail from the beautiful Basque Country capital of Vitoria-Gasteiz. They’re based at the Estadio Mendizorraza in the south west of town, the third oldest stadium in the country but one which is very much of this millennium with its hi-tech cantilevered corner stands and roof over the main Southern tribuna.
Argentinian goalkeeper Martín Herrera won the prestigious Trofeo Zamora in his debut season with the club by conceding a mere 37 goals in 38 games over the course of 1999-2000. Two seasons later, it was Valencian-born but English-style striker Javi Moreno aka Búfalo and Killer who was making headlines at the other end of the pitch, with 28 goals in 42 top-flight games. More recently star names have been players ending and starting their professional careers, with Spanish international defender Abelardo retiring after his sole season with the club in 2002-2003 and promising midfielder Marcos Llorente currently on loan from Real Madrid.
Despite Alavés being a smallish club from a provincial city, they have made headlines on the back pages since their foundation in 1921. Although winning lower-flight titles and the Copa Federación in 1946 (the cup which plays prince to the Copa del Rey), their main claim to fame is reaching the 2001 UEFA Cup final where the team lost 5-4 to Liverpool courtesy of a golden goal. Going into the international break, currently (October 8 2016) they lie 12th in the LaLiga Santander following promotion in 2015-16.
Club-Shop Essential Purchase
For the casual in your life (and, hey, that’s allowed to be you), how about the Polo de Azul? Stylishly blue and white, it’s cut retro style. Yours for 25€.
You can purchase club goodies HERE.
Head to Bar Deportivo Alavés in Plaza de la Virgen Blanca where you can line your stomach with pinchos and tapas whilst supping on a cold one. The tortilla here is considered one of the most moreish in the city. And a delicious/nutritious way to start/end the day.
The third most popular club in the Basque Country, Alavés trail the rather more celebrated pair of Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad. The capacity of the Mendizorrotza is 19,840. However the stadium has only seen a full house once this season so far, in the recent 4-1 home defeat to Real Madrid.
Given Spain’s link to the church, it comes as little surprise to discover that official club songs are known as himnos (hymns). Alavés’ hymn Bravo equipo albiazul was penned by local poet and musician Alfredo Donnay. It’s seriously old school and is sung religiously by the terrace choir.
Damage to Your Wallet
The most expensive 2016-17 season ticket left the purchaser €590 poorer. You can buy individual match tickets online HERE. With the cheapest adult tickets going for €20.
Matthew Hirtes has been an expat since moving to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria back in 2004. He's travelled extensively through Spain, covering it for such publications as Telegraph Travel, Metro, and The Independent. The author of Going Local in Gran Canaria: How To Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, Matthew truly is a resident expert. He's also Mr Gran Canaria Local, the man behind the island's most discerning blog.