Spanish football: Real Sporting de Gijón
Love Spanish football? You’ll be a fan then of the series penned by fútbol-crazy Matthew Hirtes. Next up in the spotlight are Real Sporting de Gijón.
Real Sporting de Gijón…in 90 seconds
The original Rojiblancos (red and whites), Real Sporting de Xixón (as they’re known to Asturian locals) were formed in 1905, although they wouldn’t play a competitive game until 1907. It’s a little-known fact that the Spanish clubs you more commonly associate with these two colours, Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid, started off wearing blue and white before making the switch to ditch azul for rojo. Another historical curio comes in the stadium-sized form of Sporting Gijón’s ground as the Estadio Municipal El Molinón is the oldest in the whole of Spain; Sporting having played there since 1908.
In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, former Argentina goalkeeper Daniel Carnevali has named the junior football club he set up after himself. In a similar vein, Sporting’s first netminder, Anselmo López, was also their founder and inaugural president. He’d first played football on the beaches of Gijón and never lost his youthful enthusiasm for flinging himself around the goal like an excitable kitten.
Sporting’s John Terry, Joaquín (Alonso González) made his Rojiblanco debut in 1977. This Oviedo-born captain/leader/legend would be a first-team fixture for the next 16 seasons. An attacking midfielder, he notched 66 goals in 514 games.
Like his one-time international strike partner Fernando El Niño Torres, the Peter-Pan-esque David Villa is forever young. Nicknamed El Guaje (The Kid in Asturian), he would only play two seasons with Sporting. His 80 appearances saw him find the net 38 times and secure a transfer to Real Zaragoza, with the Rojiblancos relucant sellers as they fought to stay out of administration.
Sporting Gijón FC Form Guide
More bridesmaids than brides when it comes to the major competitions, Sporting have finished runners up in La Liga back in 1978-79 and the Copa del Rey twice (1981 and 1982). They have won the Second Division five times though, the last occasion being in 1976-77. Sporting will be looking to make it six as they strive to bounce back to the Primera following relegation at the end of the 2016-17 season.
Club Shop Essential Purchase
At the time of going to press, Sporting’s online shop was down but this looks like being a temporary blip.
10 screens (including one in the Ladies and Gents) mean you neer miss the action in the stadium’s Carling Goal. Enter at Gate 14 for pre- and post-match drinks & eats including a 100% Asturian beefburger. Despite the name, the nearby Hat Trick Molinón‘s as much gastro as sports bar.
El Molinón holds 29,029 supporters. When he’s not playing for club or country, you might well spot David Villa (who remains a fan) there. Along with Spanish TV presenter Lara Álvarez and actress Paula Echevarría.
Damage to Your Wallet
You can buy Sporting tickets from the main box office on Calle San Bernando Monday to Friday, from 10:00 am to 1:30pm and from 5.00pm to 8:00pm, and on Saturdays from 11:00am to 1:30pm. You can also buy tickets online through Entradas.com, with prices starting around the 25€-mark.
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.