Matthew Hirtes manages the Spain Buddy Spanish football series. He continues with his rundown of the Primera Liga clubs. Next up, Celta de Vigo.
Celta de Vigo…in 90 seconds
(Real Club) Celta de Vigo play their home games at the Estadio Municipal de Balaídos which opened in 1928, three years after the Galician club commisioned its construction. Currently it holds 29,500 supporters, although that will increase to 31,000 following the completion of the ongoing restructuring work which was scheduled to finish in 2016. You’ll find Balaídos in the south west of the city, a 15-minute drive from the old town.
When you make it to Baláidos, walking around the stadium will quickly introduce you to the biggest names to play for the club. Each of the ground’s 25 gates is named after a legend. These include Gate 5, a tribute to hometown hero and Spain international defensive midfielder Borja Oubiña who retired at the end of the 2014-15 season. Then there’s Gate 12, dedicated to mavericks’ maverick Aleksandr Mostovoi, a qualified electrician who added spark to both the Celta and Russia midfield. Whilst Gate 17 celebrates the goalscoring exploits of Pichi Lucas, the nickname given to striker Argimiro Pérez García whose 26 goals in 37 1981-82 Segunda B games fired his Vigo employers to promotion to the Spanish top flight.
Celta de Vigo Form Guide
Celta Vigo boast the grand total of zero La Liga titles. They’ve never won the Copa del Rey either, although they’ve reached the final three times; the last being in 2000-2001 when they downed 3-1 by Real Zaragoza in the Seville-based finale. More recently, they took a huge step to returning to the final with a 2-1 away win over Real Madrid in the first leg of their 2016-17 Copa del Rey tie.
Club Shop Essential Purchase
There’s cute and then there’s Celta-Vigo-baby-booties-cute. Buy this footwear HERE.
Scarves from the 70 teams Celta have met in European competition hang from the ceilings and walls at Taberna Rikitri on Calle Hernán Cortes, including those of Ajax, Celtic, and Liverpool. Small but perfectly formed, this tavern becomes a temple to all things Celta de Vigo on matchdays.
There are 22,000+ season-ticket holders at the Estadio de Balaídos and more than 12,000 shareholders at the club. Derided as “portugueses” by local rivals Deportivo La Coruña because of their closer proximity to the Iberian neighbours, Celta fans have taken the insult with good cheer; even going as far as waving Portuguese flags at home games. Posh punk rockers Siniestro Total are some of their most famous fans.
Damage to Your Wallet
Prices go up and down according to the calibre of the opposition. But you can still pick up a ticket to watch the visit of Real Madrid in league or cup this season for €30. Get more info here.
Matthew Hirtes, our resident broadsheet journalist, moved 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.