Are you a fan of Spanish football? Meet fellow supporter Matthew Hirtes who has been closely following the fortunes of Spain’s leading and lesser lights since moving to the country back in 2004. His latest club guide is all about Gran Canaria’s one and only UD Las Palmas.
UD Las Palmas…in 90 seconds
The swish shopping district of out-of-town Siete Palmas is home to Estadio Gran Canaria which UD Las Palmas moved to in 2003. Dedicated gamers will recognize the southerly view of the island’s mountainous interior from EA Sports’ FIFA (More Than a) Game. Longterm fans, however, will never forget the stadium’s home of Estadio Insular in the downtown Ciudad Jardín barrio which has since been turned into a park, maintaining some of the stadium’s original features in the process.
Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on the 16th November 1943, few have worn the yellow UD shirt with as much distinction as Germán Dévora Ceballos. Nicknamed El Maestro, he dictated play in the centre of the park like Franco conducting an orchestra. These days, there’s a Vecindario-based supporters association named after him, Peña Germán Dévora, who even have their own personalized bus complete with Dévora’s image in which they travel to home games.
UD Las Palmas have selected some great goalkeepers down the years. But none more so than Argentina international Daniel Carnevali who represented La Albiceleste on no fewer than 26 occasions. Since retiring, UD’s indisputable number one, erm, number one has formed his own junior team on the island: Club Daniel Carnevali.
Another played to have a supporters association named after them, Juan Carlos Valerón is another product of the south west of Gran Canaria’s Arguineguín football factory, along with current Manchester City and Spain idol David Silva. A midfield playmaker, Valerón returned to his home island from a title-winning spell at Galicia’s Deportivo de La Coruña to finish his career and he’s now employed by Las Palmas as a coach.
UD Las Palmas Form Guide
Unión Deportiva Las Palmas owe their name to the coming together of five pre-exisiting Gran Canaria football clubs in 1949: Club Deportivo Gran Canaria (formed in 1914), Atlético Club de Fútbol, Real Club Victoria, Arenas Club, and Marino Fútbol Club. UD have finished runners up in La Liga once, in 1968-69, and won La Segunda A four times; most recently in 1999-2000. Reaching the 1977-78 Copa del Rey final, they were defeated 3-1 by FC Barcelona.
Club Shop Essential Purchase
UD Las Palmas don’t have an online club shop but you can visit the stadium one which is open on non-match days too.
There are quite a few Italian restaurants near Estadio Gran Canaria, the pick of which is probably Non Solo Pizza, whose menu, as the name suggests, offers pasta and risotto too. On the same Calle Fondos de Segura, Restaurante El Rincón is an old-school Spanish bar/restaurant in a new (town) setting. On Siete Palmas’ main drag, Avenida Pintor Felo Monzón, the images of frothy beer on Cervecería Caña Aquí‘s sign ensures nothing is lost in translation at Beer Here Pub.
One thing we’d love to see is personalised beer bottle labels from bars so close to football grounds. Perhaps this list of beer bottle labelling machines would be useful for those venues that want to take care of it themselves.
Estadio Gran Canaria’s 32,000+ capacity is an upgrade on the Estadio Insular which could only fit in 10,000 less. Along with the supporters associations already mentioned, there are more than 30 more peñas. These are based on and off the island in locations as diverse as Córdoba, Lanzarote, Madrid, and Tenerife.
Damage to Your Wallet
You can buy UD Las Palmas tickets online. There are also various retailer in and out of the town, including the stadium itself, an Arucas hardware store, and Peña Germán Dévora’s headquarters. Tickets average around the 40€ mark.
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.