When former Liverpool striker (and now Spanish TV pundit) Michael
Robinson heard that Osasuna were interested in signing him back in
1987, he pulled out a map of Spain and began searching for a town by
In fact, he should have been looking for Pamplona (or, in Basque, Iruña), for
the region's third Primera Division side are based in the town famous
for bullfights, Ernest Hemingway and a week's alcoholic chaos during
The name Osasuna actually derives from the Basque word for 'cheers'
and is the traditional salute before raising a glass – so any visitor
is clearly onto a good thing, especially in the streets around the
A town of just under 200,000 inhabitants, Pamplona boasts the
impressive Cuidadela, a gigantic 16th-century fortress on the
south-west of the old town surrounded by a gorgeous deep green park,
but the football fan is more likely to spend their time in the lively
Plaza del Casillo before making the trek to Osasuna's El Sadar stadium,
an arena every bit as intimidating as the Cuidadela.
Roared on by its passionate following, Osasuna play a more physical
brand of football than most. El Sadar has become a notoriously tough
place to visit in recent seasons; even more so if you're Real Madrid –
the side Osasuna fans love to hate.
When Madrid come to town you can be assured of 90 minutes of blood and thunder. With the emphasis very much on the blood...
The 20,000-capacity El Sadar is a long walk from the city centre, down Avenida
Zaragoza, crossing the river, and turning down Calle Sadar. Opened in
1967, it's far from modern, but it's particularly tight and, with the
stands allowing the fans to get next to the pitch and right on top of
the action, the Osasuna faithful are able to heat the atmosphere to
boiling point. One of the best, most English, football experiences in
Club address c/El Sadar, s/n 31006, Pamplona
Telephone (0034) 948 152 636
C/Eslava 1, (0034) 948 206 540
Adrenaline junkies should visit during the Fiestas de San Fermin in July
when angry bulls with big horns will chase you down a 1km
SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT
If not up for the bull chase, you may prefer a swim in the open-air public pool outside Portal de Zumalacarregui.
July 6-14, San Fermin. The running of the bulls plus other celebrations. Find out more at www.sanfermin.com.
For regular updates on the crazy world of Spanish football, see our blog La Liga Loca
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