No one in their right mind would actually chose to visit Getafe, an
industrial satellite town ranging from the nondescript to the downright
horrible, out past the shanty towns to the south of Madrid. Except,
that is, to see some of the best football in Europe.
In 2004 Getafe became a top-flight side for the first time in
their history, lifting them above
Madrid's traditional third team Rayo Vallecano. And they've stayed there ever since, often in the top half, and even qualifying for Europe on a couple of occasions.
The town's excitement is tempered somewhat by the fact that Getafe
don't actually enjoy too much autonomy or a particularly passionate,
loyal following, having only been founded as recently as 1983. Most
locals still support Atletico or, to a lesser extent, Real Madrid and
many games are be scheduled so as not to clash with their more
illustrious neighbours, hopefully guaranteeing a decent crowd, certainly
against the big boys.
In truth, you might not cross the world, Europe or even Spain especially to visit Getafe. But if you're in Madrid with time and energy to spare, it might be worth a trip south for a Getafe getaway.
If Getafe's hardly the
place you'd chose to stop off for a drink, the area immediately round
the ground is even less enticing. The Alfonso Perez Coliseum – named after the town's most prestigious
son, the white-booted striker who scored the unbelievable last-minute
goal against Yugoslavia at Euro 2000 – is stuck out on a bit of a limb,
with only a McDonald's and a motorway for company.
Madrid's Metro now boasts a southern extension that reaches into
Getafe, supplementing the reliable overground Cercanias service. Far
easier, however, is to go by car: the stadium has ample parking and is
wedged in right alongside the M45. A neat, modern little stadium, with
curved stands in miniature that suggest delusions of grandeur every bit
as silly as calling it a Coliseum, it's open and windswept, and can be
freezing in winter.
Club address Av.Teresa de Calcuta, s/n. 28903 Getafe, Madrid
Telephone (0034) 916 959 771
For regular updates on the crazy world of Spanish football, see our blog La Liga Loca
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