Swapping sides

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February 21, 2017

Dear Editor
In 2004 my parents owned a villa in Los Balcones and when we visited a trip to watch FC Torrevieja at what was the “fortress Vicente Garcia stadium “was a must. What we liked about visiting the ground was the impressive Torry Army and the way the expats helped run the club with merchandising, match programmes and the impressive catering options.
In 2009 my parents sold their villa due to poor health and we did not visit the area again… until now. Our children have flown the nest so we decided to rent a villa in La Marina and whilst the wife had beauty treatments I was going to catch up on the mighty FC Torrevieja.
I arrived on Thursday, February 16 and had a quick Google search, and despite not finding FC Torrevieja I did find CD Torrevieja and they were playing against Ontinyent on Sunday 19th, so I thought – perfect, and although a bit early (11.30) I arrived at the Vicente Garcia stadium to be told that due to poor maintenance the stadium was shut and the CD Torrevieja (new name) was in fact FC Torrevieja and played their games for now at the local community centre.
I arrived there and was told ‘€10 to get in’ (ouch), but still cheaper than watching football in Ireland. I went looking for the coffee bar and the club shop but all I found was the toilets.
Eventually somebody turned up before kick-off and had some basic snacks and beers/cold cans, but I was told I had to wait for coffee so I walked away. This was disappointing as there was no match programme so I could catch up on the club gossip, there was NO merchandising, and in fact there was no mention anywhere of the famous Torry Army. The game was shocking and whilst there I counted 192 spectators, and with Ontinyent winning 2-0 it was not a good start to my holiday. I did chat to a few people, one of them I recognised from being on the committee of the Torry Army, and he said he had watched Torrevieja a few times over the last couple of years and the whole situation was shocking. He told me that there had been a major issue and that some of the Torry supporters had gone to watch CD Montesinos and whilst they were in a league a couple of levels below Torrevieja he said that the organisation and the set-up there was very welcoming. He did inform me that they were in fact playing later that day and told me to try it, with the cost being just a couple of euros, and all people were welcome.
I met up with the wife for lunch and she said we should go and see this Montesinos club, so we did. We arrived about 4.10 and the players where warming up and we noticed a little bar and some gentlemen selling merchandise. I grabbed a coffee and the wife a tea and what was impressive was the amount of expats there that seemed to enjoy the set-up. I was handed a free match programme from a gent called Alex and also a team sheet both free of charge. I was told that they had a supporters club called “The Full Monte” and I was also told that they had a website, forum and even a facebook page and all will be revamped for the season 2017/18. We were given apologies for the maintenance being done on the ground as this was to improve seating for the supporters and would be completed within a couple of weeks.
Montesinos won 2-0 and the standard of football was good, but to me what was more important was the commitment of both the English and Spanish working together for all.
I have now decided that when in Spain I will watch CD Montesinos, and let’s hope they continue to keep up the good work.

Kindest regards
John Kennedy

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