Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Why CD Tenerife?

Another in my occasional series of posts about why I follow the teams I do. I've done previous posts about the Colorado Rapids, Queen of the South, Blackburn Rovers, and Ebbsfleet United. This time around we'll look at CD Tenerife of the Spanish Segunda (Second Division).

I'm sure most people are wondering why a random team from the second division of Spanish soccer has popped up on my radar. I don't speak Spanish, no Americans have played there, and I don't have any Spanish heritage. The one thing that separates Tenerife from every other European team is that I've seen them play live in Europe.

In May of 2007 I was able to take a Transatlantic cruise on the Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic because my mother-in-law works for the Mouse and they offered a special deal to their employees and families. This trip is also where the picture of me and the monkey on the sidebar comes from, that's one of the Barbary Apes of Gibraltar. Our first stop after crossing the Atlantic was in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, home of CD Tenerife, and it happened to be a Sunday which was game day.

View of Santa Cruz from the ship

Image of the ship from the waterfront

Before we left I can contacted members of Armada Sur, the English-speaking supporters club of CDT and arranged to meet them before the game. After spending the morning looking at the local flea market/garage sale I headed up the hill to the Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez Stadium while my wife and her parents went on a excursion to Mount Teide.

Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez Stadium from down the hill

A closer view of the stadium

I stopped by the vendors outside the stadium and picked up a scarf and jersey then wandered to Armada Sur's bar of choice to meet up with the group and watch the game with them. After some pre-game drinks we headed inside.

Armada Sur's pre-game festivities

A look from the supporter's seats

Tenerife's opponent was Malaga CF from the mainland, coincidentally enough the favorite Spanish team of another Rapids fan, so I was hoping for a victory in order to rub it in. Tenerife got off to a good start, with a goal from a corner kick to take an early lead.

Corner kick that results in a goal

Armada Sur and Frente Blanquiazul (among others) celebrating

It was all downhill after that though, as CDT's star keeper had an off day, spilling a shot he should have held which led to a rebound goal, and not covering a ball he should have stopped which resulted in the winning goal. Still the fans weren't too hard on him, apparently he was responsible for keeping them in many games that season and everyone has an occasional off day.

Afterwards I had to race back to the ship, getting on board only about 30 minutes before the final boarding call, so I wasn't able to partake in the post-game misery drowning. It was a great day though, and I'd love to be able to visit again.
Since then I've followed CD Tenerife through the Armada Sur forum, Colin Kirby's game writeups, and Andy Woolley's Internet fanzine. We've started out well this season, maybe this is the year we return to La Liga?

And just to prove I'm not making it up ;), here's a picture of Armada Sur shot from another part of the stadium. You can see yours truly in the blue shirt and sunglasses in the center

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