Those who know me will no doubt no of my love for football. In England the colour is Red and the team from Merseyside. Sadly I didn’t get to see them as often as I’d like, especially after moving to Dorset in the mid ’90’s.
But I now have a team to follow here in Mexico, and today I went to my first game. I am still trying to suss out Mexican football. I have to say, the passion here for the game isn’t as strong as back home in the UK, which surprised me. But there is still passion.
The most famous teams are Chivas from Guadalajara, Club America who play in the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, and just behind them in the fame stakes are Cruz Azul, who also play in the City at their 39,000 capacity Estadio Azul. They battle in a league of 18 for supremacy, but they do not have one long season here. Instead it is split into two seasons. Originally called the Winter and Summer seasons, but now called the Apertura (Opening) season, which runs through the summer and autumn, and the Clausura (Closing) season which starts just after the New Year and goes into Spring.
Their is at some stage an Interliga competition between the 8 best teams of the whole calender year to decide which three teams play in the Copa Liberatores – Latin America’s version of the European Champions League.
Anyway, I plumped for Cruz Azul, because they have a decent sounding history, reasonable success (mostly in the 70’s), good supporters and a cool looking shirt! Their stadium is just off the well known and wealthy Insurgentes avenue, and is right next to the world famous (and world’s largest) bull ring. Cruz Azul were founded by a cement company by the way, called (funnily enough) Cemento Cruz Azul….
So today I bought me a replica shirt for a bargain 130 pesos, an 80 peso baseball cap and headed off with Paola to see my first game, which saw Cruz Azul host Veracruz – the Sharks. A quiet start to the game, with only an own goal seperating the teams in Azul’s favour at half time.
Second half was explosive for the first 25 minutes, with Azul scoring a couple of superb goals, and should have scored a couple more. The quality isn’t quite up there with the English Premiership, but there was some skill and excitement out there. As with all Mexican sporting venues, life is made easy – vendors bring the drinks/food/programmes etc to you in your seat….no need to get up and move about!
Next week I shall hopefully be going again – it will be a big one as we (Ha ha…been to one match and I’m saying ‘we’ already!) are hosting the hated Club Americas! Azul haven’t beaten them for a while, but are third in the table right now whilst Americas are struggling mid table.