I have to admit that I'm not a great listener of football podcasts - generally I find that This American Life and Desert Island Discs do me fine, thanks - but I made an exception today for a recent edition of Forza Fútbol's weekly podcast, which featured Chris Clements talking about the football stadiums of Spain. I've mentioned Chris and his frankly amazing website Estadios de Fútbol en España before, so it was good to hear him speak expertly about some of his favourite grounds - and also discuss some of the issues that we all know are affecting the professional game here (falling attendances, ridiculously high ticket prices, late notice of kick-off times. etc). If you have any interest in Spanish stadiums - and the game that's played therein - it's well worth a listen.
And talking of which, you might remember that I was disappointed with the atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabéu during Betis's pretty disatrous visit there a month or so ago. Apparently I'm not the only one. I was amused to see that none other than José Mourinho had a go at the Madridistas after his side's 7-1 whipping of Osasuna on Sunday.
Under the headline "Mourinho tells off the fans", El País (and several other newspapers) reported that the Real Madrid coach said, "I want to thank the few fans behind one of the goals [where the Ultras Sur congregate], because if it wasn't for them I'd have thought the ground was empty." You tell 'em, Mou.
No such problems at Betis on Saturday night, even though the 38,000 present never got the chance to really explode like they were clearly primed to do. The following messages are taken from the players' Twitter feeds: "An important point, the fans incredible," (Jefferson Montero); "The fans were incredible, a pain not to be able to give them a victory," (Ustaritz); "Our fans were impressive!! It's like a show being in those stands...mucho Betis!" (Roque Santa Cruz); and "Great atmosphere. Phenomenal work from the players. Outstanding support from the fans. Thank you - we won't let you down," (Pepe Mel).