Seville, Spain – the city of Carmen and the home of Flamenco – also boasts two football clubs. The more successful one – particularly in recent years – is Sevilla FC. I went along to the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán to experience it for myself.
The fortunes of Seville’s two main football clubs – Sevilla FC and Real Betis Balompié – have varied markedly in the last decade or so. In 1998, Betis paid a then world-record £21.5 million for Brazilian Denilson, but has bounced between the Primera and Segunda divisions since then.
In stark contrast, Sevilla FC’s recent form has been incredible: Four Europa League/Uefa Cups between 2006 and 2015, plus a host of domestic trophies in an era when the Madrid-Barça hegemony has been particularly ahead of the rest. [Continues…]
My visit to Sevilla’s Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (capacity 42,500) is my first top-flight match in Spain since a five-goal encounter between Valencia CF and Betis in late 2008. And the Pizjuán does remind me of Valencia’s Mestalla stadium, albeit a lot smarter and not quite as steep.
This ground was the host for the infamous France v Germany semi-final at World Cup ’82 and hosted the 1986 European Cup Final between FC Barcelona and Steaua Bucharest. [Continues…]
The Sevilla FC experience
Tickets for Sevilla FC can be purchased online ahead of matches and printed off at home. I paid €30 plus €2.50 booking fee for an upper tier seat level with the 18-yard line for a match against Espanyol of Barcelona, which proved good value.
Inside is the classic Spanish football experience: passing cigar smoke and the endless crackle of pipas – the toasted nuts that Spanish football fans chow on during matches, leaving a sea of empty shells.
The lyrics to Sevilla’s club hymn are emblazoned around the stadium, in case you want to sing along pre-kick off. The hardcore are in the north stand lower behind the goal, and while they lead the rest of the stadium follows, creating a true cacophony. One thing I love particularly about Spanish football is the different response noises: the whistling of opposition players and refereeing decisions (rather than booing), the ‘ooo-eee’ cry for a near miss, and in Seville – the home of flamenco – the rhythmic ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three flamenco tempo clapping. [Continues…]
I have never known quite such a restless crowd, however. Everyone around me was up and down while action went on below.
After the rather soul-destroying experience of more than half-empty stadiums in Portugal’s top flight, it was great to have a full house again, and in good voice throughout.
In this match, both sides missed a host of chances but Sevilla ran out 2-0 winners.
How to get to the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán
The Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán is not far from Seville’s main Santa Justa railway station. Personally, I walked to the ground briskly in around 40 minutes eastwards from the city centre.