Updated: Aug 10, 2021
Real Betis V Real Sociedad 19/01/20
The atmosphere at Real Betis is known to be one of the best in Spain and sitting in the sun as they beat Real Sociedad 3-0 you could see why. The pride and emotion the fans have towards their team was evident, especially toward local hero Joaquin - it would be hard to find a player more loved by their fans anywhere in the world.
I have to admit, I didn't know much about Real Betis before going to a match at the Benito Villamarin. I now know they won their one and only La Liga title in 1935 and 2 Copa del Rey cups (1977 and 2005) putting them in the shadow of fierce rivals Sevilla. I was also surprised to read their motto, Viva el Betis manque pierda, means 'long live Betis even when they lose' but as a football fan I can certainly understand the sentiment.
The Benito Villamarin Stadium is located in the residential area of Heliópolis which is around 3 miles from the city centre, a good hours walk but this takes you along the river, past the beautiful Parque de Maria Luisa and Placa Espana which makes the walk well worth the effort and the best way to get to the stadium.
Kick off was 2pm so we had breakfast and took a steady stroll to Heliópolis and arrived just before midday. Bar Avelino had been recommended and this is a great pre-match bar set in a large square called Plaza de los Andes, surrounded by lovely houses and palm trees. Arriving at this time meant we got ourselves a table and with excellent table service two cold beers arrived in no time as the bar and square filled quickly.
Sitting in the sunshine in January with a beer, football atmosphere building and palm trees in the background, heaven!
Four pints later we set off for the stadium just 5 minutes away, nothing special from the outside, just a lot of concrete rising high. Inside is a different story, the atmosphere was building and the sun felt warm, we sat back and enjoyed the scene.