I came to the Asturias with the intention of making not one but two pilgrimages , one to Santiago de Compostela and the other to Real Oviedo FC . Why did Real Oviedo become my Spanish team ? It is all down to Sid Lowe , football correspondent for The Guardian . The club was in dire financial straights in the last decade or so and very near to extinction until a social media campaign led by Sid , the supporters club and high profile ex- Real Oviedo players Juan Mata , Santi Cazorla and Michu . A decision was made to raise capital by selling shares in the club for a sum of €10.75 each and the campaign went viral across the world during the window periods for buying shares in 2012 and 2015. Sid was very much to the fore in promoting this and his passion to keep alive a club with so much history persuaded myself , my son and many others to buy shares. In fact the club was inundated with applications for shares from people all around the world and was able to raise millions of euros thereby saving it from liquidation at the 11th hour. The whole story is told here. Since the share issue the fortunes of the club have turned around and they were promoted from the Spanish 3rd tier to the second division the season before last . Promotion to La Liga is the Holy Grail and would help greatly to pay off the remaining debt.
So as luck would have it my Camino trip coincided with a home game v CF Reus. I contacted the club by email before travelling and was put in touch with a lovely guy named Miguel Sanz. A free ticket to the games is given to all foreign shareholders as well as a stadium and club museum tour. Miguel spent a good hour proudly showing me the museum/stadium and telling me all about the history of the club. By the end of it I was a totally convinced ” Oviedista ” and had developed an irrational dislike for Sporting Gijon , the local rivals.
Unfortunately I didn’t bring the team any luck and we lost 1-0 to a goal in the last minute of injury time. Just like watching Blackburn Rovers ……….