Facing the challenge of change

genelect gary neville

Left, the four political leaders vying for power in today’s Spanish General Election; right, last month Englishman Gary Neville was appointed coach of Valencia football club.

Today, Sunday, is the General Election here in Spain but I promised not to bore you with news or comments about it.

I’ll just say it is being contested by four main parties, two of which have only been formed in the last year. The voting system here is different to that I have been used to in the UK but, in time, it will become obvious to me.

Opinion polls are pointing towards a possible result that could mean that no party will have an overall majority but neighbours don’t believe that and think one party will win power outright. The centre-right Partido Popular (People’s Party) has been the government for the last five years and is looking to continue but we will have to wait and see how the election turns out.

To be fair, it appears that football /soccer is more of interest to the population of the country (or, at least, mainly the male part of it) than politics. Whether it is matches in La Liga, the Spanish football league, or any of the country’s leading clubs battling in one or other of the European competitions, you can be assured that bars with large screen televisions will be packed with football mad fans all drinking and cheering in good humour. Once the final whistle goes, the bars become like ghost towns.

Such is the interest in football that the various managerial comings and goings are followed more closely than the political ones. With five managers in the top flight sacked in the last three months and gossip about a few more possible changes, there is plenty for the football supporters to chew over.

The five clubs who have changed their managers are Las Palmas and Levante in October, Real Sociedad and Valencia during November with December bringing a new face to Espanyol. Yes, it’s all happening in La Liga and managerial ins and outs are providing plenty of subject matter for not only the fans but also football journalists and pundits.

Then, next week, once the election results are known, it will be the turn of the political ‘experts’ to give their views about what happened and why as well as commenting on the make-up of the next government, be it one party or a coalition, and the identity of the new prime minister.


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