El Centrocampista

A WELCOME IN THE VALLEYS – Betis travel to South Wales.

By David Smith

It seems  that every football club has a preseason tour to somewhere exotic these days.

Both Manchester clubs and the Spanish giants of Barcelona and Real Madrid have been in the United States, Chelsea and Liverpool have been in Asia, and Real Betis are going to South Wales.

Pepe Mel’s side have lined up two games in the UK, the first against Portsmouth after which they travel over to Swansea to take on the Premier League new boys.

Both games will provide Betis with something slightly different and should prepare them nicely for the forthcoming season.

Portsmouth will no doubt provide a tough physical test, especially for a Spanish team that have already proclaimed they want to play football ‘the way it should be played’.

Pepe Mel will be hoping for a productive short-stay in the UK.

The English Championship is a tough league and Portsmouth are one of the toughest, so it will be interesting to see how this young Spanish side competes at Fratton Park.

Travelling to Wales will, on the other hand, provide a more familiar test for Betico.

Swansea City gained promotion from the Championship last year by playing a blend of football that matched short passing with decisive attack.

It is a brand of football that Roberto Martinez first brought to the club but has remained, long after he departed for Wigan Athletic.

Brendan Rodgers has built a stylish and talented sides at the Liberty Stadium, and it will be fascinating to compare how these two recently promoted teams (albeit in different competitions) match up.

It is fair to say that the trip will not persuade too many fans from Seville to make the trip over, but Betis may well have some extra support from an unlikely source.

Like many teams they have supporters clubs established around the world.

In Spain they are referred to as peñas and the most recent Real Betis peña to be set up in England is the The Blyth Spartans Real Betis Peña.

 Both teams play in the famous Green and White stripes and made contact through their respective fans forums (www.welcometosparta.com and www.manquepierda.com).

Regular updates have been posted in dedicated threads and now there’s even talk of a pre-season friendly in 2012.

But that, of course, is some way off.

Back to the present and given that Real Betis are only playing two games; they have picked a fascinating balance in Portsmouth and Swansea City.

The club will hope the short tour will prepare them sufficiently for their first game of the league campaign, a mouthwatering derby against bitter rivals Sevilla.

A far cry from the land of Tom Jones…

One Comment

  1. David Smith

    1 August, 2011 at 09:18

    Due to a delayed flight the game against Portsmouth was postponed. Betis instead played Havant and Waterlooville of the Conference South Division, winning 7 – 0. Ruben Castro scored a hattrick, Jorge Molina a brace and Pereira and Salva Sevilla grabbed one each.

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