Set in the far southern outskirts of Madrid, serving the community of the same name, Getafe rose through the ranks to reach the top flight in 2004. Even more remarkably, they stayed there for over a decade, enjoying the recent financial backing of the Royal Emirates Group. Even before the arrival of the Dubai-based owners, Getafe made two cup finals and enjoyed two European campaigns.
Sadly, 2016 saw the club relegated and now the fight is on for a swift return to La Liga.
The club was founded as Club Getafe Deportivo in the Marquesina bar in 1945 – pennants can still be seen in Getafe bars to this day, even though Deportivo only lasted until 1982. A year later, Getafe Club de Fútbol were founded, rising through the regional leagues and reaching the top flight in 2004 after a last-gasp win in the Canary Islands.
Under Bernd Schuster, the Dark Blues maintained a mid-table presence, reaching the cup final in 2007. Under Michael Laudrup, they repeated the feat in 2008, a season best remembered for a heart-stopping, extra-time, away-goals defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup. In 2010, a sixth-place league finish and cup run to the semi-final saw another Europa League campaign.
Getafe play in the southern suburbs of Las Margaritas at the modest, 17,000-capacity Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, named after one of the rare players to have turned out for both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Although Getafe-born, Pérez never played for his local side.
Built in 1998, ‘Coliseum’ is a rather grandiose name for this one-roofed, open bowl of blue seating banked up against the M45 motorway. Yet it has witnessed the quite remarkable rise of this otherwise modest local outfit, and no little top European action to boot.
Nonetheless, the Coliseum is rarely full, not even for derbies, so neutrals can watch some of Spain’s best in action with only a relatively simple metro ride.
The stands are divided into two tiers, alto and bajo, with the best seats being the covered (cubierta) ones in the main stand, or Tribuna. A seat over the halfway line in the Lateral, facing the main stand, will cost half of what a similar prime spot would be in some of Spain’s better stadia.
All the same, after nearly a decade in the top flight, Getafe have been looking to move to a bigger, municipal stadium in the same neighbourhood.
Take line 12 (the Metrosur) to Los Espartales, eight stops from the terminus of line 10, Puerta del Sur. You’ll have to purchase an extra ticket for the MetroSur line. As you emerge onto main Avenida de Rigoberto Menchú, take any street (Helen Keller, Margarita Nelken, María Montessori) leading towards parallel Avenida de Teresa de Calcuta – the stadium is right ahead of you. Allow at least 40mins from central Madrid.
Alternatively, from platform 6 at Atocha, the regional cercanía C4 (direction Parla) train takes four stops and 15mins to reach Las Margaritas Universidad a 10-15min walk away.
Tickets are quite easily available in person or online. At the stadium, through gate 0, the office (Mon-Fri 10am-1pm, 5pm-8pm, match days from 9.30am-half-time) is just past the club shop. Depending on the opposition, a ticket behind either goal should cost €35-€40, €45-€50 in the lateral along the sideline and €50-€80 in the main Tribuna depending on whether you think it’s going to rain or not. Online, the club website clicks you easily through to an English-language option.
Through gate 0, a modest selection of branded souvenirs is on offer in a little kiosk that constitutes the club shop. You can pick up cups, ashtrays and other knick-knacks for only a few euros.
Right on the main road as you exit Los Espartales metro station, El Rincón del Tío Eulogio (Avenida de Rigoberto Menchú 11) is a pleasant bar/restaurant with a terrace, ideal for a long lunch. On the corner of Menchú and C/Rosa Luxemburgo, the Cafetería Alpecres is a popular local spot with touches of Getafe blue inside.
Modest though it is, the club bar, accessed through the main door by the club shop, is decked out in Getafe idolatry, providing the perfect setting for a pre- and/or post-match swiftie.