Los Azulones of suburbia trip up many a top club

A fan’s guide – the club from early doors to today

Set in the far southern outskirts of Madrid, serving the community of the same name, Getafe rose to unprecedented heights to come within one place of a first-ever berth in the Champions League in 2019. Under motivational coach José Bordelás, the Azulones had gone from the lowest ranks of the Segunda to beating Ajax in Europe and only lost out on fourth place in La Liga on the last day of the campaign.

About to face Internazionale in the Round of 16 of the Europa League, the biggest game in the club’s relatively short history, Getafe played it safe, refused to go to Milan with the pandemic soon to rage, but then lost momentum. Months later, they surrendered meekly to Inter over one game in neutral Germany that summer. 

League form suffered, Bordelás left for Valencia and Getafe returned to their familiar role as suburban strugglers.

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.

Even more remarkably, they stayed there for over a decade, enjoying the 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.

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.

After relegation in 2016, few expected an instant return, particularly when Getafe were languishing in the relegation zone two months into the season. Incoming coach José Bordelás had experience lifting modest teams – Alicante, Alcoyano – out of the doldrums but never a club with a top-flight track record such as Getafe’s.

But with goals from veteran striker Jorge Molina, who had enjoyed his best spell under Bordelás at Elche, Getafe stormed up the table to claim promotion. The same momentum kept the Azulones going into La Liga, just missing out on Europe in their comeback season. 

Before the 2018-19 campaign, Bordelás brought in Jaime Mata, his winning penalty gaining Getafe a rare win over Barcelona and his forward play earning the 29 year old his first cap. Getafe’s direct approach pleased few purists but it pushed them close to a Champions League spot. But for a late equaliser by Villarreal at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in the last ten minutes of the season, things might have been different.

Getafe made best use of their Europa League qualification, overcoming tricky ties against Krasnodar and Trabzonspor but saving their best for the shock defeat of Ajax in the first knock-out round. A late goal by Chelsea loanee Kenedy gave the Azulones a 2-0 advantage to take to Amsterdam, before Mata’s early goal prevented Ajax from a quick recovery in the second leg.

Deciding against a trip to Milan as the pandemic began to take hold, Getafe returned after the enforced lay-off without the same energy of early spring. Falling to Inter over one game, Getafe missed out on further European adventures and duly rejoined the relegation struggles of yore.

Stadium Guide

The field of dreams – and the stands around it

Getafe play in the southern suburbs of Las Margaritas at the 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.

getting there

Going to the stadium – tips and timings

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.

getting in

Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much

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 purchase is also available.

what to buy

Shirts, kits, merchandise and gifts

The club has two small stores, one on the corner of Avenida Teresa de Calcuta and Calle Margarita Nelken opposite the stadium, and one at Calle San Eugenio 5 (Mon-Sat 10am-2pm, 5pm-8.30pm) in the centre of Getafe. 

First-choice shirts are dark blue, second kits white and third choice red, complemented by the usual range of scarves and baseball caps.

Where to Drink

Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors

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, touches of Getafe blue embellish the Cafetería Alpecres, a popular local spot.

The main pub in the vicinity, The Gold’s Abbey on C/Rosa Luxemburgo, serves Guinness and Paulaner in a church-themed interior and across a pavement terrace.

Modest though it is, the club bar, accessed through the main door by the club shop, is decked out in Getafe paraphernalia, providing the perfect setting for a pre- and/or post-match swiftie.