Monday, January 14, 2013

As reported, Spanish shops are to be free to have Sales whenever they like, and not according to some government timetable. One consequence of the latter was that regional governments naturally implemented the system bureaucratically. So, when one of them claimed the development would mean “a reduction of consumer rights” and “illegal commercial tactics”, we all knew that this cry of pain had nothing to do with consumers but all to do with the impact on civill servants. Consumer orientation is low among retailers in Spain and less than nil among bureaucrats.

It was reported recently that 17% of all electricity meters in Spain are fraudulent. I thought this meant on the part of the suppliers but it turned out to be the customers who were tampering with the meters. The reason why I thought it had been the companies was because I'd just read something by Lenox about accusations of fraud against Endesa. And their outrageous attempts to silence a whistleblower. But I guess that's not unique to Spain.

In search of a gate-stop, I've been to ten ironmongers(ferreterías) in Pontevedra. The only good to come out of this fruitless exercise was two of them saying Sorry alongside No, and one of them not only saying Sorry, no but also suggesting somewhere else. Which was a first. But, anyway, my Ferrol friend Richard solved the problem for me and found what I needed in the first ferretería he tried in that city. By the way, I can never avoid the image of a small mammal when I see or hear the Spanish for ironmonger. Even though I know the mammal in question is called un hurón is Spanish.

Up in the coastal town of Foz last week – not really a place to visit in winter – I thought I heard the hotel receptionist use the word gira for 'change', instead of the normal vuelto/a. The dictionary doesn't endorse this perception. So, anyone familiar with it at all?

Second question - Is there anyone out there who hasn't yet heard of Alicia Young? This is a woman who's achieved fame overnight more for what she's not revealing than for what she is revealing. Three times a day, I'm told.

After the Flamenco flash mob in a Bankia office, we now have a charming rendition of Here Comes the Sun in a Madrid office of the (Un)Employment Service.

Finally . . . The always excellent John Carlin had a piece in today's El País on the Premier League. If you're interested, here's my tarted up Google translation of the original. If you're not, feel free to log off now:-

"All I ask is the opportunity
to demonstrate that money
does not make me happy "
- Spike Milligan, Irish comedian

Perhaps the dark clouds of the economic crisis obscure all, or perhaps people have become accustomed to thinking that this is normal, but it feels not installed entirely in the Spanish the undeniable truth that football in this country is living a golden age of overwhelming global dominance. The one, two, three Golden Ball and FIFA ideal eleven are all players of the Spanish League: the best coach in the world, the Spanish coach: the reference team in world football, Barcelona: ​​on Planet Football who is considered the main rival to Barcelona in the Champions League this season? - Real Madrid. Etc.

To help appreciate the scale of what has been achieved it's worth taking a look at English football, still the richest and most followed on earth and, up to three or four years ago, just as powerful, or more, than Spanish football.

First, we make a comparative analysis of the data they collected in the global vote for the Ballon d'Or. According to The Times of London, Spanish League players accumulated 89.3% of the vote, players of the Premier, 2.97. Devastating statistics, and especially for Englishmen, and alarming when you take into account what has been its dramatic fall from 2008-2009, when five of the players in FIFA's eleven came from this country.

Second, even if the rest of the world continues to be willing to pay a lot more to see the Premier League on television than La Primera, within England we are already seeing a disturbing rumour. Curiously, it is at Arsenal, the team which at its best displays the most attractive game in England, where the first signs of mutiny have been detected. Reading newspapers and talking to fans of the team in London I noted that many are beginning to consider themselves victims of a scam. The cheapest tickets to the stadium, the Emirates, cost 62 pounds, or 75 euros, and there is a growing perception that in terms of value (the Arsenal is sixth in the league, 18 points behind Manchester United) what's on offer has become insulting.

Third, Arsenal's London neighbour, Chelsea, is the naked emperor of the Premier, the image of the evil that corrodes the top of English football. The discrepancy is colossal between the amounts of money squandered on football players and the football which is deployed on the pitch. Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich has spent €1,000 million on players and has a staff payroll costing 200 million annually. However, the team is, at best, unstable and, at worst, a disaster. On the one hand, yesterday it won by four goals at the difficult ground of Stoke City; on the other, it lost 1-0 to bottom club Queens Park Rangers at home on January 2; and Wednesday 2-0, also at home, against Swansea in the semifinals of the League Cup.

Yesterday's victory is a good example of the bewildering unpredictability of Chelsea, but is unlikely to be enough to appease the fans. Defeat against Swansea was, for many, the last straw. Coach Rafa Benitez was booed throughout the match, with growing fury. Although the Spaniard continues to be a symptom of the ills of the club, he's the one against whom the fans vent their spleen. Against him and now also against Fernando Torres, who was on the bench yesterday. The heroic patience of the fans of Chelsea with Torres is exhausted. Seen as Benítez's number one accomplice, who was transferred in part to try to restore the demoralised Spanish striker, in Wednesday's loss he was the subject of persistent whistling from the fans for the first time since joining the club two years ago. The presence on the pitch of the bargain of the season, the Spanish Michu, left Torres's failure inescapably evident. Michu cost 25 times less than Torres but so far he has proved 15 times more profitable than the ex-Atlético man as regards goals scored. There's no more revealing example of the grotesque waste that Chelsea has incurred.

The British press reported this week that Abramovich has offered Pep Guardiola 22 million a year to come in the summer to fix the mess. If he agreed, he would be taking a poisoned chalice. Chelsea is the best example of how English football is. That, regardless of how much money it has, it is overrated. Especially compared to Spanish football.


Me said...

A neighbour's meter runs forward during the week and backwards at weekends, when inspectors are most unlikely to call.

Colin said...

LOL. Thanks.

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