BBC Radio Manchester Features
At the Santander stadium
City's European tour: Spain
by Ian Cheeseman
Manchester City have been to the Faroes, Cyprus, Denmark and Germany on their 2008/09 Uefa Cup campaign. Now read Ian Cheeseman's latest tour diary as he follows the Blues to Spain:
Day 3: Match day
My matchday preparations throughout this UEFA Cup run have been varied. There was the sailing ship in the Faroes, the Zoo in Germany and sunbathing in Cyprus. Today it was standing in the drizzle watching City's reserves play their Racing counterparts at the training ground.
Manchester City reserves
This game was played on an all-weather surface surrounded by high-rise blocks. I noticed just one spectator taking advantage of the view from the flats, though there were around 150 spectators around the pitch, several being from Manchester.
It was great to chat with City's director of football Mike Rigg on the touchline for a few moments, good relationships with the coaching staff never does any harm. City took the lead early on, thanks to a goal by James Poole, but Racing went on to win 2-1.
Back at the seaside I walked out to the Palacio La Magdalena, which was formerly the summer residence of the King of Spain. On the approach to the Palacio there is a display of sea-going vessels. The three old sailing ships might have been intended for the Armada, but clearly didn't make it
Ian: 'I see no ships'
The waves today have been impressive enough to surf on with the heroic types swimming out through the (presumably) freezing water before spending ten seconds up on their board riding the crest of a roller, falling in spectacularly and them swimming back out to do it all over again.
I preferred the warm fish restaurant next to the beach that offered excellent views, including some of City's backroom staff out jogging, and delicious sustenance.
I arrived at the Stadio de Sardinero early to discover that I was sat in the corner of the stand behind the goal line, at the opposite end to the City fans - not only that but the plug sockets weren't working. I should have guessed it wasn't going to be my night.
El stadio de Sardinero
At least my new friend Nick Perera didn't let me down. He fulfilled his role as match summariser very well and had some very interesting, objective things to say about the game.
He clearly wasn't impressed by the general lack of commitment shown by the City players. Still, at least PSG's win against FC Twente meant the Blues won the group anyway, despite the disappointing 3-1 defeat here in Santander.
There's a winter break in the UEFA now and the competition resumes in mid February. Meanwhile from Santander in Northern Spain a very happy Christmas.
To read Day 2: Santander, click 'NEXT'
last updated: 19/12/2008 at 11:35