Back in 1975 Real Betis chief executive Manuel Ruiz de Lopera stood up at a crisis meeting of  the Spanish Football League to announce he would be voting for Seville to be reinstated in the Spanish First Division, he was described "as a very, very brave man".

Weeks earlier, he and the Sevilla president Luis Cuervas had exchanged punches on a radio station show prior to the local derby in one of the manifestations of cross - city hatred which has generated violent confrontations over the last eight decades.

 

Many Spaniards try to sell the long - distance sniping between Barcelona and Madrid as the country's sourest variety of grapes. However the footballing passions of sultry Seville explain why the national team, ever since its 3-0 victory there against Portugal in December 1923, has relied on the city's wild unconditional support for most of its big games. 

 

In June 1995 however, that all changed. A poor crowd, many of them with complimentary or cut price tickets, jeered Javier Clamente for not fielding the then Betis midfielder Angel Cullier against Armenia. Spain's next Euro 96 game against Cyprus was diverted to Valencia. However the Seviliannos were hardly at fault. The Armenia match came just four days before the Sevilla- Betis derby. Betis were back after three years in the second division and the whole city realised that life lacked buzz without the adrenalin surge generated by the local derby.

 

Which is why Betis, even though they might have privately been rubbing their hands with glee, were aghast at the idea of Seville being expelled from the first division. Life just wouldn't have been the same.

 

The two clubs were founded when Andulusian society struggled to survive amid feudal divisions of riches and poverty. Unlike Athletico and Real, who could claim to represent different strata of Madrid society. Sevilla and Betis have simply divided the populous, with Betis maybe throwing their cap more overtly to the working classes via a motto,"Viva er Berti manqué pierda" - an almost dyslexia translation of "Long Live Betis even if They Lose".

 

Sevilla were fonded under the name of Sevilliana F.C By the British employees of the Seville Water Works Co Ltd in October 1905. They adopted white shirts because they were the cheapest.

 

The rivalry began in turbulent fashion when, two years later, a rebel splinter group provoked a merger between Betis and a club which while Sevilla, chose to use the English word "football" in their title, opted  for the Spanish "Balompie". In 1914, King Alfonso X111 accepted the honorary presidency and breakaway Betis were allowed to put Real in front of their name.The stipes on their shirts were green "for hope and passion".

 

There was certainly a passion when the two clubs met for the first time on New Years Day 1916, drew 2-2 and provoked violent incidents throughout the city centre. The die was cast.

 

Two years later, the cup of hatred flowed over when, after the two local derbies had produced home victories, the authorities decreed a play off. Key Betis players who were doing military service were told they were cofined to barracks. By way of protest, Betis fielded their youth side. They lost 22-0.

It was regarded as no coincidence that the Franco regime marked a golden age for Sevilla, culminating in the solitary League title in 1946 - the year that Betis fell head long into the Third Division, and stayed there for seven years. Neither did Betis regard it as coincidence that as soon as Franco's death had changed the name from Copa Generalisimo to Copa del Rey, they won the cup, in 1977.

 

Betis' persecution complex was heightened by the Civil War. Seville was the first major city to fall to Franco's insurgents and, while Sevilla were allowed to carry on playing, the Betis ground was used as a depot for tanks.

The events of 1995 which led to Sevilla to be initially relegated to Division 2B are symptomatic of the chaotic backdrop which has precluded the consistency needed to win titles. Sevilla and Betis are still the most mercurial of clubs, treading the no mans land between the genius and the clown. But for sheer passion, wit and love of football, nowhere can quite match Seville.

 

 

For something cheaper try this! 

Another very good site for Spain 

If you're travelling from places like Alicante and Malaga you may need some advice on train and coach times. The link has links to all the coach companies that you may need. http://www.busstation.net/main/busspa.htm

For those who prefer the train try, www.renfe.es or if you need the English version try, http://www.renfe.es/horarios/english/index.html

 For those of you coming from further a field like the rest of Europre this site might be of help

  The Seville Tourist Office has some great things to do. Click on the link below for places to visit, night life, how to get around the city, eating and drinking and finally shopping. http://www.turismo.sevilla.org/paginas_en/portada.asp

 

Some England fans like to meet up around some of the fast food restaurants in town. If you're that sort of person then the sites below may be of interest to you. http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=mC+DONALDS+IN+SEVILLE&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

 http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=BURGER+KING+IN+SEVILLE&btnG=Search&meta=

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=pIZZA+HUT+IN+SEVILLE&btnG=Search&meta=

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=IRISH+BARS+IN+SEVILLE&btnG=Search&meta=

I will be eating at my favourite Tapas bar. Bar Levies. The clientele are quite young but the tapas are enormous. http://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilletapas/category/cafe-bar-levies

After the match I will be in my favourite Irish bar for a few drinks. http://www.pflaherty.com/index.php?op=2&pub=2&lan=eng  

Just booked my room from here. 

Anybody needing to hire a car. Avis are very good in Europe.