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A goal is scored and the stadium roars. “The Final Countdown” booms from the speakers. The fans haven’t stopped cheering - not even during the 15-minute break - and, whatever the result, will not stop bouncing.

This is our club, not just of Vallekas but from Vallekas. Independent of Madrid, left-wing in a right-wing city, against the demise of football, pro-immigration and beautiful football from start to finish.

Welcome to the Pride of Vallekas, a blog that will feature news, insights, pictures and more.

With a lightning bolt in our logo, Republican ideals in our hearts and freedom in our souls, we are the last of the barrio teams.

And the fans will not stop bouncing.

On September the 21st, 2015, I posted an article on BackPageFootball entitled Rayo Vallecano – The minnows defying the script. (Read it here). Ever since then, Rayo have been relegated, survived a relegation battle, have sent back a player they had loaned within a day, and for some dumb reason Raúl Martín Presa is still in charge.

I want to write about Rayo. I want to write about its history, its famous players and its struggles. I want to write about the football and the board, the politics and the fans, the players and the coaches. But more importantly, I want to give my take on the day-to-day coverage.

This is that blog. Rayo, plus the untold stories of Spanish football.

And while it's daily, on some days, I will write as much as this page. On some days, I'll probably just link to a post I wrote somewhere else. On some days, I won't write at all.

But bear with me - I'll try my very very very best.

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After ripping up my groundhopping calendar, mostly because I was determined to avoid overnight travel, and partly due to other commitments, there was a period of time where non-league football took a backseat.
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Secretly, I'd loved travelling over ten hours back-and-forth to watch some 10th division football. And this was 9th division football in London.
When I had gone to East Dulwich exactly a week back, I had commented on how the amount of graffiti struck me as I watched from on board a southeastern train. I was going the exact same way, but much further this time - then I had stopped at Denmark Hill, now I would have to go six stations further. The graffiti I had thought was so emblematic of south London quickly disappeared, as did the tall buildings desperately cluttered together. We, and by we I mean me, were going to the suburbs. The stations be…

Non-league Incider: St Helens Town 3-0 Atherton Laburnum Rovers

Last game: 8th August: Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 East Thurrock United

The previous day, I was blown away by my first ever football match experience. Dulwich Hamlet impressed me, but what impressed me more was the journey. The travel to the stadium was just as enjoyable as the football itself.

I had caught the groundhopping bug.

There were no games scheduled for the 9th of August. There was one, near Wigan, and all I had booked earlier was a refundable bus ticket from Manchester Airport leaving at quarter past midnight.

I should have refunded it. This was a mistake. This whole day was a mistake.

I was only slightly hungover from the previous night, but that was nothing compared to this feeling of loss - I couldn't handle the fact that there was a game happening. And I wasn't too far away. Just three hours and a bit. They'll fly by, I thought.

I was in autopilot. Something within me made me get up, grab a bag, and get out the door. This wasn't me. I wasn't travelling - I was …

Jaime Mata - the one that got away (18th January, 2018)

A few months ago, Rayo fans woke up to this:
CONVOCATORIA| 📋 Lista de 1️⃣9️⃣ jugadores para el debut mañana en la #CopaDelRey🏆 #NumanciaMálaga⚽️ #VamosMálaga💙 👉 https://t.co/hlScwtJkhYpic.twitter.com/qFGrdvOnrQ — Málaga CF (@MalagaCF) October 23, 2017
That was a bittersweet moment - pride for a Rayista who was going to succeed at Málaga, but bitterness at the club for letting him go for free and not tying him down early enough.

Midfielder Pablo Clavería slipped through the cracks. He wasn't renewed, and got tired of waiting - a depressingly normal situation for a smaller, cash-strapped club.

This is the story of another player who slipped through.

Like Pablo, he has a powerful shot on him. Unlike Pablo, it's key to his job. The striker made his name in his hometown of Madrid in the Tercera, after rising through the ranks of Galáctico Pegaso. He would play for the reserves in 2007, before playing for the senior team during the 2008-09 campaign.

During the 2009-10 campaign, ec…