Spanish football expert Euan McTear joins us for 5 questions with… talking his journey to Spain, his two books and much more. Enjoy!
Hi Euan, thanks for joining us. First of all, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a football journalist from Glasgow, currently living in Madrid. I grew up in Glasgow and went to Glasgow University before making the move out to Spain to cover Spanish football, working for the likes of MARCA In English, LaLiga Lowdown and These Football Times.
How did you develop an interest in Spanish football?
During the early Noughties, there was a lot of LaLiga football on TV in the UK, and I started to follow it every weekend. I loved how different and exotic it was to the Scottish football I’d usually watch, from the quality to the colours to the climate. I then lived in Barcelona for a year while studying at university and fell even more in love with LaLiga.
You’ve written two books, one about Eibar and one about Atletico; what prompted you to write the books and what were the processes behind them?
The first one I wrote was the Eibar book, called Eibar the Brave. I was just getting started in football journalism, and there was this amazing story about how Eibar, a town of 27,000 people, suddenly had a team in the Spanish first division. I thought it would make a great story for a book and decided to write it myself. With the Atlético book, titled Hijacking LaLiga, I wanted to explain what Atlético had done to turn their fortunes around and to win a league title and to make two Champions League finals in three years.
What would you say to someone that says Spain is all about Real and Barca?
I’d say that they have a point to some extent, because most football fans and journalists in Spain also think that way. But I’d firstly point out that Atlético Madrid have made it a three-team league, while also then pointing out that there is more to LaLiga than just the title race, as some of the clubs qualifying for and competing in the Europa League are fascinating.
What are your thoughts heading into the World Cup? How will Spain fare?
I’m very confident in Spain’s chances. Even though they are the third of fourth favourite for most people, I’d suggest that they are actually being underrated. They have such a strong defence and a great goalkeeper in De Gea, but their ability to keep clean sheets is often forgotten about. Defence wins championships and Spain have a great back line, in addition to their obvious attacking talent.