‘Hala coloraos’ by Paco Giménez: a miracle in Gallur

One has seen very rare books throughout one’s life: due to their small circulation; because they are bound in a very special way (for example, in snakeskin); because only a few copies have survived fires or floods in the presses or warehouses that printed them or where they were preserved; for carrying very unique autograph dedications or having belonged to very prominent writers, artists or politicians… And also for its content, in case of dealing with picturesque, absurd or downright fluffy topics or matters (which, not knowing very well what we mean With that, it serves as a catch-all for all kinds of absurd or misguided books).

These days I have read, prefaced and presented a strange book. One of those with extravagant content, in its etymological sense of moving outside the limits of normality. HERALDO journalist Paco Giménez has written 1,000 pages (990 to be precise) on an extraordinary subject, also in its etymological sense of being something far from the usual: the history of his town’s soccer club, the Gallur Sports Club, which celebrated its first hundred years of life in 2023.

Devoting thousands and thousands of hours of work to the history of a football club is not within everyone’s reach. You have to have a special inclination for extravagance and be an extraordinary guy, with many arrests. Both conditions are more than met by Paco Giménez, who even if he had dedicated those thousand pages to one of the great teams in the world (think of Zaragoza, Madrid, Milan, Liverpool or Bayern) the thing, while still being infrequent and striking, could have its explanation. But making an offering of that cyclopean effort to the hundred years of CD Gallur (and incidentally to the history of Gallur in that period, with football as a pretext) is only within the reach of the most seasoned and bizarre heroes, those who always jump the first in the trenches “looking for death”, like that horseman about whom José Feliciano sang.

You are moved to learn about the five bombings that Gallur suffered during the Civil War, the bloodiest being the one that took place on November 23, 1937, in which 14 people died and another 28 were injured.

On May 6, 1923, CD Gallur played its first match. It was against the Fuenclara Athletic Section, from Zaragoza, which moved its second team by train to play in Gallur, on the Mariano era field. ‘El Noticiero’ broke the news of the match and the visitors won 0-1. The book, thanks to Giménez’s expertise, is miraculously entertaining, as it is full of curious and surprising news that captivates the reader who approaches it without prejudice.: the international match that CD Gallur played at the San Antonio/Las Cañas field, in February 1956, against the German SpVgg Fürth Nuremberg; the movement of the team and the fans in an adapted truck with benches of boards in which 30 or 40 people could travel.

His first big game at home, which he played against Borja of the legendary goalkeeper Pepe Nogués (who would play for Barcelona and the national team) on June 12, 1927; the balls that fell into ‘la huesera’ (as the common grave was called in the town) when soccer was played at the back of the cemetery; how during the breaks of the games, on autumn and winter afternoons, the players were given carajillos to combat the cold; or when Arrúa went to play for Zaragoza coached by Vujadin Boskov (who would shortly later announce his signing for Real Madrid). And you are moved to learn about the five bombings that Gallur suffered during the Civil War, the bloodiest being the one that took place on November 23, 1937, in which 14 people died and another 28 were injured; and learn about the relationship with Gallur of the republican writer and publicist Bonifacio García Menéndez.

But, we have already said, it is not only football that is talked about in this book. They also talk about the Galluran society, economy, industry and hospitality. And that journey through shops, cinemas, bars, cafes, tobacconists, carpentry shops, perfumeries, printing shops, barbershops… is as exciting as when Giménez remembers the exploits of the CD Gallur.

I wish all the towns of Aragon had a chronicler as rigorous, insightful and selfless as Paco Giménez.who with this book, extravagant and extraordinary, has set down in history one hundred years of Gallur’s life with football as a plot and guiding thread.

 
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