Teams: Boavista vs Leira
League: Portuguese Superliga
Entry Price: EUR 20
Programme: Dunno, guv
Stadium Architecture: Sturdy EURO 2004 Refurb

My new year’s resolution is to visit a new football ground every month. New means new to me rather than some newly-constructed soulless concrete box. But for February I combine the two, a newly-constructed soulless concrete box, but one I haven’t visited before.

Boavista are one of only two teams to win the Portuguese league outside the ‘big three’. A history that makes the Scottish league look like a free for all. They are the city of Porto’s second team and squarely in their shadow again after winning the title in 2001.

The stadium gleams on the outside, but inside is a little grim; anonymous backstairs, unpainted corridors, all drained of colour. A miracle at the bar, beer cans! But what the lord giveth, the dude taketh away. Sin Alcohol says the label and I howl into the night.

Electronic advertising hoardings delimit the entire pitch. They are thick and sturdy and attached to boot-up units, blinking furiously behind. I wonder if they distract the players and remember a Soccer AM third eye showing a sub warming up as an electronic car advert raced him down the touchline. I’ve never seen them from the back before and find them fascinating.

Boavista play in black and white checkerboard shirts in a stadium of white and black checkerboard seats. Perhaps when full, it wouldn’t matter, empty it makes your eyes dizzy. Euro 2004 came along with a big bag of cash and Boavista bypassed any architect fees and spent the whole lot on concrete and paint. It seems to have created a white elephant, albeit one with black checks.

The game is a nothing nil-nil and I try to remember the last time I went to a football match and could still feel my fingers and toes at the end.