Why turn down Ipswich for Spain

WOULD you prefer the sunnier climes of northern Spain or the sweeping countryside of leafy Suffolk?Does the appeal of the mañana lifestyle and tasty tapas outweigh the attraction of woodland walks and a frothy pint of local brew?In a tale of two cities, it seems that the draw of the Iberian existence was just too much for the trouser-wearing girlfriend of long-time Ipswich Town target Cesar Navas, who persuaded her beau to shun the Blues in favour of a move to Racing Santander.

WOULD you prefer the sunnier climes of northern Spain or the sweeping countryside of leafy Suffolk?

Does the appeal of the mañana lifestyle and tasty tapas outweigh the attraction of woodland walks and a frothy pint of local brew?

In a tale of two cities, it seems that the draw of the Iberian existence was just too much for the trouser-wearing girlfriend of long-time Ipswich Town target Cesar Navas, who persuaded her beau to shun the Blues in favour of a move to Racing Santander.

Navas was all set for a £200,000 switch to Jim Magilton's side from cash-strapped Malaga but pulled the plug on the deal at the 11th hour, after his partner made her feelings known.

The defender's former Malaga team mate Pablo Counago, who re-joined the Blues in the summer, had given glowing references on life in Suffolk, but is appears his words fell on deaf ears.

Instead, lanky Navas will don the white of Racing and not the blue of Town this season.

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Today, mystery surrounds the exact reasons for the snub, although rumours abound that Santander's allegedly superior shopping and climate may have played a part.

Ipswich were believed to be offering him just under £5,000 a week. Santander may have been able to top that offer - but not too significantly.

Navas is not a superstar in the same league as Ronaldinho or Ronaldo - and Santander is not a massive club like Real Madrid or Barcelona.

In fact the city is about the same size as Southampton or Portsmouth - and it has a similar feeling to those south coast cities. It is neither a cultural icon nor a desert . . . but it is considerably more attractive than Malaga.

The transfer saga comes soon after Sunderland manager Roy Keane ridiculed players who allowed so-called WAGs to dictate their career.

Liz Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council and a season ticket holder at Portman Road, echoed Keane's sentiments and blasted the decision, labelling Navas' other half “silly”.

She said: “I sat in front of Pablo Counago's girlfriend for the first home match against Sheffield Wednesday and she said Malaga is great for the sun but Ipswich is so much nicer.

“All of her family are moving here - she loves Ipswich.

“A lot of the footballers live on the waterfront and they really enjoy it there.

“I would suggest Navas' girlfriend comes over and spends a little bit of time here before she is so adamant that she doesn't want to live in Ipswich.

“I think she's very silly.”

Serene Suffolk or sunny Santander - where would you rather live? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Santander v Ipswich:

Portman Road holds 30,000, around 7,500 more than Racing Santander's El Sardinero stadium.

Ipswich boasts a selection of cultural landmarks, including Christchurch Mansion, Ancient House and the Willis building, while Santander has a cathedral, the Palacio de Pronillo and a number of museums.

Santander play in Spanish football's top flight, La Liga. Ipswich are in the Championship, England's second tier.

Santander, in the Cantabria region, has a casino, situated on the classy beach resort of El Sardinero…Ipswich is home to a number of bookies.

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