As regular readers here will know I am not stranger to Spain and her people.
Moreover I do not frequent the Costa Del Essex, but only auténtico España.
In the last two years I have walked El Camino Santiago and visited El Pilar in Zaragoza.
The most relaxing time I had in my adult life was doing not very much in provincial Castile la Mancha after walking across the North of Spain.
Dandering into Azuqueca de Henares and being the only foreigner within earshot was a joy.
Only two weeks ago I lunched in el Barrio in La Coruña.
So I do not come to this from a position of zero knowledge on España and her people.
In terms of full disclosure I have never been to Benidorm or Ibiza.
I reckon there are very few people in Spain under 45 years of age who are in anyway remotely religious.
However, you do see quite a lot of young people making the sign of the cross in public.
Perhaps another two generation so of non-believers in Iberia will excise this religious reflex, but for now people in Spain bless themselves.
Spain was, of course, a dictatorship for a large part of the 20th Century and the Catholic Church had a favoured position.
Modern Spain is democratic and increasingly secular.
However, cultures do not change as quickly as forms of government.
Francisco José Sandaza Asensio was born in Toledo almost a decade after the death of Franco.
I do not know if the footballer is a Catholic or is religiously observant in any faith and that, of course, is a private matter for him.
However, the news today that he has been apparently asked to desist from blessing himself on the field of play is particularly depressing.
“…el primer día me aconsejaron no santiguarme antes de comenzar los partidos.”
“…the first day I was advised not to cross myself before matches.”
It is not clear who made this request of the Spaniard.
My own theory is that it was a Chelsea fan on a tour of the splendid stadium that John Brown played for.
I expect that the intrepid chaps on the Scottish sports desks will soon be running this story down and preparing a “big splash”.
They could start by contacting Lorenzo Amoruso and asking him about what he stated in his autobiography about being advised not to bless himself before matches, especially where he could be seen by the paying customers at Ibrox.
In the meantime I am sure that Sevco’s impressive media operation will put out a statement stating that señor Sandaza is mistaken and that it is perfectly ok for him to indulge in the religious observation of his choice while at his workplace.