Caires [/kɛrɛz] is a city in Candelaria And Marquez situated in the north-east of the island of Candelaria. The city’s name is of unknown origin, as is that of the incongruous pronunciation, but it was certainly called as such from its founding as a fishing village in 1854.
As a port, Caires was smaller and less influential than nearby Alvery and Clotaire; but was still an important market town in the region and a terminus for much of the mineral and farming produce in the north-east. By the early twentieth century the city was as involved in shipping as its neighbours however, and was home to more major – and multinational – trading companies per head of the general population than any other settlement in the Candelarias.
That maritime past is less in evidence today than in other costal cities, though the docklands remain a major employer. Caires has always been a notable destination for some of the country’s more affluent recent immigrants and has a very high proportion of citizens of Pacitalian, Pantocratorian and Russian ancestry, with a greater variety of languages spoken in the city than elsewhere in the country even several generations after their ancestors’ arrival.
The sober, quiet nature of central Caires sits at times awkwardly with the bright lights and heaving activity of Rider Castle.
Despite this, and its staunchly liberal politics, Caires has long been considered something of a Candelariasian ‘everycity’; being home to some very traditional town planning and citizens who, in polling, regularly appear to epitomise ‘average’ Candelariasian values and outlooks.
This cosy traditionalism has survived more-or-less intact despite the ‘gambling revolution’ that took hold proper in the late 1980s. In the early days, much of this was under direct government control, but the relaxing of regulations and the almost total opening of the industries to the private sector in 2000 saw Caires’ burgeoning Casino District (in the once sedate area of Rider Castle) transform as rapidly as any urban locale in the country.
Though much of ‘the Castle’ is widely and not unfairly considered extremely tacky; the United Casinos of the Castle claim to offer the ‘premier entertainment experience in the region’. To this end, they have expanded in recent years into hotels, bars and even golfing events to support their main form of income; making Caires an increasingly popular destination for businessmen from across C&M and Rushmore.
Alongside the majority of the privately-employed labour force who work in the gambling industry; other major areas of employment besides the service sector and docks include publishing, automobile and public transport construction, the manufacture and operation of close-circuit television and the production of neon signage.
Football, in common with many larger Candelariasian cities, is a major preoccupation in the city. Indeed, Caires fans are considered among the most passionate in the country; and certainly, in years past, the most violent. There are no less than three professional clubs, listed below in the order of their formation.
Caires Sports Edit
Caires Sports Club were formed in 1900, with a dedicated football section being added in 1909. Initially based in Rider Castle, they moved into a more central, purpose-built stadium in 1927 where they remained until 2001 when they and Caires FC moved to the Kaleta Online Dome in the Docklands area. The KOD is one of the largest stadia in the country and frequently plays host to concerts, exhibitions and other non-sporting events making it arguably the north-east’s premier public arena.
The depressing grey-and-white stripes of the Knights belie their deserved reputation as the football-mad city’s biggest and most expressive club. They were one of an elite group of formerly amateur clubs who made real waves in the National Foot-Ball League from the forties onwards. Under then-managers and now Chairman and Director of Football respectively, Emrah Demir and Virgilio Hatibovic; CSC won three titles in the late fifties and were a constant force in the early sixties. Throughout that period however, the Knight’s hooligan element rose in power and influence within the club to the point when the leader of the ‘Cavalry’ (the Caires Sports’ ‘Ultras’) was elected to the position of Chairman whilst still serving a year-long prison sentence for serious bodily harm. In 1965, they became the first side to be voted out of the NFBL by their fellow clubs, for the violence of their fans.
While the Caires 59ers began to make in-roads into the NFBL, the Knights returned to their amateur roots; and worked admirably hard on routing-out their hooligan element. With former forward Brendan Lundie as Head Coach, they began to experiment with an expansive and, for C&M, highly unusual 2-3-3-2 formation which won them the 1985 CMS Cup. Turning professional once more, they narrowly finished runners-up in the CMSC V series but as other teams learnt to adapt to their formation, Caires Sports fell increasingly out of contention. Despite having one of the largest home and travelling support bases in the islands, they were relegated in XIII and were absent from the top-flight for five seasons.
Their return with John Emvoliadis at the helm made little impact, though the stability he provided saw him last until the XIV season when his assistant Carl Woods moved up to the top job. Woods returned the club to the gung-ho outlook of years past, helping them to a fifth-place finish and scoring sixty-one goals (more than any other team in the division) along the way. The fifty-eight goals against (more than any other team bar one) would prove a better indicator of their future to come, as forwards Ethan Lund, Niall Pizot, Eazalden Ernebrink et al failed to repeat their performances of the previous season in XXV. The Knights struggled from the start, eventually sacking Woods and bringing in the club’s defence coach Michael Hazzell. That too failed to turn their fortunes around, and Caires Sports were relegated by two points.
The club soon brought in former Marquez-Onwere manager Macario Ayoví, with whom they eased back to promotion with the help of a young team including C&M youth internationals Archer French, Lars Wiedemann and Andy Harford. They were able to add Kura-Pellandi wonderkid Bo Phelps to the line-up come XXVII but their tenure in the top-flight would ultimately prove short-lived; their suicide 4-3-3 impressing the neutrals but failing to get the requisite points. A last-day victory gave them hope, but the Knights were still relegated on goal difference behind troubled AFC MN Smith. With their strike force intact however, Ayoví has high hopes of sweeping back up from the second division once again.
Caires FC Edit
The Caires 59ers were formed in 1958 (don’t… just don’t) in the hope of providing a rival team to compete with the Knights’ success. Lacking a clear history and tradition of their own, they never quite made it, though they were an NFBL club right until the last.
Following the league’s collapse they were reinvented as Caires FC, following numerous other cities and districts in using that pattern of renaming), reaching the CMS Cup V final before turning pro. Success was not rapidly forthcoming, but in XI they made the top flight, being surprise title runners-up in the XIII season. Two years later they had established what was generally agreed to be the country’s best eleven, despite lacking a consistent manager for any length of time. The man credited with the creation of their team, general manager Simon Whitney, took over in the dugout and led the brownbacks to a third-place finish after a valiant title challenge.
To date, the club would not come close to equalling those performances, despite moving into their new home with the Knights and regular influxes of cash. In XXI they were relegated as the bottom team, and have found gaining promotion rather more difficult than they had expected. In XXVI they suffered the indignity of relegation to the third division.
Caires City Edit
The club considered to supply one-half of Caires City’s heritage, the Caires Towers, were formed in the late sixties after Caires Sports’ expulsion from the NFBL, and immediately attracted a not insignificant part of the Knights’ disenchanted following. The club were set up in Rider Castle, but failed to challenge the supremacy of the 59ers as the city’s premier professional outfit. They folded in the early eighties.
It wasn’t until the late nineties that the city once again had three professional clubs; when a large cadre of Caires Sports fans, convinced that the club would never reach their former heights under the then-ownership, formed Caires City (the ‘Errant Knights’) with former Towers fans. With the casino district still in its infancy, they were unable to attract great funding for some time; though their route back up to the top was still rapid thanks to the management skills of Andy Walker.
Late in the XXI season the club moved into their current, brightly-lit home; the McNeil Bingo Arena (Storie Park), and achieved their first promotion to the CMSC top division. The navy-blue clad City have gone on to be a minor but entertaining force in the CMSC, with an eventful last few seasons. In XXIV they were statistically the most defensive side in the division, both scoring and conceding less than anyone else, while in XXV they turned things around completely; sticking half their team up front and duly conceding more than anyone else, while scoring plenty through veteran C&M international Joel Grillo. The Errant Knight survived by eight points, but it was touch-and-go throughout.
A lack of financial might meant that there was always a good chance of returning from whence they came and it occurred a season later. Despite the cash injection, the loss of star winger and C&M international O’Sullivan Caras to Cafundéu’s Central United effectively sealed their doom. They would soon see their other main stars sold off; right-back Walter Jordan to Turks’ Club, Alessio Montano to Kura-Pellandi side Yarzoya FC and Sven Norway to Bettia’s Gabalfa Rovers.
Walker was sacked as soon as it became obvious that survival was unlikely, with Elgin Dannat promoted from youth-team coach. Despite failing to keep them up he was retained and guided the club back to promotion a year later, leapfrogging Caires Sports in the process. With a large number of relative unknowns in the starting eleven; the Errant Knight’s XXVIII may depend on the form of their foreign duo; the Cafundulense Dionísio and Kura-Pellandi forward Pep McGuire.