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Behind the incredible Hulk kits - the sad story of Atlético Astorga. And more 2000. (24th May, 2017)



Exactly.



Behind the incredible Hulk kits is a story that shows weakness - weakness of the argument for why the Segunda B should even exist.

In March 2016, Atlético Astorga couldn't survive in the Segunda B. It ran a 30,000 euro deficit. It needed 70,000 euros more to survive. Just think about that - a club formed in 1969 had spent just two years in the Segunda B and was struggling to function.

The team from Astorga did the unthinkable - they reached across to Ponferrada, 64 kilometers away, to their fiercest rivals, and became their B team.

The situation was so dire that Sagrario González, president of the board, defended it as the "the only solution" to be able to compete in the Segunda B - and this was after Ponferradina had loaned them five players in the winter transfer window. Members of the assembly voted 85-8, with 5 abstentions, to become the reserve team of their nemesis.

It never happened though - for the agreement to take shape either both Ponferradina had to stay in the Segunda and Astorga had to stay in the Segunda B, or both had to go down and the agreement would be renegotiated.

They both went down, and the agreement didn't go through.

The fight for a better Segunda B, once again, was brushed under the carpet.



Yesterday I did a small snippet on the 1999-00 season. Here's another:

El País summed up the team perfectly: "A lady who has gone from housework to being interviewed by the Herald Tribune, a coach whose fame began - and ended - in Logroño; an American goalkeeper, a German with a ponytail, a group of disinherited players with just one star - a former youth product raised by Cruyff himself. 

And Cota, as ever - Cota."

In the 1999-00 season, newly promoted Rayo Vallecano did something unheard of, something that they had never done in their 75-year history.

In weeks 4, 8, 10 and 11, they led the table. Not defending champions Barcelona. Not eventual champions Depor, or eventual Champions League winners Real Madrid.

Them.

Teresa Rivero, the owner who was considered a maternal figure by fans and players alike, oversaw a team coached by Juande Ramos, a team whose goal was defended by Kasey Keller, a team that ticked because of Gerhard Poschner, a team that was full of energy because of Luis Cembranos, raised with, and then replaced by, Jordi Cruyff by Johan himself, and a team that was represented by Vallekas-born-and-bred and one-club man Jesús Diego Cota.

But that description leaves out two men. Jon "Bolo", the striker who scored 10 goals that season. When he joined in the 1998-99 season from Athletic Bilbao, coach Luis Fernández said that Bolo would not be able to score ten goals even in the Segunda.

He was right - Bolo scored nine that season.

The other, the "boss", the defender who put everything on the line, who was comfortable on the ball, who Juande Ramos called the Fernando Hierro of Rayo, who inexplicably was let go of by Compostela, who along with Cota formed an impenetrable partnership in the center of the park, was Jean-François Hernandez.



The Rayo women's team exceeded what it did last year - by actually qualifying for the Copa de la Reina! The quarterfinal draw came out today.

Good news? It's a local derby. Bad news? It's against league champions Atlético Madrid.

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