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Hinchas y Jugadores - Tenerife with Druso Lopez (19th May, 2017)

Follow Druso on Twitter here.

A bit about yourself and your background

My name is Druso Lopez, I am a 20 year old International Football Business at UCFB in Wembley, so is not hard to guess that I am a huge football fan and I would like to develop a career within the sport industry. I know live in London but I moved to the UK when I was 15, to a small town in Lancashire called Fleetwood and that's how I become a Fleetwood town fan. Also I like Manchester City, I am a huge football fan and watch a lot of football every week; English, Spain, Italy... I don't mind as long as the game is good, but I've to admit I'm a Premier League fan, I'm aiming to visit every football ground in London before 2018!

How long have you been a fan of Tenerife and what made you support them in the first place?

I was born and raised in Tenerife capital Santa Cruz and my house was just a 10 minutes walk from the Stadium; my dad and my grandad as most of my families were huge Tenerife fans so I really didn't had an option. As soon as I was 5 years old my dad bought me a season ticket (it use to be free if you're dad was a season ticket holder) so basically I spend all my childhood going with my family every Sunday with my family. At the beginning obviously I didn't really care but from the first day I always felt something in the Stadium that I liked, then as I was growing most of my friends at school were also Tenerife fans, so when I start playing football myself in a local team I always dreamed to become a first team player. Although I didn't really care to much about the results in the 2008/2009 season we got promoted to La Liga and we had an amazing team, I went to a few away games and really enjoyed myself in the promotion party. We could say the rest is history, now although I live in England I do my best to not miss any game and try to look for my holidays to coincide with Tenerife games (don't wanna be a jinx but hopefully by the middle of June we will playing in the playoffs and I already booked my tickets to be there).

Given the transfer windows and the squad that was assembled at the start of the season, is Tenerife where you want it to be?

Being completely honest, we are way higher than what I expected at the beginning of the season. I was disappointed at the beginning of the season, there was a huge lack of investment as all the players that we signed were either free agents from teams who has been relegated last season (Llagostera and Ponferradina), unknown players on loan, players without contract or players coming from really non-competitive leagues (we signed two players from Honduras and one from Tunisia). It got worse when on the last day of the transfer market we sold our last season top-scorer Nano to first division Eibar (who was a product of the youth academy and fan favorite) and we got a 25 year old guy from Tunisian League on loan (who has more red cards than goals this season by the way). So there weren't many reasons to be optimistic as I was fearing relegation, also we got as a manager who was a former player had no experience at all.

Of the signings made this season, which one worked out the best/had the most impact and why?

Definitely Atlético Madrid-Senegalese Amath N'Diaye, a 20 year old striker who was unknown before and now is our top scorer and at least for me my favorite layer. Not just for the way he plays (he's a very good player, already one of the best in the league) also he seems to be very comfortable in Tenerife and has a strong work-ethic, in contrast with some other players we had on loan in the past. His goals obviously are very important for the team, but I think the fans and even their teammates are more confident when he is on the pitch. Also midfielder Aarón Ñíguez (brother of Atlético star Saúl) and Japanese midfielder Shibasaki have very good and create all the chances that come from our midfield.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of Tenerife this season? Any standout players?

The main strength I will say is the defensive performance (we are the 3rd highest team in the league to have conceded the least goals) it is really hard to score against us, our goalkeeper Dani Hernández who plays internationally for Venezuela is the best one in the league in my opinion; and all the players who play in defense - doesn't matter who is playing, they always perform very well (last year we concede 45 goals, this year only 32). Also I think the team spirit is very important, all the players know their roles and seem to adapt to it, when someone is injured or banned, the replacement normally performs at the same level or even better, I think it has been key that there are no egos in the changing room and all the players seems to have a good relationship. Finally I will say our home stadium is our bunker, only one home defeat at home and supporters and players are finally together, we have only lost one game at home this year and the Stadium is getting one of the best average attendance in the league, once we got 20,000 - a record for a Liga123 game this year, even better than some LaLiga teams!

In terms of weaknesses I would say that we create many chances but struggle to score goals, only Amath has score more than 10 goals this season and the other strikers have fail to achieve the number of goals the team requires. Lack of experience from our manager is a weakness as well as some games we have lost/draw this year I don't think would have happen with a more experienced manager, it seems that every time we got close to the direct promotion position, we get nervous or something and we fail, this could be crucial in a playoff. Finally the fact that we have some international players from Honduras, Venezuela, Japan and Algeria is a weakness as LaLiga123 doesn't stop for international breaks, so we have to play without 4 key players at least 4 weeks just for that! And one of them always come back injured after playing with Honduras.

List some things you appreciate and some things you can’t stand about the club management. 

To make it clear, I'm not a fan of the current board as they've been in charge for more than 10 years. I feel like they think that the clubs belong to them and don't pay much attention to the supporters, it seems like they're comfortable with being a second division team and they don't wanna invest in promotion. Also in the last years we have produce some players from our academy but they all leave after one good season, it particularly hurt me the case of Ayoze Pérez who was just promoted with Newcastle yet sold for just £1.5M. I understand we have to sell our players and that they want to play in top leagues, but it seems like the board just want to make money with them, we should be able to at least keep them for at least a second year.

However I think this season has been good in management terms, as the new players are performing really good and there have been some policies to lower the ticket price in order to get the stadium full, but anyway it's clear they don't have much support among fans and even if we are promoted, they should go.

What has the mood among the fans been during the campaign? Do you generally agree/disagree with them?

In general terms people are quite happy with the team as I don't think many people expected this performance and the Stadium is full every weekend, however as I mentioned before when we were close to catch Girona for the second spot and we had a 4 games winless run some supporters started criticizing the team and particularly the manager. Tenerife fans are really demanding especially after a disappointing end of the season 2 years ago. Anyway I think people are happy with the team spirit as I honestly think that everyone is doing their best and we have more players from the Canary Islands, which is something important for the supporters.

Are there any talented youngsters at the club that you expect to have a big future?

As mentioned before Amath, if he keeps progressing like that no doubt that next year he's gonna be in first division; furthermore as much as I would like him to stay with us he does belong to Atlético and I can see him being a success with the rojiblancos, I would say he has the potential to play for a team playing in at least Europa League in the next 4 years. Also young defender Jorge Sáenz seems that he will good in the next season, he's already good enough to play in a top-4 Liga123 team and he's just 20, solid CB and very fast and strong, he does make some mistakes but it is just his first season if he can improve that he would play in a team in the top-tier. Finally we have striker Cristo who has really good skills and has score some important goals, he hasn't made it yet I think because of his character and he needs to play more for the team but if he can focus on the game he will be an amazing player, we will see if his ego will kill his career or he will mature in the next years.

If you could make one realistic signing for Tenerife this summer who would it be?

I would sign former striker Ayoze Pérez from Newcastle, who may be homesick; however don't think we can afford his wage at the Premier League and he has been an important player under Benítez. I would sign Amath on a permanent basis, his buyout clause is just €2M and if we are promoted we should the effort to sign him; he deserves to play in LaLiga next year so the only way to sign him is by being promoted. Ángel, who is a striker for Zaragoza and one of the top scorers of the League finishes his contract, he's a product from the youth team as well and I would love to see him back at home, as we urgently need an striker also I would love Osasuna's Sergio León.

To make the Gaku deal permanent also would be important and sign some midfielder with good La Liga experience would be good as well, if we are promoted we will need more players who already have played in the top-league.

Finally, predicted finish for Tenerife?

Ideally I would love to say 2nd and directly promoted but don't think Girona is going to drop points, so I would be happy with any playoff position and then hopefully win promotion, but even if we fail to promote it would have been a good season!

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