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Why I hate Granada - a personal story (6th July, 2017)

Yesterday, I talked about Granada taking Rayo players away, but I actually didn't mention one of Granada's biggest signings from the club - Paco Jémez.

So here it is.



Paco refused to hear the scores when Rayo were 1-0 down. Nor when Rayo were 2-0 down. Nor when Rayo were 2-1 down. He turned to his bench, to the coaches who had supported him all season when criticism was at its zenith, to the coaches who had seen their players pull out for the season one by one, to the coaches who couldn’t hide their emotions as they responded.

Granada? Safe. Getafe-Sporting? Draw.

His head hung low, his eyes lost - searching for reason in a season that has been unreasonable to Rayo - his mind made up: "We are dead".



We were dead.

There was no hope - Sporting were playing Villarreal, who were coached by a Sporting fan, and Getafe were playing Betis, a team whose fan base has been friendly to Sporting for years.

Out of Getafe, Rayo and Sporting, only Sporting were going to survive. The only outcome was tears - and that's exactly what happened.



There was a time when Paco Jémez was unknown to all but a few. He had led newly-relegated Alcalá to the Tercera promotion playoffs in 2007, Cartagena to a first ever promotion to the Segunda in 2009, and Córdoba to the Segunda promotion playoffs in 2012.

His arrival at Rayo was much like Pep's at Barcelona - an unknown quantity being given the reigns of a La Liga club.

And somehow, perhaps showered with trust, in a league in which they had zero managerial experience, they shined.




Paco cried that day too. And Vallecas, his home stadium for four years, cried with him.

I'm not ashamed to say I did too. That day, I wandered the streets at night, and at a restaurant ran into a Chelsea fan. He put his hand on my shoulder, and he said - "everything will be fine".

A part of him understood.



The tears didn't stop there.

Videos of interviews with players and fans cheering the team on Rayo's YouTube channel offered genuine closure.

I remember them interviewing Tito, a player who had played for the club since 2009, the club who had signed him from the wilderness of the Segunda B and had put him on the radar as a quality La Liga player.

The interview had to be stopped because he started crying.





There were no guarantees. Every player had their wages automatically slashed, and institutional disarray meant that those who said they would stay were negotiating exits.

It was painful to watch. But it was even more painful to watch Granada, a club that essentially bought its way from the fourth tier to the first within six years, become the club that essentially stripped our club of its most prized assets.

Their first signing? Paco. Their second? Tito.




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