Imagine a website that focused on sports medicine and Spanish football. If you can't, you don't have to...it's injuriesandmore.com, started by Twitter's @Vam_os - go ahead and follow him!
A Cádiz fan, he talks about the various aspects of the club. So many, in fact, that this is a multi-part series! So welcome to The Cádiz Chronicles. Here, in part 1, he talks about Cádiz in general and the performance in the transfer windows...
Cádiz are one of a number of clubs whose fortunes I follow, based on a strong connection to the area.
I've worked in Sports Medicine for many years, both in football and in other sports so my viewpoint on injury and fitness matters at club level tends to be a little bit different in terms of writing. As a result I can identify with the way in which players, managers and coaches think - so I can look at the game from another angle.
The last couple of seasons have seen some exciting times for Cádiz. From just missing promotion by losing the play-off final in 2015, to finally managing to get out of Segunda B in 2016, and then making the play-offs for La Primera in 2017! Now there's only a short time away before the season kicks off and Cádiz will play in La Liga 2 for a second successive year. The pre-season has come and gone and everything is set for what will be a vitally important season for the club.
Promotion back to La Segunda - or La Liga 2 as it’s now known - was great, but definitely needed at the time. It’s now essential for Cádiz to maintain their status as a La Liga 2 club. UCAM Murcia were promoted in 2016 along with Cádiz and went straight back down to Segunda B, accompanied by Elche, Mirandés and Real Mallorca.
You only need to look at some of the other sides that are currently playing in that third tier of Spanish football to see how difficult it can be to get back up again if that happens. Racing de Santander, Real Murcia, Logroñés and Hércules de Alicante all remain stuck in the regionalised third division after being relegated from La Segunda, and like Cádiz in the past, these clubs are finding that it gets more and more difficult every year.
The Segunda B can be a very hard league to get out of and the trouble is that if you have a bad season there, then it’s easy to drop out of that division as well.
In the season that Cádiz won promotion to La Liga 2, Betis B went the other way. Finishing in the relegation zone meant that they subsequently found themselves playing in the fourth tier of Spanish football - so if you’re not careful that can be the knock-on effect of being relegated. Thankfully Betis B - who from this season onward will revert to their original name of Betis Deportivo Balompié - managed to win promotion out of that division and get back into the Segunda B once again, but clubs like Betis really need their second strings to be playing at a much higher level.
In La Segunda proper, the games against the stronger and more established sides like Valladolid, Tenerife and Real Zaragoza means good competition. But although Cádiz managed to achieve their objective of staying in the higher division immediately following promotion, the second season can often be harder still and much more of a challenge.
Your opinion on the transfer windows?
We’ve already seen the impact the transfer windows can make on clubs like Cádiz and Rayo Vallecano.
Although Álvaro Cervera has been active in making new signings, some important players have gone the other way. Aridane has joined Osasuna and its now looking as though Salvi Sánchez will move on as well. Both players were key to Cádiz’ success in the last two seasons and that’s the downside of the window.
Carlos Calvo has also left the club and his contribution to that promotion season won’t be forgotten in Cádiz either. Carlos’ goal in the first leg of the play-off against Hércules gave Cádiz the upper hand at that stage.
Transfer windows can be difficult - particularly when players are injured. A club could be watching someone for several months and then suddenly that player picks up a medium to longer-term injury and the deal is off. The unpredictable nature of injuries can also influence the movement of players in and out of the club as well. How many times do we see players getting injured in December?
Suddenly, people the management would like to move on end up staying - often just to cover the situation until others get fit. Even this is only for a few weeks, it causes disruption behind the scenes and limits the potential for negotiation.
It’s a difficult one to answer but overall I think the window is better than the old way of doing things - and it is here to stay. Like the loan system, it’s not ideal but it still won't stop clubs trying to buy their way out of difficult situations. Although far from ideal, at least it does stop the unexpected from happening without any prior warning as in the past -such as walking in one morning to find out your star player is moving on in a few hours!
Your thoughts on good/bad signings, squad strengths and weaknesses, etc.?
Since missing out on promotion to La Segunda in 2015, Cádiz managed to keep the nucleus of the side but then on going up to La Segunda last year, Álvaro Cervero made a few notable changes which undoubtedly helped with the transition to the higher division.
Of those who remained from the promotion season, Dani Güiza and Salvi Sánchez immediately spring to mind. Although Dani wasn’t at all popular with the support when he signed at first, he managed to win the fans over. Scoring the decisive goal in the second leg of the play-offs against Hércules in Alicante certainly didn’t do him any harm!
Even though Dani’s not getting any younger I think he’ll be missed this time around. Salvi proved that he was an important player in the higher division but perhaps the underlying strength last season was the fact that Cádiz were always such a difficult team to beat.
In the centre of defence, Aridane and the steadying influence of Servando meant that the back line was always hard to break down. At the other end, there’s no doubting the impact that Álvaro García and Alfredo Ortuño made in attack, even though the latter wasn’t happy at being left out against Tenerife in the play-offs.
As far as Alfredo was concerned, he said that there was no way Álvaro Cervera should have started the second leg without his leading scorer. Being on the bench didn’t go down very well with him on the night, but he still finished as the leading Cádiz scorer with 17 goals.
Decisions about who does play and who doesn’t are of course made by made by the coach, Álvaro Cervera. He gave the reasons for his team selection afterwards and we have to accept them.
While Álvaro García will be at the club this coming season, Alfredo Ortuño won’t - having been recalled by Las Palmas. However, he’s unlikely to figure in their first team so will likely be out on loan somewhere else or even moving on completely. Cádiz did try to get him to stay another season but it wasn’t to be...
Watch out for part 2 tomorrow, talking about the club management and the fans...