Skip to main content

Paco Jémez - if a crazy, demanding, passionate football fan was on the touchline (10th September, 2017)

He is the son of a flamenco singer, Francisco Crespo Aguilar, better known as Lucas de Écija. He said he had "neither the voice or the talent" for what his father did, but entertainment is in his blood.

A firebrand idealist, he ripped into anyone who even dared to think about hoofing the ball long, who shouted toca in his every breath - repeatedly, relentlessly, almost religiously, who loved nothing more than his team passing the ball from the goalkeeper into the opposition's goal without it leaving the ground.

He spared nothing and no one from his actions and words. He told players to be brave, pointing at his cojones when asked how. He shouted at players to be calmer and he shouted at players to be more energetic. He told players that they were mierda when they were, well, mierda. He took players off and then shouted at them while on the bench - for every one to see.

Lass publicly fought him. So did Bebé. Anaitz Arbilla cried - twice. But they all came back stronger. No one, not even Roberto Trashorras, was off the hook - sometimes, Paco told Trashorras to get off free-kicks altogether and let Alejandro Gálvez take them, and the best part was that it worked.

That's Paco ripping into the heartbeat, the talisman, and the captain of Rayo - and that's just Trashorras.
He kicked the ice cooler a lot - almost symbolically implying that he wasn't going to keep his cool. He paraded the touchline, giving linesmen a hard time who probably thought he was one step away from storming onto the pitch. His movements were incomprehensible to the TV cameras that clearly needed higher frame rates - they were as poor as the team. In a dizzying array of white and red, the team attacked and charged and pushed high up the pitch, as boldly and crazily as the man on the touchline willing them on with eccentric elbow patches and jazzy waistcoats.

He clapped a lot. For unusually long, unusually fast and almost unusually rhythmically, almost to imitate the rhythm of his father's music. His father's powerful and rough voice was clearly inherited, heard by thousands in Vallekas - his battle cries of Ahí and Ayuda sometimes shaking the noisy stadium.

His treatment of the media - by golly, he always surprised and amazed. He begged to be sacked when the team struggled to gel at the start of every season. He whipped out a passport when rumors mentioned him having gone to Singapore to speak to Peter Lim about a possible Valencia move. His theory on playing football was "one ball and two bollocks". He got into a public media feud with Zinedine Zidane about whether he had the necessary qualifications to even coach. And he even talked about politics passionately just after leaving Rayo, criticizing Podemos and saying that he voted for the PP (Partido Popular).

You could never accuse him of being obstinate. Principled, yes. Unorthodox, yes. But never obstinate. He made first half substitutions when he didn't get tactics right, and the press conference that followed the match always acknowledged those and other mistakes. He defended players on and off the pitch from unjust attacks from the media and the referees, because he believed in them just as much as the fans did.

But behind all that footballing passion is a man of substance and emotion. He cried when Rayo went down. He, along with the technical team and players, paid from his own pocket the rent of 85-year-old Vallekas resident Carmen, who was being evicted from the apartment she loved when her son, unbeknownst to her, used it as security for a loan of 40,000 euros. He said later - "We’re not going to stand around and do nothing, we’re going to help this woman". And he hit out against the club repeatedly. He criticized the decision allowing the club sponsor to impose the signing of Zhang Chengdong, which sparked off a bitter feud between him and the sporting director. He said that he would take a pay cut and lead the team in the Segunda for 2016-17 as long as "things on a sporting level are done with rigor, tranquility and serenity", and the club refused.

I miss him. I miss his passion and his principles. I miss that even when Rayo were mierda, you could always looked at his actions and be entertained. You could look at his desire and believe in the team. Sometimes, you could look at the crazy, demanding, passionate coach, and see in him a crazy, demanding, passionate football fan. The screen you thought you were watching was, in fact, a camera.

He was you - on the touchline.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Francisco Pérez Pérez - the actual oldest player to have played in Spain (1st November, 2017)

I've always wanted to ask a football player: how much do you love your club? If you see your club go down, what are you willing to put on the line to see them go back up? The notion that "players will come and players will go, but the fans are the club" is one that is sadly true in what has become a money-filled sport. The story of a player sacrificing money and success for his club? That story is rare. That story is beautiful. This is that story. This is the story of a player who loved his club. His local club. It'll be a long time if and when someone beats his record. Francisco Pérez Pérez, also known as Chico, currently holds the record for being the oldest player to play in the Segunda B - 43 years and 93 days is the figure. That's a figure that second place Diego Rodríguez Fernández (41 years and 324 days) falls short of by a year and 134 days. I should also point out that the top 3 list for oldest players to play in any of the top three tier

When three teams offered a 19-year-old an eight year contract (11th October, 2017)

Just how many players can you name who have the following descrption: He is a striker of great quality, and was a great promise of Spanish football, but his bad luck and some injuries denied him the opportunity to recover - he has never played more than one season in the same team. This is the story of a player - a technically and physically excellent striker - who made mistakes and suffered injuries very young and never really recovered. Born in Santa Eulàlia de Ronçana, Barcelona, Iván Peñaranda started his youth career at Granollers. His real formation, however, was in the lower categories of Barcelona, ​​in which he stayed for seven years (1991-98). Playing alongside Xavi Hernández, Gabri and Carles Puyol. He was considered as one of the young players with a huge future within the club. In the summer of 1998, he angered Barcelona by using "change of residence" as an excuse to sign for Mallorca B (he would move there along with his family), where he would play alongs

Non-league Incider: Cray Valley Paper Mills 4-4 Punjab United Gravesend

Last game: 9th August: St Helens Town 3-0 Atherton Laburnum Rovers After ripping up my groundhopping calendar, mostly because I was determined to avoid overnight travel, and partly due to other commitments, there was a period of time where non-league football took a backseat. But that period did not last long. Because of course it didn't. Secretly, I'd loved travelling over ten hours back-and-forth to watch some 10th division football. And this was 9th division football in London. When I had gone to East Dulwich exactly a week back , I had commented on how the amount of graffiti struck me as I watched from on board a southeastern train. I was going the exact same way, but much further this time - then I had stopped at Denmark Hill, now I would have to go six stations further. The graffiti I had thought was so emblematic of south London quickly disappeared, as did the tall buildings desperately cluttered together. We, and by we I mean me, were going to the suburb