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Showing posts from October, 2017

The "other" Las Palmas: 5 promotions in 6 seasons - Universidad de Las Palmas (Part 1). And Alfonso Artabe (31st October, 2017)

If you remember, a few days back, I wrote a piece titled The "other" Oviedo: CD Universidad de Oviedo - A historic university with a historic football team , talking about the football team of the Universidad de Oviedo. This story is similar - it's about the football team of Universidad de Las Palmas...but that's part 1. Part 2 is a continuation of that piece. Well, not so much continuation as nostalgia, as I wondered if there was anyone who has played for both the "Real" Oviedo (pun intended) and the "other" Oviedo? As it turns out, there are two. One of them is Real Oviedo legend Oli. The other is Alfonso Artabe... The rise and fall of Universidad de Las Palmas (Part 1) In 1994, a group of friends (university students, lawyers and former footballers), who used to play football on weekends, decided to register as a team in the Interinsular Federation of Las Palmas. This idea, which developed in meetings in the neighborhood of Vegueta,

When Eibar gave 31-year-old Raúl García a shot at professional football (30th October, 2017)

If you read the piece on Javi Lara , you would see that Eibar gave a La Liga chance to a 28-year-old who had just finished his first successful Segunda season. But seven years earlier, Eibar gave a Segunda chance to a 31-year-old player who had never played in the professional leagues. This is a story of perseverance, dedication, and the rarity of opportunity. This is the story of Raúl García Fernández. He is one of the Segunda B's greatest ever players. The third best, some would say - he has played 42539 minutes in the third tier, the third most in the league. It all started in the 1994-95 season, in the ranks of Real Unión de Irún in the Segunda B. Gonzalo Arconada gave him his debut, and at the age of just 18 he was already a regular starter. After three seasons at Real Unión and a season at Racing Ferrol he landed in Barakaldo. For four seasons, between 1998 and 2002, Barakaldo were coached by Alfonso Del Barrio and Peio Aguirreoa. And for all four of them Raúl Ga

The "other" Oviedo: CD Universidad de Oviedo - A historic university with a historic football team (29th October, 2017)

In the 2006-07 Segunda B season, Real Oviedo were relegated to the Tercera - the fourth tier of Spanish football. Predictably so - three different managers (José Antonio Velázquez, Ramiro Solís, Ismael Díaz) took over that season, the squad's top goalscorer, Jon Carrera, had a tally of four goals, and the team didn't win a single game away from home. As it turns out, the turmoil wasn't contained on the pitch - in 2006 Alberto González took a controlling share in the club. He did not pay social security or tax to the inland revenue and then disappeared - perhaps Cuba, possibly Panama - and is now wanted on two counts of fraud. But there was another Oviedo team that was relegated from the Segunda B that year too. CD Universidad de Oviedo, the team that represents the University of Oviedo, also went down in only their third year in the Segunda B. They have never come back up, and seven consecutive top 10 finishes were followed by a disastrous 2014-15 Tercera campaign, w

The brains of the Blanquiverdes (Part 3): Sergi Guardiola - Setbacks maketh the great (28th October, 2017)

Every time he was destined to fail, he did not. Every time he had to take a step back, he was back where he began... Guardiola was a product of Lorca Deportiva CF's youth system, and made his debuts as a senior in the 2009-10 season, in the Tercera. In the summer of 2010, he signed with Segunda B club Jumilla. It was his first Segunda B season - and it ended with relegation, with Guardiola playing less than 1200 minutes. It looked as if Sergi Guardiola would be consigned to the Tercera - and his February 2012 move to CF La Nucía in the same tier was a clear indication of that. But miraculously, in August of the same year he was given his second shot in the Segunda B with Ontinyent. But once again, he barely got game time - playing just 1059 minutes - and moved to fellow league team Getafe B in January 2013. Once again, he was back in the Tercera. And once again, he bounced back - scoring nine goals with Novelda in the 2013-14 season and earning a move to Segunda B side Eldens

When Rayo destroyed the career of a Israeli footballer #clickbait (27th October, 2017)

You might be wondering why there is a #clickbait in the title. Well, titles are supposed to intrigue but not mislead, and sometimes it is hard to know where the line lies. I don't know where that line is - what I do know is that I'm definitely not far from it today.... His name is Rayo. Rubén Rayos, to be exact. He is an attacking midfielder who can play on the wing, with a left* foot capable of powerful shots, creating chances, scoring free-kicks and penalties, dribbling past players with ease, and even crossing. What he is not is particularly quick, or defensively astute. Rafi Dahan found out in March 2014. Rayo was playing for Maccabi Haifa, and Dahan was playing for Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv. As Rayo slid in and took Rafi out, both his soles crashing into Rafi's right leg, the brutality of the tackle was clear. An infamous image - Rubén Rayos sliding into Rafi Dahan Rayo knew what he had done was wrong. He didn't protest the red card - the first ever in

Ernesto Galán - when Catalan clubs gave a Madrid-based defender a shot (26th October, 2017)

Last season, I repeatedly sung the praises of Ernesto Galán. He is a former center-back and current right-back - quick, defensively excellent and surprisingly adept going forward and covering for players. However, and quite surprisingly, I never actually wrote about him - his career and his story. Which is a shame, but better late than never I guess. Here it is. Ernesto Galán was struggling. His youth career had started with Villaviciosa de Odón releasing him and ended with Getafe releasing him too. His senior career had started with Segunda B side Móstoles in the 2005-06 season, playing 32 games under four different managers, but the team was relegated. Having played in Madrid all his life, and with his career in jeopardy, the decision to leave was a huge gamble. But he did - in 2006 he signed for Lleida. It was a risk - and it certainly felt like one at the beginning. Felipe Miñambres gave him just three league games in six months, and he had to pack his bags once again for a

La perspectiva de Albacete - with Ángel Galdón Rodrígu (25th October, 2017)

Ángel Galdón Rodrígu is part of Clockwork Cheese, an Albacete Balompié UK Supporters Club. You can follow them, and talk to fans, on Facebook - - and on Twitter - @clockworkcheese . A bit about yourself and your background I have a complicated background really. I grew up in Seville. My dad’s from a village in the Albacete region, and my mum is from Seville. They met in Madrid, where I was born. Nowadays, after living in the UK in my twenties, I am a lecturer at University in Albacete. My wife is from near Manchester and she has a popular English academy in Albacete with some other partners. How long have you been a fan of Albacete and what made you support them in the first place? Since I’ve been living here and there for so long, I am only a member since 2003. The reason to support them was simple - it came at a time when Barcelona and Madrid were basically the only football on the media agenda. Remember the time of the Galácticos ? Why would

My first interview! On Juan Quero, with the website dedicated to his former club Chonburi FC (24th October, 2017)

If you remember, I recently wrote an article on Juan Quero - a former Rayo player and current Fuenlabrada player. But he is also a globetrotter, or trotamundos  as the Spanish say, having played in Malta, Thailand, India, the UAE and Bolivia. Since Juan Quero played for Chonburi FC, the English-language website dedicated to the Thai club got in touch with me to ask a few questions about this blog, and my thoughts on Juan Quero. This is the first time I've been interviewed, but I thoroughly enjoyed it....and I hope you enjoy it too! You can find it here .

La perspectiva de Girona - with Ivan Quirós (23rd October, 2017)

Ivan Quirós is a member of the Penya Jandrista GFC, currently the official penya of Girona FC with the most members (250). You can follow Ivan on Twitter here: @QuirosRuiz , and you can check out the penya on and on Twitter here: @Losjandristas . A bit about yourself and your background Hello, I'm Ivan Quirós, former president and co-founder of Penya Jandrista GFC. I sit in the Gol Sud , in the area below the electronic scoreboard of the stadium, with my friends. How long have you been a fan of Girona and what made you support them in the first place? I've been a Girona FC fan since I was very young (6-7 years). In the late 80's-early 90's, I was with my father to see them, when the team was in the Segunda B. I didn't return to the stadium until the 2006-07 season, coinciding with the team's promotion to the Segunda. I'm a Girona FC fan because it's the team of my city. Describe your first experience of watching Giro

Sunday Snippets: Marius Stankevičius - the Lithuanian Rory Delap. And the record that lasted 45 minutes (22nd October, 2017)

Sometimes, I have thoughts and snippets that don't always deserve a full article, but also don't deserve to go into the heap. In other words, welcome to my drafts folder. Watch out for this type of article occasionally - on Sundays (Sunday Snippets) and Thursdays (Thursday Thoughts). The secret to long throws, their power (up to 60 kilometers per hour), and the distance traveled (up to 38 meters), is the technique. The explosive force that makes the long throw successful comes from the the shoulders and lower back. The release angle never exceeds 20 degrees, so that the ball increases its velocity and does not dip quickly - otherwise it can be easily cleared. They called him the catapult. No, not Morten Gamst Pedersen of Blackburn, or Rory Delap of Stoke City - even if they had the same technique. No, they say that about Marius Stankevičius - a former Sevilla, Valencia and Córdoba defender, currently seeing out his career in amateur football in Italy with AC Crema 19

The brains of the Blanquiverdes (Part 2): Javi Lara - back where he belongs (21st October, 2017)

Welcome back to the mini-series focusing on the technical players at Córdoba! This is part can read yesterday's piece - part 1 - here . Wow, two days in a row - that's a first! 24th August, 2014. It was Eibar's first ever goal in La Liga, in their first ever game in La Liga, their first La Liga Basque derby....their first of many. And it was a hell of a goal. In their own stadium, a player who was making his La Liga debut scored a free-kick from the tightest possible angle, just a few meters from the corner flag, just before half-time. The perfect kick of the ball to kick-start Eibar's dream season. The celebration by the 28-year-old said it all - not just the goal he had scored, but the struggle of being in that moment, in that stadium, in the top tier, in football at all, scoring a goal against a Europa league team. Exactly, four years before that goal, Javi Lara was without a team, having been released from yet another Segunda B side. By the

The brains of the Blanquiverdes (Part 1): Carlos Caballero - Loyalty, misfortune...and a Rayo mistake (20th October, 2017)

Welcome to a new mini-series - yes, the mini-series I love to start but always struggle to finish. This time, I'll try not to. This one focuses on the technical players at Córdoba, hence the name The brains of the Blanquiverdes . (I think that is why I do these mini-series - I like coming up with names like that.) Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it! In a market where clubs can rarely offer more than a season-long contract, where teams desperately fill their squads with loaned players and youth hopefuls, where players can risk being unemployed for long periods of time if they don't sign whatever is on the table, a player's loyalty depends more on the club than the player themselves. Loyalty is rare. But Carlos Caballero Pérez is a rare kind of player. Not technically - just like many midfielders in Spain, he is a brilliant passer of the ball, creates chances out of nothing and is adept at free-kicks. And many teams noticed him from an early age. One of them, unfo

From Catalonia to Heybridge - the story of an eighth division club (19th October, 2017)

After spending his whole life at UDA Gramenet and a season at Europa, Guillem Ramón moved to Terrassa in the summer of 2014. It was just another Catalan player transferring between two clubs in the Catalan regional leagues - nothing extraordinary. But it was consequential. In March 2015, in a match against Sabadell, the full back suffered a complete meniscal rupture, and his season was over. So was his contract - and a big chunk of the 2015-16 season as well. He ended up signing for Cerdanyola, without pay (as he was recuperating), and the doctors said that January would be his return time. However, he debuted in November. In hindsight, it was a mistake. After two games, in a training session, on November 25th he got injured again - this time in the quadriceps in the same leg. After two months of recuperation, and still no guarantee of pay, Guillem left for new pastures in February 2016. A trial at Coplestonians FC followed; so did an opportunity at Needham Market FC, in the se

The Rayo aficionado - with Elizabeth Carr-Ellis (18th October, 2017)

When I sent Elizabeth the questions via email, she responded: "Good grief. Are you doing a PhD in Rayo fans?" Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new subtitle of the Rayo aficionado project. She is @LizzieCarrEllis on Twitter - give her a follow! A bit about yourself and your background I’m a journalist living and working in south-east England, but I’m originally from Newcastle. I lived eight years in Scotland, where I supported Hibs (Hibernian), and then eight years in Madrid. How long have you been a fan of Rayo and what made you support them in the first place? I thought I’d be an Atléti fan at first but they never grabbed me. My husband was reading up about Rayo and we both really liked the ethos: anti-fascista, etc. and the strong sense of community. Plus the tickets were affordable - and you could get them - and one day we just really wanted to see a live football game so we went, we won and that was it. Describe your first visit ever to Vallecas and the sta

La perspectiva de Fuenlabrada - with Ivan Cruz (17th October, 2017)

Ivan Cruz is a Fuenlabrada fan, and is @CampoAtras on Twitter - give him a follow! A bit about yourself and your background I consider myself a familiar person and lover of football (I play in the Liga municipal de fútbol 7 for Alcalá de Henares), and also of basketball. My favorite teams in these 2 sports are C.F Fuenlabrada and Montakit Fuenlabrada. How long have you been a fan of Fuenlabrada and what made you support them in the first place? I have been a fan of C.F Fuenlabrada for 20 years. Why? When I was 15, on the radio, they gave tickets to those under 18 years old to see C.F Fuenlabrada. Coupled with my unhealthy fondness for football, it led me to have great feelings and a great liking for this team. Describe your first experience of watching Fuenlabrada play? As I said before, my fan-hood began with those free tickets that they gave us under-18s on the local radio, and one day my friends and I, we decided to watch the team of our municipality for the first

The Rayo Report: Reus Deportiu 0-2 Rayo Vallecano - Exemplary Embarba and a Daring Deportiu (16th October, 2017)

Edit: in the pictures below I have mixed up former Llagostera player Tito with current Llagostera player Pitu.  Apologies for that. Mixing up two (admittedly very similar) players is a first for this blog. Hopefully it will be the last too. Reus Deportiu vs Rayo Vallecano. Starting lineups. Míchel and Aritz López Garai both made major changes to their squad from their previous games - a 1-0 win against Almería and a 1-1 draw at Huesca respectively. This was understandable, given that for Rayo and Reus this was their third game in eight and nine days respectively. Rayo's defense was completely reshuffled. Right to left, Baiano, Emiliano Velázquez, José Antonio Dorado and Sergio Akieme became Baiano, Antonio Amaya, Abdoulaye Ba and Álex Moreno - that's three changes. Moreover, in midfield, Francisco Cerro replaced Unai López for his first start in a Rayo shirt, or indeed in Spanish football. There was also a fifth change that Míchel was forced to make after the starti