Skip to main content

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 seventh tier of English football. However, after playing just seven games, he dropped down a division, signing for Heybridge Swifts FC last summer.

But why am I sharing this with you?

Guillem Ramón for Heybridge


This summer, Guillem Ramón suggested a week’s training course for a number of Spanish players to coach Jody Brown, a suggestion he agreed to. The England The Chance initiative, saw a group of 22 players from Spain, Andorra and Argentina spend a week with the club between July 2-9, and receive coaching from Jody and Glenn Little.

Forwards Joan Luque, 25, and Toni Paredes, 17, midfielders Galo Jacomy, 18, and Elías Siligato, 26, defender Pablo Pena, 19, and goalkeeper Alex Luque, 19, all got game time in a pre-season friendly at Basildon United on July 8.

In fact, both Luque - who actually played alongside Guillem at Gramenet - and Siligato continued to train with the squad, and are now first team players.

We are now in a situation where a trio of Spanish players are playing for the Bostik North club, players whose friends and families all come to watch. Moreover, the club is getting serious interest from Catalonia, with people contacting the club on social media. With a number of the others training with other clubs in Essex, a Spanish community is being formed in the lower leagues of England.



In 2002, every club in Barcelona - Espanyol, Barcelona, ​​CF Damm, you name it - was vying for the signature of a 10-year-old.

After playing for San Pedro Lumen and UD Bon Pastor, at the age of 10, Joan Luque could choose which club in his hometown he wanted. He chose Barcelona - and Guillermo Amor personally told him that he was convinced that Luque could be a Barcelona player if he really wanted it.

Two years followed at Barcelona, followed by two years at Damm. From there, he played youth football at Gramanet, Europa and Cornellà; at the latter club, he played in the Copa del Rey Juvenil, where they eliminated Gimnàstic de Tarragona in the first round and beat Real Madrid in the first leg of the second round - a Real Madrid team consisting of Álvaro Morata, Pablo Sarabia and Dani Carvajal.

His first senior season was at Gramenet B, where he spent a year and scored 8 goals in the Primera Catalana, convincing the first team coach to play him in the Tercera - he scored 6 goals, and at the end of the season was selected by NIKE among the 100 best players of Catalonia to perform a challenge to represent Spain, a challenge he participated in along with Guillem but was not chosen for the next round.

Since then, he has played for numerous clubs - CF Montañesa, Vilassar de Mar, FC Santboià, and Sabadell B; with Sabadell B, he achieved promotion to the Tercera in 2014, and made his debut with the first team (at the time in the Segunda) in the Copa Catalunya against Espanyol, playing the last 10 minutes.

It led to an opportunity outside Catalonia - Sant Rafel in Ibiza signed him, where he stayed for two seasons, and that led to Joan moving even further away - this time to Llosetense, also in the Balearic Islands.

A season later, moving from Spain didn't seem like such a distant dream...



Elías Siligato played for three different juvenil teams - Rapid, Leganés and Alcorcón - before starting his senior career in the fifth tier with the latter club's B team in 2010.

His first experience in the Tercera came in 2012, when Sant Rafel signed him. He would stay there for four seasons, playing alongside Joan Luque in the final two, before dropping down a division to play for U.D. Ibiza-Eivissa.

It was Luque who told him about England the Chance.

And he took it.

Left: Joan Luque. Right: Elías Siligato

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hinchas y Jugadores - Gimnàstic with Marius Helgå (14th May, 2017)

Marius Helgå is a 40 year old Gimnàstic fan who lives in Oslo. He is originally from Mo i Rana, Norway (1000 km north from Oslo). He has two hobbies: "playing bass trombone and watching football." 

He runs the Twitter account @nasticnoruega for Gimnàstic fans in Norway. As if he wasn't hipster enough, he also supports Stålkameratene who are in the fifth level of Norwegian football. Not to mention Tromsø (Norwegian top level), Manchester United, Juventus and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Follow him on Twitter here.



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

I visited Tarragona on a trip to Spain in 2006, and immediately fell in love with the city. As I didn’t have a club I supported in Spain then, it was an easy choice to start supporting the club.

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

After a great 2015-16 season, I was really expecting more of Nàs…

Hinchas y Jugadores - An exclusive interview with Román Golobart (1st May, 2017)

When did you make the decision to pursue football and what motivated you to do so?

I never realized I took a decision, since a very young age I knew that would be my life so I took it for granted that I was going to become a footballer.

The motivation was nothing other than enjoying it a lot!

What were your initial thoughts when you were at Espanyol and Wigan became interested in you, and what motivated you to move to England?

Both moments were very satisfactory. I went to a summer camp that Espanyol organizes and after it I got a letter from the club. I was excited, willing to do it - I was nervous, but the kind of nervous that one gets when you know you have a nice challenge ahead.

With Wigan it was a call, but still a very similar reaction. The thing with Wigan was that even though I was bad in English class, I knew I would end up going to England to play football so I didn't bother paying attention as I knew I would learn it there. And so it happened.

Did you find it difficult t…