Skip to main content

The Amaya dynasty: Antonio Amaya - the end of an era? Part 1 (8th October, 2017)

On a small football field in Madrid, Alfredo Di Stefano stepped on for a veterans match. He was retiring, and this was his sendoff.

Used to large crowds and noisy football stadiums, he probably was thinking - where am I?

Spain's districts are divided into neighborhoods, or barrios. South west to Puente de Vallecas is the working class district of Villaverde, where a small barrio of about 18,000 inhabitants resides. It has historically been isolated, from the north and east by the railroad, to the south by the old Army Car Park and to the west by the old highway to Andalusia (A-4).

40% of the population is made up of immigrants - in the 1960s, immigrants from Extremadura, Andalucía, Murcia and Castilla La Mancha came in hoards, looking for a way to escape the poverty of their towns.

On Rocafort street, a small football field is home to CD San Cristóbal de los Angeles - one of the most prestigious youth academies in Madrid. The academy that produced Raúl of Real Madrid, and Carlos Aguilera Martín and Julián Romero Nieto of Atlético Madrid. And many, many more*.

And Antonio Amaya.

Mind you, this was not the best neighborhood to build a future: Antonio once joked about it: "We played less play football ... what you could learn was how to take a wallet". But it is that fighting spirit that has served Antonio Amaya well...

Born in the capital of Madrid, Amaya began his career at local San Cristóbal de los Ángeles. He joined another team in the community, Rayo Vallecano, in 2002, also serving a six-month loan spell at lowly UD San Sebastián de los Reyes in Segunda División B.

Eventually, Amaya returned to Rayo, becoming an important defensive unit for the side which returned to the Segunda at the end of the 2007-08 season and comfortably maintained their league status the following campaign, with the player appearing in less than half of the games (18 out of 42).

Partly due to his deteriorating relationship with Pepe Mel, Amaya signed for Premier League club Wigan Athletic on a three-year contract on 14 August 2009, being joined by Rayo teammate Mohamed Diamé a week later. While Mohamed was sold for 3 million euros, Amaya was sold for just 800,000 euros - an indicator of how cash-strapped Rayo were. But after failing to make a single league appearance in 2009-10, Amaya returned to former club Rayo in a season-long loan. He was regularly used as the club returned to La Liga.

He would go on to sign for Real Betis for 1.28 million euros on a three year contract, and after his contract was up was back where he belonged.

And he certainly belonged. The fans loved him and he loved the club - he would even go on to play two games with a broken toe. It reminds me of his older brother, Iván Amaya, who once played with broken ribs while at Granada...more in part 2...



*Including Amaya's cousin and brother, Yuma and Iván Amaya respectively, and Rida Arkine of Leganés

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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 suburbs. The stations be…

Non-league Incider: St Helens Town 3-0 Atherton Laburnum Rovers

Last game: 8th August: Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 East Thurrock United

The previous day, I was blown away by my first ever football match experience. Dulwich Hamlet impressed me, but what impressed me more was the journey. The travel to the stadium was just as enjoyable as the football itself.

I had caught the groundhopping bug.

There were no games scheduled for the 9th of August. There was one, near Wigan, and all I had booked earlier was a refundable bus ticket from Manchester Airport leaving at quarter past midnight.

I should have refunded it. This was a mistake. This whole day was a mistake.

I was only slightly hungover from the previous night, but that was nothing compared to this feeling of loss - I couldn't handle the fact that there was a game happening. And I wasn't too far away. Just three hours and a bit. They'll fly by, I thought.

I was in autopilot. Something within me made me get up, grab a bag, and get out the door. This wasn't me. I wasn't travelling - I was …

Jaime Mata - the one that got away (18th January, 2018)

A few months ago, Rayo fans woke up to this:
CONVOCATORIA| 📋 Lista de 1️⃣9️⃣ jugadores para el debut mañana en la #CopaDelRey🏆 #NumanciaMálaga⚽️ #VamosMálaga💙 👉 https://t.co/hlScwtJkhYpic.twitter.com/qFGrdvOnrQ — Málaga CF (@MalagaCF) October 23, 2017
That was a bittersweet moment - pride for a Rayista who was going to succeed at Málaga, but bitterness at the club for letting him go for free and not tying him down early enough.

Midfielder Pablo Clavería slipped through the cracks. He wasn't renewed, and got tired of waiting - a depressingly normal situation for a smaller, cash-strapped club.

This is the story of another player who slipped through.

Like Pablo, he has a powerful shot on him. Unlike Pablo, it's key to his job. The striker made his name in his hometown of Madrid in the Tercera, after rising through the ranks of Galáctico Pegaso. He would play for the reserves in 2007, before playing for the senior team during the 2008-09 campaign.

During the 2009-10 campaign, ec…