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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, was launched by judge Francisco José Gómez Cáceres.

The name with which they registered was Vegueta Universidad Club de Fútbol, in honor to the neighborhood of the capital city and the University created few years before. The team requested permission from UD Las Palmas to use the Barranco Seco field to play home matches in. Alejandro Morales took over the presidency of the club, while the technical direction was led by Rafael Torres - and a team was formed.

The team made its debut in a 3-0 loss against Arguineguín Atlético. Despite this defeat, the team improved and began to win matches. José Manuel León was hired as coach, and Luiso Saavedra and Javier Campos were signed.

The club ascended to the sixth tier, and soon to the fifth tier, and changed its name from Vegueta Universidad to Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Club de Fútbol. It also moved to the Campus de Tafira stadium (although while changing the artificial turf played in the field of Barrial, in Gáldar), established its first headquarters on Alonso Alvarado Street, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and saw a change in presidency, with Alejandro Morales taking over. The university ended the 1996-97 season with promotion to the Tercera.

Little by little, new players started coming in but the old ones never left the club. Julio Suárez became the second coach in the second year, and Gómez Cáceres became the vice-president. Guillermo O'Shanahan and Lucas Pérez left the first team to help the B team, which was created in 1998. And it was created because, by then, under Benito Morales and José Florido, Universidad de Las Palmas had achieved their fourth promotion in four seasons to the Segunda B, losing only four games in the process.

That 1998-99 season was historic. Not only did Universidad de Las Palmas play in the Segunda B for the first time ever, they played in the Copa del Rey for the first time ever too - losing to Compostela over 2 legs due to a 90th minute goal whilst playing away. Moreover, they came a remarkable second, qualifying for the promotion playoffs but securing just seven points from six games and even changing managers halfway through the playoffs, Álvaro Pérez being replaced by Julio Suárez. But it was historic for what was to come - it was the start of several legendary careers, either at the club or elsewhere, such as José Ojeda, Ismael Santana, Santi Lampón and Sergio Hernández...

Read more in part 2, about the fifth promotion and subsequent fall...



Alfonso Artabe

Striker Francisco Javier Artabe Erezcano was a Real Oviedo legend. His son, striker Francisco Javier Artabe Cabeza, was not. And neither was his son, central defender Alfonso Artabe Meca.

But at least Alfonso got to play for the club. Francisco Cabeza did not even get that opportunity...

Alfonso Artabe, born in Palma (Majorca), spent his career in Mallorca's youth system, but made his Spanish football debut at 19 for Ferriolense in the 2007-08 season - in the Tercera. A season later, he was at Universidad de Oviedo, in the same tier, where his performances earned him a move to Real Oviedo's Vetusta in 2009 in the fifth tier; however, impressive performances combined with the loss of Ander Larrea meant that Alfonso Artabe was given the no 23 shirt in the first team. And in February 2010, he made his first team debut, as well as his Segunda B debut.

Alfonso Artabe played for Real Oviedo till 2011, making a total of seven appearances over two seasons, and helping the B team get promoted to the Tercera in 2010 and finish in an impressive 8th place in 2011. His career in the Segunda B lasted another four seasons, playing for Manacor, Llagostera, Prat and Atlético Baleares, until he decided to move abroad.

Artabe (center), at Manacor


What followed, however, was the harsh reality of Spaniards playing abroad - months and months of unemployment and scarce opportunities.

At the age of 27, he moved to Belgium, playing for Sint-Truiden until being released in February 2016. In July of the same year he signed for Ermis Aradippou in Cyprus and played there for a season, before signing for HK Pegasus in Hong Kong. However, at the end of September, he rescinded his contract with the club, and has been a free agent ever since...


Alfonso Artabe at Sint-Truiden

Alfonso Artabe signing for Ermis


Alfonso Artabe signing for Hong Kong Pegasus

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