Skip to main content

The "other" Las Palmas: The sudden end of a fairy tale story (Part 2) (2nd November, 2017)

Two days back, I wrote a piece titled The "other" Las Palmas: 5 promotions in 6 seasons - Universidad de Las Palmas (Part 1).

This is part 2 - and the final part.



With a similar squad compared to the year before, along with players like Alexis Trujillo, Alberto Hernández, José Luis Padrón and Óscar Luis Celada, David Amaral led the team, for the second year in a row, to the promotion playoffs. They also won the Segunda B, and the Segunda B playoffs, reaching professional football within six years of being founded as a club. They became the third Canarian team to reach a professional league, after Las Palmas and Tenerife. The celebration was held at the Fuente Luminosa in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Now, there was another team in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, challenging for local supremacy, and creating a new rivalry. For some, it was a sign that football in Gran Canaria had advanced significantly.

For others, it was a ruffle of feathers...

Las Palmas and Universidad de Las Palmas - the tussle.

The promotion to the second division was a dream come true, but it also had its drawbacks. The fact that the Campus de Tafira was artificial turf forced the university to move. That, combined with the fact that Las Palmas refused to share the Estadio Insular, meant that Universidad de Las Palmas had to reach an agreement with the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana to play in the Estadio municipal de Maspalomas.

The remoteness, the bad condition of the turf and the difficulty of the new league hindered the team massively. They only scored their first goal of the season in the sixth jornada, a goal scored by Marcos Sequeiros, and their first victory came in the tenth jornada, against Atlético de Madrid. That, combined with a change in management (Carlos Sánchez Aguiar taking over from David Amaral), meant that relegation was inevitable.

What followed was the story of every newly relegated Segunda B team.

In the 2001-02 season, only three players would continue in the team after the descent. Therefore, President Alfredo Morales decided to merge with Las Palmas, and become its B team. Juan Antonio Quintana Nieves was the coach, and the team continued playing in Maspalomas. And despite qualifying for the promotion playoffs, the team could not play in them being a reserve team - 5th place Getafe took their place and ended up going up.

In the 2002-03 season, given Las Palmas' descent, the club negotiated and separated from Las Palmas. With the club nearing disappearance, Francisco José Gómez Cáceres took the presidency and moved the team back to the capital, playing in the Estadio Juan Guedes, in the Tamaraceite barrio. Miraculously, they ended up winning their group and played the playoffs but lost out to Cádiz.

The next few seasons were promotion playoffs galore - Universidad de Las Palmas contested three consecutive promotion playoffs between 2004-07 but fell at the first round every time. Paco Castellano and Tino Luis Cabrera were the coaches that got it. But those seasons were also characterized by the number of stadium changes. They played temporarily at the Estadio Insular and, until the 2006-07 season, played in the Estadio Alfonso Silva. Since the 2007-08 season, they played at the Estadio Pepe Gonçalvez, also in the capital.

That season, and the next, finished with Universidad de Las Palmas in mid-table. And after a 2009-10 season that finished in 4th place, and a promotion playoff campaign that ended in the second round, what followed was the greatest season in the history of the club.

Sadly, it was also their last.

An abrupt ending

The 2010-11 season became historic due to a Copa del Rey draw.

The side were drawn in the Round of 32 with Atlético de Madrid - at the time, the Europa League champions. It achieved the highest audience (13,161) in their history at their stadium. Well, not their stadium - Las Palmas lent them the Gran Canaria stadium. And even though they lost 5-0, the return leg saw them achieve a historic 1-1 draw at the Vicente Calderón.

Everything was going well. In March 2011, the team even registered Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor who was involved in both Operation Puerto and Operation Greyhound against sports doping. His duties involved being medical chief and team adviser in nutritional aspects and physical preparation.

Or so it seemed.

On the 7th of July, 2011, the club confirmed its dissolution as a football club after their relegation to the Tercera for unpaid debts to the Association of Spanish Footballers. They unable to pay off the 2 million euro debt they owed, by which time their sources of income had blocked.

At present, the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria CF only continues to exist in the Veterans league, where it competes in the Primera and is one of the best teams in the Island. They keep the equipment and the shield of the club.

The club that took just six seasons to become professional. The club that defied every expectation at every turn. The club that ruffled feathers with the establishment club...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Non-league Incider: Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 East Thurrock United

When I was more young and foolish I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't visit a football stadium until I visited Vallekas. Frustrated by my inability to plan a trip, I broke that promise by watching a game in the sixth tier of English football.

This is that game. This is my story.

If I've learnt anything, it's this: never make promises to yourself. Promises to yourself are like bonds to an imaginary world - they're not attached to anything. Instead, they only serve to frustrate you, and sometimes those around you.

In 2016, I remember being outside Wembley and not going inside for a stadium tour. In 2014, I remember giving up the opportunity to watch Real Madrid play AC Milan in Dubai. For a year the stadiums of Chelsea and Fulham were on the same street as mine. For three years, every time my friend said he was going to watch Leyton Orient, every time my brother talked about his love for Arsenal, every time I looked at a map of London and saw how close I was to the …

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 …