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

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…

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 t…