Skip to main content

Tariq Spezie - a unique story, a Spanish dream (16th January, 2017)

His story is not unique. It is a story of a family fleeing violence, settling in a foreign land and making a name for themselves through hard work.

It's the story of a striker named Tariq Spezie. It's a story that interested me because his brothers (Omar and Nura) were born in Dubai, a city I've lived in. And he was born in Sharjah, merely an hour away from Dubai.

His Italian father from Verona (who worked in a tire company) and Spanish mother from La Mancha - which explains his last name Sevilla - saw the political situation in the region worsen. It eventually led to the Iran-Iraq War, and the family relocated to Italy with their one-year infant, and later to Spain.

Tariq played youth football in modest clubs in Catalonia, such as Racing Blanenc and Vilobí, and supplemented his fluent Italian with Castilian and Catalan. However, he moved to Valladolid due to a family relocation, and made his senior debut with Real Valladolid B at the age of 19. He would compete the 1999-00 season in the Segunda B and the next one in the Tercera with the club, scoring a combined 22 goals. He would play for another reserve team during the 2001-02 campaign, as he helped Espanyol B finish second in the Segunda B.

Tariq spent the following eight-and-a-half years in the Segunda B, with Cacereño (2002-03), Linares (2003), Palencia (2004), Sabadell (2004-05), Águilas (2005-08), Puertollano (2008-09) and Granada (2009-January 2011). In the 2008-09 season he scored a career-best 24 goals, and his achievements, then and in the past, were getting recognized. The time he scored one of the quickest goals in Spanish football - within seven seconds - while at Palencia. The time he became the Segunda B's top scorer with Puertollano. The time he played a charity match in Morocco along Ronaldo and Zidane - and shone despite not having the limelight on him.

His performances earned him a a move to Udinese (being immediately loaned to Granada) for 100,000 euros. He would add 19 goals for Granada in the 2009-10 campaign, which led to promotion. However, some at Granada were trying to get rid of him, not convinced he could deliver in the Segunda (a division he had not played in), and were trying to swap him with Alejandro "Chando" Torres in the summer of 2010. Nevertheless, no such move materialized, and Tariq was simply frozen out of the team in favor of new signingAlexandre Geijo.

Tariq Spezie


After just 147 minutes of action across six appearances in as many months he was loaned to Segunda side Huesca in January 2011 via Udinese. Eight goals in 18 appearances ensured the side would retain their league status, and moved to Huesca permanently in the summer of 2011. He would stay there until 2014, enduring a relegation to the Segunda B in 2013. Afterwards, he joined Segunda B side Huracán Valencia in July 2014; however, following his team's disqualification for financial issues in December 2015, he dropped down a league to sign for neighboring Castellón in January 2016. He retired in August of the same year.

He was the perfect mix between explosiveness and intelligently timed and disguised runs. But more importantly, he was the perfect representation of the opportunities available to those who seek them.

He was the perfect story to capture a footballing dream. And maybe there is more of that story to unfold.

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…

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…

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 …