Skip to main content

Hinchas y Jugadores - Rayo Vallecano with Paul Reidy (18th May, 2017)

Follow Paul Reidy on Twitter here and on Instagram here.

How long have you been a fan of Rayo and what made you support them in the first place?

I discovered Rayo on my first ever trip to Madrid in 1993 and was introduced to the club by a friend living in the capital at that time. He mentioned the idiosyncrasy of the club, the neighborhood and the
political aspect that surrounds the club. I went to my first game the following season and remember being pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the fans who were somewhat bemused to see a foreign supporter make the journey to Vallekas, as at that point in time the club had close to zero in terms of international profile. On regular trips to Madrid I would also ensure that the weekend flight worked around Rayo home fixtures.

I later moved to Madrid in 2003 and one of the first tasks upon arriving in Madrid was securing a Rayo season ticket. My arrival coincided with relegation from the top flight and another subsequent relation to 2B. I attend most home games now and also try and take in some away matches.

Given the transfer windows and the squad that was assembled at the start of the season, is Rayo where you want it to be?

No, far from it... With the club retaining the bulk of the squad from last season (and having the highest wage bill in the second tier) the view among fans and observers was that Rayo would bounce back at the first time of asking. Sadly, things didn't go to plan and at one point we were rock bottom of the second and it seemed more likely another relegation was on the cards rather than the original dream of promotion. José Ramón Sandoval and Rubén Baraja both coached the side with poor results and not until Rayo legend Míchel's appointment have the team responded. A season we all want to end as soon as possible and start to plan the following campaign.

Of the signings made this season, which one worked out the best/had the most impact and why?

I'd argue that goalkeeper Gazzaniga has been one of the best acquisitions, with the keeper growing as the season has unfolded. Recent performances (UCAM Murcia and Girona away games, in particular) have seen him almost singlehandedly secure two vital wins for the club.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of Rayo this season? Any standout players?

The weaknesses have been easier to identify rather than the strengths.... The main issue was the assumption from the bulk of the squad that an immediate return to too flight football would be a stroll and that we'd waltz back to LaLiga without having to break a sweat. Obviously that has certainly not been the case and the second tier of the Spanish game is a more dogged affair with less flair and a need for a solid work ethic. At too many points, certainly in the first part of the campaign , too many players looked like they just weren't bothered and internal skirmishes between players certainly were no help in creating a solid team spirit.

List some things you appreciate and some things you can’t stand about the club management.

There are so many, I could be genuinely be here all night.....Oklahoma OKC, Rayo Femenino, Youth system, Los 17, Fan arrests, Disengagement with own fans, state of the stadium, lying about match attendance, bandwagoneering on Rayo's social values, abject social media platforms (only club in Spanish top 2 flights with no Facebook profile), refusing to listen to the fans....

What has the mood among the fans been during the campaign? Do you generally agree/disagree with them?

Frustration is probably the definitive word to describe our feeling this year. We've seen how a squad that has all the attributions as talented individuals failed to gel as a collective in the quest for a first time return to the top flight with a questionable attitude being displayed on far too many occasion.

Are there any talented youngsters at the club that you expect to have a big future?

The two who stand out are undoubtedly Fran Beltrán and I'd also add Pablo Clavería. Both players have been used in the first team this season with Beltrán defying his youth, stepped up to the plate and securing a regular place in the starting XI with some fine midfield displays. The 18 year old player has just had a contract extension to fend off would be suitors which will see him wear "La Franja" through to 2020.

If you could make one realistic signing for Rayo this summer who would it be?

We need an out and out goalscorer ...maybe Ángel Rodríguez from Zaragoza or the likes of Miguel Linares from Oviedo....

Finally, predicted finish for Rayo?

We've looked accomplished under Míchel and should have enough in the tank to have a last 2/3 fixtures without having to look over our shoulder.


Popular posts from this blog

Ismael Urzaiz and Salamanca. A 22 team La Liga. Trust and Víctor Casadesús (9th June, 2017)

Salamanca traveled to Albacete to compete for promotion to La Liga with an impossible task on their hands. They had to overturn a 2-0 deficit away from home, against a side that entered La Liga's relegation playoff spots on the final day, and who had scored 44 goals in the league - just four less than Salamanca themselves. As the clock ticked towards the 90th minute, Salamanca were winning 1-0 yet in danger of losing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Born in Tudela, Navarre, Urzaiz began his professional career at Real Madrid's B-side, making his debut in Segunda División in 1989. Despite being a successful youth international, he did not make any La Liga appearances for the first team (however, he did play one game against Odense BK, in the 1990–91 European Cup). Urzaiz spent the 1991–92 season on loan at Albacete Balompié, making his top flight debut when he came on as a substitute against Athletic Bilbao in October 1991. In early 1993, he was loaned to Celta de Vigo

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 trave

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 suburb