Monday, December 7, 2015

The grain of salt came from the Cup final. It was exceptional final: on their famous stadium, Real Madird A met Real Madrid B. Real Madird vs Castilla CF. An unique event, but also questionable. The second teams of the clubs were not allowed to play in the same league with the A teams, but were permitted to play in the Cup tournament. Apparently, nobody envisioned the possibility of two sides of the one club to compete for the cup – or, if somebody did when the rule was established in the past, it was believed that honorable sportsmanship will prevail. But nobody seriously thought such a final possible – and when the impossible happened, the spirit of the time was very different. In 1980 such a final looked like a scam – nobody believed the B team will even try to oppose the A team. There was no question not only who the winner will be, but even what colours the finalists will use: the B team without any fuss will dress in the reserve kit. There was no point to play the final at all. The other clubs surely pointed a finger and complained – and soon enough the rule was changed. Which provided further unique historic point: a second division finalist, two teams of the same club at the final. Never to be repeated anywhere. The final ended as expected: Real Madrid won 6-1 and enjoyed a double. The critics point was confirmed by the result. On the pitch, the final was seemingly fair – at least judging by the vicious tackles delivered by the Castilla's defenders. But they often missed the ankles... and no matter how they tried, Castilla looked obviously weak, not even close to Real. Which is technically understandable – a mid-table second division team, no matter how enthusiastic, would be weaker than mighty club like Real. As a second team of same Real, it stands to reason that there is huge gap between the stars and mostly promising, but not good enough for the first team players. The most Castilla could do would be on individual level: youngsters trying hard to impress the coaching stuff of the A team, yet, careful not to prevent the stars from winning. Tackle, but miss. Kick the ball a bit off-target. Run energetically, but misread a bit the game flow. Make an interesting, but not dangerous pass. Try to impress, but make sure to lose. A difficult task really, for first and formost Castilla had to lose – and impress in the same time. A lot of running was done as a result.
And all ended cheerfully – there was no loser: both teams smiling with the cup, all winners, for all are Real Madrid players. Precisely the picture all other clubs and their fans hated to see: the end of competitive football, a scam. But unique one nevertheless.
Losers before the match was even started, yet, this is the squad which achieved the biggest success in the history of Castilla CF. It may be a B team of Real, but still has its own bit of history – and this final stands as the highest, never to be repeated again, point. And because Real won the title as well, Castilla was going to play international football too – in the next Cup Winners Cup. Which presented one more amusing possibility: imagine Real eliminated in the European Champions Cup, but Castilla running strong and winning the Cup Winners Cup? Theoretically, possible... the second team with European trophy and the A empty-handed. And from possibility, all kind of suspect activities were easily imagined too: such as Real giving players to Castilla mid-season to ensure they win in Europe. Apart from dark speculations, let see who was on the field for Castilla: Agustin, Gallego, and Pineda. Familiar as Real Madrid players a few years later. The captian Javier Castaneda did not make the first team, but had a good career – after the final he went to play 11 years for Osasuna. Hardly a star... as a whole, this Castilla vintage gave little to big brother...
Which enjoyed a double and therefore was happy.
Unlike the championship, winning the Cup was never a question. Standing from left: Garcia Remon, Stielike, Cunnigham, Benito, San Jose, Pirri, Camacho.
Crouching: Juanito, Del Bosque, Angel, Santillana.
One more trophy and perhaps Cunningham was the happiest of them all, for he started his career in Madrid with a double – his first titles. And, as it turned out, no star had to fear ambitious youngsters from the B team – nobody was invited to take the place of established player after the final.
At the end, the front picture in AS Color sums this final best.