Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Going north to Mexico. The mixture of European and American regulations makes difficult long-term following of the country's championships,especially the Second Division ones: too many changes too often. Since the clubs were franchises, they moved from place to place, changing their names as well. This season the teams reaching the final of the Second Division championship were Osos Grises and Atletas Campesinos. Neither name makes sense today. Osos Grises was not even the real name of the club – it was Club Deportivo del Estedo de Mexico, founded in 1976 in the city of Toluca. Young club, surely, and seemingly not just a former club moved to Toluca. They climbed rapidly from the lower levels of Mexican football to the Second Division, aiming even higher. As for the name, they were quickly nicknamed 'Osos Grises', because of their gray jerseys. The nickname stuck and practically replaced the real name even in official records. In the first leg of the final the new club seemed ready to go further – they managed a 0-0 tie away and needed only a small victory at home. Easy... but it was not: Atletas Campesinos won in Toluca – 2-1 – and became not only champion of Second Division, but, more importantly, promoted to top level.
Osos Grises reached their highest success in their, as it turned out, very brief history: the club disappeared soon after that final. Only one club was promoted to First Division and naturally it was the champions of Second Division: Atletas Campesinos were the lucky guys.
The club hailed from Queretaro, but it was neither new one, nor the first team representing the city. Yet, it was... for it was found in 1977. At that time a businessman, named Armando Presa, bought two local clubs – Estudiantes and Gallos Blancos (the White Roosters) – and amalgamated them into a club freshly named Atletas Campesinos. So, the birthdate of the club is 1977 and thus its climb to the top level of Mexican football was even quicker than the similar one of Osos Grises. But... at least Gallos Blancos was older club and a franchisee: to a point, Atletas Campesinos ride on the back of the Gallos Blancos franchise. Which at the end affects the later story of the club founded in 1977 – it had short existence, but not a final date. Eventually, as a franchise, it moved to another city under new name. Eventually, Gallos Blancos re-emerged and went through its newer transitions. Let it be like that: the club died as a club, but remained as a franchise. There was even one more problem: the logo. The tractor was seen as an hidden advertisement, prohibited by the rules of the Mexican Federation, although the picture does not represent neither manufacturer, nor model. In the later transformations of the club the colours were restored, at least for awhile, but the logo had to go. In 1979-80 problems did not cloud the horizon yet – it was happy time: the club won promotion and became popular, for it suddenly gave the city of Queretaro a first division team. People loved it – the reason that the club has something of a cult status today: people fondly remember the name.
Champions of Second Division – after stumbling at home, Atletas Campesinos won 2-1 away and got promoted. Sky was the limit – so far, money were not a problem and the success was due to a coach with a famous name.  
None other but Antonio Carbajal lead Atletas Campesinos to victory – the man, whose record 5 World Cup finals was matched only by the end of the 20th century, but remains unbeaten. Unfortunately, winning Second Division was the best achievement – soon financial troubles emerged and although a great star was added to the team in 1981, Atletas Campesinos suffered in First Division – and in 1982 there was no more such club: the franchise was sold. Nothing terrible was detected in 1980, though: it was fantastic season of 3-years old club.