Sunday, June 26, 2016
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Spain had a reason to celebrate – this was the 50th season of La Liga. There was also a reason to worry – the next World Cup was coming and Spain was hosting it. On one hand – preparation was increasingly criticized. On the other – Spain had to win at last, but the changes in Spanish football were not very optimistic. On top of everything Italy opened its market for foreign players and it was no longer sure that Spanish clubs could get the top players. At the end the country finished the season with surprise winner, which was positive change only to a point. But let start from the lower echelons of Spanish football – Segunda Division B. This was the third level, established not long ago – this season was the 4th of the 40-team strong league, divided into Group A and Group B geographically. The first and second teams in each group were promoted to Segunda Division and the bottom three teams of each group were relegated to 4th level – Tercera Division. Away from the spotlights various clubs played in Segunda B: some faded old clubs, like Real Jaen, Racing de Ferrol, Gimnastic Tarragona. Some second teams of big clubs – Barcelona Atletico, Las Palmas Atletico, Bilbao Athletic. Some clubs, which eventually became better known in the future, but so far played in the lower leagues – Tenerife, Logrones, Lleida, Badajoz, Compostela. The rest was small fry, merely exotic to the foreign eye. The losers this season were all of this kind – Pontevedra, UP Langreo, and Gimnastica Arandina were relegated from Group A, and Merida Industrial, CD Diter Zafra, and CD Eldense – from Group B. As for the winners, they were of the kind eventually becoming better known in the future: two teams dominated Group A and two teams – Group B. It was not really a big race for promotion. Celta (Vigo) won Group A with 58 points. They lost only 3 games during the season. Standing from left: Capo, Andrés, Jorge Santomé, Mori, Cambeiro, Ademir. Crouching: Gómez, Suárez, Miguel Ángel, Emilio, Del Cura. Third division clubs are never expected to have stars in their squads, but Celta had one: Ademir, a Brazilian striker, with impressive career so far – Ademir came to Europe very young to play in Portugal for Olhanense in 1972. In 1974 he crossed the Atlantic ocean to play in NASL for Toronto Metros and returned to Europe the next year, joining FC Porto. Three years later Celta got him from the up and coming Portuguese club. Ademir played 5 years for Celta – from 1978 to 1983.
Deportivo La Coruna finished 2nd with 56 points and without trouble – Bilbao Athletic, the B team of Athletic Bilbao, was very distant 3rd with 46 points. Standing from left: Albino, Jorge, Ballesta, José Luis, Pardo I, Piña. First row: Alfredo, Traba, Muñoz, Silvi, Castro. Good for them, but Deportivo was still a decade away from becoming known. Group B was absolutely the same as Group A – two teams dominated the league, comfortably finishing with promotions.
RCD Mallorca won the league with 54 points. Good for the ego, for otherwise it did not matter at all. Standing from left: Ferrer, Iriarte, Braulio, Riado, Ferrer Piña, Gallardo. First row: Collantes, Sauquillo, Nadal, Orellana, Bonet. Mallorca had not one, but three foreigners this season – two Yugoslavians – Peles, a midfielder, and Miodrag Kustudic, a striker. The third foreigner was also a striker – an Argentine, who arrived from Newell's Old Boys – Rolando Barrera. Kustudic was the most famous with his 3 caps for Yugoslavia, but this was his last season in Spain, where he arrived in 1978 to play for Hercules (Alicante).
Cordoba finished second, losing the title by a point, but leaving 3rd placed Barcelona Atletico (the B team of Barcelona) 8 points behind. Up and down club, quite unstable, which was trying to elevate itself once again. So far, so good, but instability is almost written on their photo: three different kinds of jerseys!