1.5. Spanish Omelette for Christmas?
Contents: an obscure 90’s legend, Los Vengadores (The Avengers), a dream debut for a 17 year old, comical free kick taking, Irish youth prospects and of course some festive Christmas cheer.
🎵 Suggested tune: “Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano“🎵
They say if you want to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs – that pretty much sums up the first few months of our first season at Los Chicharreros a.k.a. CD Tenerife. Our fantastic 6-1 win in the opening game of the Secunda Division was quickly forgotten about with a 0-1 defeat away to Gimnastic de Tarragona – a team from the Catalonia region predicted to finish 17th in the league at the start of the season. If I wasn’t already feeling the heat in Tenerife, I was feeling it now! While I would love to blame it on the fact that they had Luis Suarez playing for them (albeit a different Luis Suarez to the one we all know and loathe), it was a 91st minute goal that condemned us to an earlier-than-expected first defeat of the season.
On the topic of media predictions, I am conscious that we haven’t yet analysed any of our competition in this league – particularly looking at who we expect to be our main rivals in our quest for promotion to La Liga, so allow me to do an extremely brief overview of those that I expect to be challenging with come the end of the season:
Malaga CF – having just been relegated to Secunda Division after finishing bottom of La Liga last season IRL, Malaga are the odds on favourite to bounce back up at the first time of asking having spent the past ten successive seasons in the top tier of Spanish football – even finishing 4th in 2012 and reaching the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League after topping a group that contained Italian giants AC Milan, before narrowly being knocked out by Dortmund 3-2 after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. Not only are Malaga renowned for producing top quality talent and developing a number of players who went on to succeed at the highest level – Saviola, Hierro, Isco, Cazorla, Demichelis and Monreal to name a few (as well as my current Newcastle hero Salomon Rondon) – they probably hold one of the stronger squads in the league this year including familiar names such as Dani Pacheco (formerly of Barcelona & Liverpool), Javi Ontiveros, Alex Mula (wanted by Chelsea and Newcastle as we speak) and Alfred N’Diaye who fans of English football will remember had spells at Sunderland, Hull City and Wolves. Fully expect they will be challenging come the end of the season – watch this space.
Deportivo La Coruna – another cracking team during the 90’s with FM and real-life legends such as Bebeto, Diego Tristan, Djalminha, Coloccini, Mauro Silva, Valeron, our blog patriarch Roy Makaay and a pre-Barcelona Rivaldo – Deportivo are another example of a fallen giant who will surely be in contention for the promotion places at the end of season. Despite Diego Rolan currently out on loan at Alaves, they look strong with players such as Valencia graduate Fede Cartabia, 4 star ability Borja Valle, former R. Madrid midfielder Pedro Mosquera and new signing Pablo Hernandez from Leeds who has picked up 4 goals and 3 assists in his first 6 matches.
UD Las Palmas – our main rivals who we will face in the Canary Islands derby for the first time since 2015, Las Palmas also look like they will challenge to bounce back to La Liga after last year’s relegation disappointment. Slightly less renowned for producing world class talent (although they did have former Everton Striker Vinny Samways for a 6 year stint in the late 90s – WTF?!) – they definitely have the quality to mount a serious challenge this year with Sergio Araujo their main goal threat and arguably one of the best strikers in the league this season. Las Palmas have won 29 of the 64 derbies previously compared to our 14 wins so we will certainly have some avenging to do in a few months time.
Apologies, I’ve literally gone completely off topic – back on point we go. Following our shock defeat in Game 2, we then went on an absolute bender of good form – going 6 games unbeaten where we picked up 5 wins (including a victory in the Copa Del Rey 2nd Round vs Cueta FC) and a draw against a decent Almeria side who had Pogba in their starting eleven (thankfully Florentin, not Paul). The highlight of this run was not only beating promotion rivals Deportivo away from home at Estadio Riazor, but the winning goal which came in true FM fashion:
By the end of September we were joint top of the league with surprise package CD Lugo, and even better still receiving the Manager of the Month award for our troubles:
That run came to an end at home to Cadiz (where our favourite FM legend Cherno Samba spent a couple of seasons back in 2004-2006), which then opened the floodgates to 3 straight defeats in total with subsequent losses to Real Zaragoza (away) and Almeria again proving to be our bogey team knocking us out of the Copa Del Rey on penalties much earlier than planned in the 3rd round. A series of aggressive and assertive rants/tyrades to the lads during this period seemed to do the trick to get us back on track however, as we then went on an absolute belter of a run winning a record 7 games in a row which propelled us back to the top of the league by the end of November and another Manager of the Month award in the back pocket:
The highlight of this and one of the most rewarding moments for a “Football Manager Football Manager” (how else do you describe yourself? 😋) was the unexpected early debut of our 17 year old newly signed German CB Yann-Aurel Bisseck, who not only started in a 2-0 away win at Extremadura due to injuries, but also bagged a brace with two spectacular headed goals from set pieces – both delivered by Xadas.
Speaking of youngsters (and with the January transfer window approaching) – as well as some of our objectives being to develop young talent and to one day manage the Republic of Ireland national team (much to @Shrewnaldo‘s disbelief 😆), a suggestion from @FMEdmundo was also to try and sign/develop a young Irish player at Los Chicharreros seeing as Tenerife do of course have an Irish Manager ☘️☘️). Let the research commence! So far I have identified two potential targets below to help achieve this objective (two Ryans in fact) – Ryan Johansson of Bayern Munich who was born in Luxembourg to Swedish and Irish parents, and Ryan Nolan of Inter Milan who became only the fourth ever Irishman to play in Italy after Paddy Sloan, Liam Brady and Robbie Keane. Time will tell if we can attract either of them and whether they will develop into Irish legends – hopefully we can at least avoid a Declan Rice situation with both of them in the near future 🙊.
By Christmas, the Spanish Omelette is cooking pretty well with us sitting joint top of the league with Real Zaragoza and the league table looking as follows:
In my next post we will have the first Canary Islands derby against Las Palmas, along with analysis of training and tactics used so far, a review of all the Ins and Outs of the January Transfer window and we will take a look at progress across the other main European leagues and competitions as we move towards the business end of the season.
Thanks for reading as always! Thoughts, feedback and retweets are always appreciated – feel free to drop some comments below if you are enjoying this blog! Forca Los Chicharreros!! MaddFM.