May 22, 2013
San Lorenzo just gained respite
Clubs facing cash and relegation problems
So San Lorenzo was saved from going into the National B Division by the bell, or rather by a goal scored by Néstor Ortigoza, but really they were only given a 12-months respite. Their relegation average for the coming season is so low that they will need a title challenging season to save themselves from relegation next time ... or even more if you go by the example of Tigre last season when they were challenging for the title and to escape relegation at the same time until the very last day.
We will not continue complaining about a relegation system thought up by minds no longer with it, but San Lorenzo was at no time bottom of the league — 12th in the last closing championhip — yet had to play off to avoid relegation. So what can they do now ?
With their present squad of players, however hard they try, they will never challenge for the title, so will not keep clear of relegation. Last season, players complained that their playing kit was not washed (properly) and their balls for training were not good. So where is the money coming from to buy good players, or will they rely on more players from their junior ranks as a number of other clubs say they will be doing? Somehow the money always appears, but one way or another (sponsors, loans or investors) it always throws the club into more debt.
One wonders where the money came from to promise coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi such a high salary in dollars? Where did the dollars come from? They must have paid him something, because he kept promising the players presents — the last time a pair of boots. Why comparatively high paid players — although owed salaries — should play better when offered a pair of boots beats me!
What also beats me is that when San Lorenzo convened its fans to show their wish to return to the grounds of their former stadium in Boedo (now occupied by a supermarket), they usually got around 100,000 or more together which is far more than ever paid to go to their matches. And if they ever do manage to get back to Boedo — where their ground was expropriated for gain by the last military governmment — where is a bankrupt club going to get the funds for a new stadium? Even world renowned Boca Juniors still has not been able to get funds to do that.
San Lorenzo is one club overrun by its hooligan gang who say they support their clubs but really do not. They must take part of the blame for the club's predicament as well as the management which has not taken any concrete measures to throw them out. Hooligans seem to think that with threats they will make players better.
BANFIELD is another sad case. Actually, it finished bottom of the closing championship which is unusual for the relegated team under the present system. But they were champions as recently as 2009 (opening championship), but leading players like James Rodríguez, Silva, Battión and Erviti left and were not replaced. The Banfield management allowed themselves to be trampled on by releasing players and coaches from their contracts because they wanted to leave. Here the management was really poor and just because its president has now resigned, that alone is not likely to fix things.
INDEPENDIENTE is another club starting next season with such a low relegation average and they will need to challenge for the championship to get clear of relegation. They are presently trying to offload many of their 52 professional players — crazy by the previous administration to sign up so many in the first place when you cannot pay them — while the coach wants eight new players for the coming season. The committee says there is no cash to get so many.
RACING CLUB will also start the season with a poor relegation average and on top of it, their "supporting" hooligan gang must take the blame for haunting Colombian Giovanni Moreno, arguably their best player, out of the club by threatening him with a firearm. Actually, Racing Club never finished paying Colombia's Atlético Nacional for the midfielder and owed them 1.4 million dollars.
NEWELL'S OLD BOYS finished last season's Closing Championship in 6th place, yet will also not be too well placed in the relegation averages at the start of next season. But here we have an outstanding coach — the kind this column often talks about. From a table propping team, Gerardo Martino, their former midfielder, taught the same players how to play under the circumstances and they became title challengers until near the end. But another season like this will be necessary to keep clear of relegation. Several clubs and national teams were after Martino following his good work as Paraguay's national team coach, but finally he decided to return to help his old club in trouble where surely he earns less money than he could have got elsewhere.
VéLEZ SáRSFIELD will not be in relegation trouble as it has been among the leading teams for some time. In fact, they were looked upon as title candidates, together with Boca Juniors. They were challenging for most of the season and finished third, but suffered from what all Argentine clubs suffer. Even with a comparatively strong playing staff, they could not do well in both domestic league and Libertadores Cup. Although being eliminated earlier, by then they had lost their momentum.
One other thing — trying to play good soccer, they were left with a poor home field after a series of rock recitals at their stadium. They bring in a lot of money, but are not conductive to good soccer.