15,000 Zaragoza fans demonstrated against club President, Agapito Iglesias on Saturday prior to their team’s 1-1 draw with Getafe at La Romareda. The club are in dire straights and currently on the brink of extinction with their board of administrators having been present for 10 days until Iglesias forced them out due to his controlling influence.
Action group Salvemos El Real Zaragoza influenced supporters to protest against the chaotic manner in which their club is being run by chanting and waving placards outside before bringing banners into the ground as the match proceeded. In the 32nd minute, the crowd directed mass abuse at Iglesias for the whole 60 seconds (symbolic because Zaragoza were formed in 1932).
New boss Manolo Jiminez looks to have an impossible task upon him with Zaragoza 6 points adrift at the foot of the La Liga table and with a mere 11 points to their name, plus the added fact that he is dealing with a group of players who have yet to be paid for 2 weeks. Club captain Leo Ponzio has returned to Argentina this week after 7 years with the club while January represents a perfect time for those willing to escape the madness.
The crippling debts should also prevent more signings other than loanees to come into the team and bolster an appalling front line which has scored just 14 goals all season! West Ham’s Manuel Barrera is one signing who has chosen to help Zaragoza but it seems unrealistic for more to add to Jiminez’s squad with doubts over payment. Guti, the ex-Real Madrid midfielder, seemed keen on a move in November but not so much anymore.
Though it was an encouraging showing during Saturday’s encounter with Getafe, which was supposed to unite supporters in a similar sense to the cohesive effort last year as Zaragoza survived on the final day of the season having been stranded in the bottom 3 for more than half the season. They looked good to take all 3 points up until a Javier Paredes own goal in the 80th minute, cruelly denying them a chance to make up ground on fellow strugglers Villarreal and Sporting.
When you’re down there, we often see that the luck just doesn’t fall for you and it has been proven again. A result like that would perhaps have given supporters something to smile about.
But with Iglesias insistent on dealing with matters behind the scenes, the administrators departed and claimed that they hadn’t been given complete control and didn’t think it was likely to happen in the near future. Iglesias denied this with a statement on the club website but he has long been a figure of hate for supporters, who now remain subdued, almost confident in the fact that their club’s fortunes will not be turning.
Zaragoza are going down one road and it isn’t a very appealing one. Relegation is almost a guaranteed outcome for many followers of Los Blanquillos and with extinction a quite distinct possibility, it looks like a bleak 2012 for the beleaguered supporters, with the greater challenge being whether they will make it to 2013 with a team to support.