New B-team coach Velázquez takes his new charges to Huelva today for an important clash against Recreativo.
The opponents: Recreativo Huelva are the oldest football team in Spain, founded in 1889. But they have only played five seasons in la Liga, their most successful being 2006-07 when Marcelino Toral led them to an 8th place finish and then departed for Racing Santander. Villarreal legend Santi Cazorla was a member of that team; he was sold to Huelva with a buyback clause, which Sr. Roig promptly exercised at the end of that season.
The present edition of El Decano has no such stars, of course, and to be honest their team has a lot of players in their mid-20s, many of whom (like striker Juan Villar) have been at Recre for several years. Not to mention midfielder and captain Aitor, who has been at Recre since 2004 so has seen plenty of ups and downs.
Like many Segunda clubs, finances have been an issue for Recre, so bringing in players on loan has been important. The main new face this year is young Sergi (Sergio Enrich Amettler). He played in the Mallorca system for several seasons but was loaned here this year-- he leads Recre with five goals so far this season. Mallorca also loaned them defender Ximu Navarro who is seeing playing time as well.
Recre are sort of middling in many ways--they finished 9th two years ago, 12th last season, and are certainly not promotion material. if they can stay in the Segunda yet another year, they'll be happy. At the moment they are two points ahead of Villarreal B in 15th place.
Recre started the season horribly, then defeated both Hercules and Elche, since then have been in-and-out. A good win at home against Las Palmas, but their last two home games were a loss to Xerez and a draw with Huesca. They did pick up a point last week at Cordoba.
The stadium: Estadio Nuevo Colombino holds roughly 20,000 spectators and was constructed in 2001. Chris Clements has some excellent pictures of its construction here, and I'd agree with him that the municipality of Huelva got a good deal for its €14 million spend. Of course, it won't be anywhere near full day. it replaced-- wait for it--Estadio Colombino, I assume named to reflect the Huelva-Christopher Columbus connection.
The city: Huelva is on the south coast of Spain, in Andalusia, with a population of roughly 150,000. It dates to ancient times and was a flourishing port even then, primarily shipping silver and other metals from mines in the area. The town is at the meeting of the Odiel and Tinto rivers, and the latter gave its name to Rio Tinto Group, now the fourth-largest mining company in the world. It began in 1873 in Huelva, and workers from this company founded the football team in 1889.
People from the area aren't called Huelvans in Spanish, but Onubenses (Onubans), Onuba or Onoba being the Phoenician and Roman name for the town.
Villarreal B news: Okay then, let's talk about the Mini-Submarine. The team call today is interesting, with only four defenders. Lejeune is with the first team, Kiko Olivas is suspended. Our own onubense, Joselu, returns home and together with Airam, Kike López and Moi gives us plenty of attacking options. As for the midfield, with Castellani in the first team now, we'll have to see who emerges from this group to take his place. Lucas Porcar has been our most reliable attacking threat from midfield, and Marcos Gullón is the glue of the team.
Keepers: Mariño and Jorge.
Defenders: Truyols, Jaume Costa, Carlos Tomás and Toño.
Midfielders: Pedro Vázquez, Lucas Porcar, Marcos Gullón, Iriome, Trigueros, Jordi Pablo, Toribio and Llorente.
Forwards: Airam, Joselu, Moi and Kike López.
We'll put up a thread for the game, but with Levante playing at the same time, and six other Segunda matches kicking off at the same time, I think finding a TV stream is unlikely. And with radio reporters still unable to provide 'live' coverage....
Prediction: Both teams will score. 2-1 to one team or the other, I hope it's us!!