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The match-to-watch: Xerez vs Xerez

Barcelona v Xerez CD - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Mark your calendars - today, in the fifth division of Spanish football, Xerez Club Deportivo will play against Xerez Deportivo Fútbol Club.

A club that was formed in 1947 against a club formed in 2013. A club which was about to dissolve permanently against the club that was supposed to replace it. A club that lost 20 times in one top-flight season against a club that has, before this season, lost just four times in its entire history.

Both clubs play in the same stadium, and both clubs come with fantastic stories of their own.

Let’s start with Xerez CD - a club that struggled throughout it’s history to make it to the first tier of Spanish football. After years in the doldrums they were promoted from the third to the second division in 2001, and launched a fierce assault at a historic promotion to the top league in the country.

They nearly made it the very next year, but inexplicably ended up fourth after throwing away their top 3 position - four points in six matches was a sign of the inconsistency they needed to wipe out of their game.

They were in the top 10 of the second division till 2007. In the 2007-08, Xerez finished 15th after 20 players left the club, including second striker Mikel Arruabarrena, who went on to play for Eibar.

The next season, Xerez had one one goal: survival. Instead, the coach Esteban Vigo performed a miracle, winning the second division title. Smart loan moves, including that of Fabían Orellana, propelled Xerez to top spot the very next season. Xerez fans marked 13th June 2009 in their calendars - it was a proud moment.

For the first time in their history Xerez Club Deportivo were in the top flight.

It would also be their last.

After having waited 62 years for a top flight spot, in almost typical fashion everything went wrong. Esteban Vigo fell out with owner Joaquín Morales and left for second division Herculés. In the meantime, Cuco Ziganda took too long to decide over whether to take over, finally saying yes after discussions with Racing broke down, and 13 players departed. Then Betis, who just happened to be the team that would benefit from any ban having finished 18th in La Liga, tried to get Xerez's promotion blocked because of what they alleged to have been "serious" financial irregularities surrounding a share issue at Xerez in 2002. By the time pre-season training started Ziganda had just 12 players to work with.

And that’s not even counting the fact that Xerez's president, Joaquín Bilbao, resigned after he was involved in a late night drive-by shooting at a brothel. Which is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds, even if Morales called it "the kind of thing that could happen to anyone.". Bilbao turned up feeling a little randy and the club being closed wasn’t exactly to his liking. A fight with the bouncers followed but rather than go home and cool down, he drove off and returned an hour later with his gun. Yes, a gun. Shots were fired but Bilbao never paid the price. Because it was his chauffeur that did it.

It wasn’t that they were bad, they just weren’t good enough. President Carlos Osma not unjustly insisted that they were "reasonably good", and at least they didn’t play scared, defensive football. But they had few genuine La Liga calibre players. Their star player Momo had only ever scored four career goals before the 2008-09 season, when he got 17, and had scored once in La Liga in three seasons; striker Mario Bermejo failed to score in his one first division season, and playmaker Emilio Viqueira was 35 and went on to appear in 17 matches and complete just two.

Sure, Mario Bermejo scored 12 goals (even if he had to be held back by police as he shouted "Retard! Retard! Yes, you, Miku bollocks, you! Retard!" at Getafe striker Miku), loan players such as Víctor Sánchez from Barcelona, David Prieto from Sevilla and Renan from Valencia did make an impact and after game 36 Xerez still had a chance, albeit slim, at survival. They even had a half-chance on the final day - win against Osasuna and they would be on 36 points, and as long as they could level up with three from Tenerife, Malaga, Racing and Valladolid (all on 36 points), in 6 out of 8 scenarios they would survive. But it was too late - they drew, and both Malaga and Racing picked up points anyways.

They had been late paying Inland Revenue too - in the winter when the new owner arrived and looked at the accounts, he nonchalantly spoke about the fact that no one had paid any tax for years, and immediately changed the coach. Cuco Ziganda departed in week 19, with eight points, eight goals and one win to his name. And while miracle man and magnificently mulleted Néstor Gorosito brought them on 30 points and 34 goals with two games to go, they really had no chance from the start. Only two players had a contract for the following season, a fact that embodied everything about the situation of the club.

Xerez ranked eighth and 14th in the two following second level seasons, respectively. The 2012–13 campaign, however, was disastrous on all levels, as the team finished in 22nd and last position as a direct consequence of enduring serious financial difficulties for several years, and the situation culminated with the worst possible outcome.

August 1, 2013. AFE and LFP confirmed, after midnight, the club had not paid debts to the players, so the RFEF should proceed to make relegation to the Third Division. The decision was appealed in court. Technician David Vidal left due to the chaotic situation and was replaced by Paco Peña.

August 22, 2013. At a press conference, the Jerez City Council announced that the club has no agreement for the use of the Chapin stadium as they hadn’t shown a viability plan, therefore it announced that the club will not be able to use the facilities and instead offered the facilities of La Granja for the team to play their matches.

On the morning of August 23, Paco Peña retired due to, surprise surprise, the chaotic situation of the club, after only 10 days in office. It was the second resignation of a technician in fifteen days. His replacement was Racero Manuel Antonio Cabello, aka “Puma”.

As it later turned out, in early 2012 it emerged that the club's debt amounted to almost 29 million euros, and that Sevillian architect Jesús Gómez Martos has bought most of the shares of the club for just €1,800,000. Two days later, he was named the new president of the organization. However, relations between the new president, coach and sporting director soured quickly. On 15 February 2012, barely a month after his arrival, he relinquished his duties.

On the 26th of February, 2013, Xerez was on the verge of dissolution due to a debt of two million euros owed to the Treasury, along with nonpayment of players and staff for two months - and yet some Xerecistas hadn’t even cared. And that wasn’t even the worst part - in the very next season (2013-14) they finished 10 points off safety and were relegated to the fifth division. In little more than a year, three relegations had beckoned - and yet some Xerecistas hadn’t even cared. The team had left the La Granja stadium, moved to Puntas Vela de Rota, due to Copa del Rey “incidents” against Lleida; on November 25, “Puma” was sacked due to disagreements with the board, replaced with former club player Francisco Higuera, who couldn’t do anything about the departure of most of the workforce, and having to end up playing with youth players, and Xerez were relegated as early as the 26th of April - and yet some Xerecistas hadn’t even cared.

In the very same city, something amazing, something different, was happening.

"I am xerecista, I will be faithful to my shield, blue and white is my blood and my war cry will be: XEREZ!"

In June 2013, Joaquín Morales, chairman of Xerez CD, announced he was going to liquidate the club for economic reasons (the club had been in debt for years). A group of fans met and decided to form a new club to replace the old one, and on 28 June the new club, Xerez Deportivo FC, was inaugurated. Morales consequently decided to sell Xerez CD to Ricardo García, a businessman who had considered liquidating another city club, Jerez Industrial CF.

On 17 July 2013, The Salvemos al Xerez (Save Xerez) group held a special session, the Asamblea Xerecista (Assembly of Xerecistas), with club supporters voting to decide the question: "Está usted de acuerdo en que el Xerez Deportivo FC comience a competir en la temporada 2013/14?" (Do you agree that Xerez Deportivo FC should play in the 2013–14 season?) The vote resulted in a 75.79% majority voting 'yes' (for: 689; against: 201; abstentions: 10), and the new club started to play in the eighth national league.

With Sixto de la Calle as provisional president in its first season, the club obtained 5,865 subscribers, a record for a non-professional club. On 30 December 2013, José Ravelo was elected its new president. On 6 April 2014, Deportivo FC was promoted to the seventh national league and won 3–1 against CD Guadiaro.

In the summer of 2014, the assembly voted to create a futsal and a track team, and the club came to terms with the SD Jerez 93 futsal team and the Club Atletismo Chapín track team to include both as part of Xerez Deportivo FC.

The following season, the club acquired 4,102 subscribers and was able to attract players from higher categories. In early 2015, the board of directors decided to democratize the club and allow all members to attend assemblies and elect the president. On 22 February 2015, Xerez Deportivo FC was promoted to the sixth national league and won 6–0 against Espera CF. On 25 May 2015, Carlos Orúe resigned as coach due to disagreements with Pedro Ruiz (responsible of sports affairs) and some of the players. He was replaced by Daniel Pendín.

On 7 July 2015, it was disclosed that Xerez CD and Xerez Deportivo FC were negotiating to combine both clubs in one single club. The board of directors decided to convene an assembly on 23 July to make a decision. On 23 July, the Assembly in Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera, where over 350 partners of Xerez Deportivo FC decided for the "Unification of xerecismo" (for: 317; against: 39; abstentions: 7). But finally the "Unification of xerecismo" was not carried out due to Xerez CD fans voting "no" (for: no data; against: 56; abstentions: 11).

On 17 August, the assembly decided to create a rugby team. Xerez Deportivo FC and Club Rugby Xerez, a rugby team founded in 1992, came to an collaboration agreement, so Club Rugby Xerez entered into sports club.

At the start of the new season, the club continued getting good results. In 2016 on Easter Sunday, Xerez Deportivo FC was promoted to the fifth national league to the win 2–0 against Puerto Real CF. On 25 may, the Asamblea de Socios approved reaching an agreement with Estella CD to be the reserve team of Xerez DFC.

Three promotions in three years meant Xerez Deportivo would finally meet the team it was supposed to replace.

On the second jornada of this season, the first ever derby between Xerez CD and Xerez Deportivo FC was played, and Xerez Deportivo won 2-1 - a sign of the shift of power.

Xerez CD weren’t done yet.

In August, the club was advised by the RFEF that federative rights would be locked (which would not allow Xerez CD to compete this season and the first team or any other lower ranks) if it did not reach a payment agreement with former players and former coaches who were owed about 200,000 euros. The deadline for the agreement was set for Friday September 5 at 14:00.

On September 4, the club announced that it reached a payment agreement with the ex-players who had outstanding debts, but nothing has yet been signed. The Social Security came in at the club offices to ask about the economic situation. On the morning of September 5, just hours before the expiry of the deadline, Ricardo Garcia was able to postpone debt and reach an agreement with former players, so the team can compete in the fifth division. That season Xerez ended in tenth position with a first team consists mainly of homegrown players. At the end of the season, in order to suppress costs, Xerez CD removed most of their teams, including Xerez B.

On July 8, 2015, the historic club player Juan Pedro Ramos, the then sporting director, left the club to lead the Juvenil Nacional del Sanluqueño and on July 16 coach Jesus Mendoza did the same, to lead Trebujena CF next season . Vicente Vargas was appointed coach. In December of that same year the club appeared in the list of defaulters to social security published by the state, owing them about 10.27 million euros.

And on 24th February, 2016 the judge of the Commercial Court of Cadiz rejected the first appeal by the Xerez CD dated October 13 to prevent the liquidation of the club.

But that’s not all - it turned out that the stadium move was not permanent. From Estadio Puntas Vela de Rota, they moved to the Estadio Municipal de Medina-Sidonia, to el Complejo Deportivo La Granja in Jerez, to Estadio Municipal Antonio Fernández Marchán de Guadalcacín and to el Estadio de la Juventud in Jerez. In early September 2015 the new Jerez municipality agreed to let Xerez CD play at the Chapin. However in mid-February was expelled again and sent to the Polideportivo La Canaleja . They then played their very next game at the Municipal Stadium Antonio Fernéndez of Guadalcacín, and a day later they played in the Polideportivo La Canaleja . Since then the Xerez CD again played their games at the Estadio de la Juventud.

“We feel that shirt and that badge are ours”, explained Pedro Ruíz. He is a member of the provisional directive of Xerez Deportivo FC. “We have a new badge now, but we hope to recover the old one when Xerez C.D. eventually disappears”.

Every time Xerez Deportivo FC wins, football wins. They are part of the fútbol popular movement, and represent the opposite of the capitalism of modern football.

The opposite of Xerez CD.