If you’ve ever watched football on Spanish TV, you’ll know that compared to the United Kingdom, you’re spoilt for choice. Over the past few years, the market has become more and more saturated, and now five different channels (two pay per view) hold top division rights, the polar opposite to Sky’s dominance in this part of the world.
However, Sky’s monopoly over the purchasing of TV rights does have a parallel in Spain – the duopoly and, quite frankly, strangle-hold that Real Madrid and Barcelona have over their distribution.
The 2010/11 La Liga season may have been one of the most predictable yet at the top of the table, but that is not to say that it was not chock-full of the thrills and the spills that make it one of the best leagues on the planet. And as this particular year progressed, a massive contrast was created between the 4 mainstays at the top and the incredible fluctuations going on below them. Here is my brief summary going down the table, and my picks for team of the season:
As goals from Valencia targetmen Aduritz Aduriz and Roberto Soldado sealed La Coruna’s fate in the Riazor, Unai Emery sent his condolences to the disconsolate fans filing out of the famous stadium. His words, though, were not all positive well wishes. “We were the last judges but there are 38 games in a season. Depor had their chances, but they could not score” said the ex Almeria boss. The fans took little notice as they drowned their sorrows. Why should they have? SuperDepor were down and nothing could change that. In fact, now it is just plain Depor, of the Segunda División.
It was not the first time in the club’s history that Deportivo La Coruna were left with the bitterest of pills to swallow after failing to score against a Valencia with nothing to play for. Indeed, few events in football have left a mark on a club any more indelible or dramatic than the evening of May the 14th, 1994 did on Los Turcos.
At 7/4 (worse odds than Blackpool), said the bookies, Levante were practically a certainty to go down.
One must wonder what thoughts were running through the mind of Luis Garcia, the former Villarreal reserve coach who had taken them to Spain’s top table, as he surveyed his troops in preseason. Ian Holloway’s job must have looked like a stroll in the park in comparison. “At minimum,” Garcia declared, upon beginning preparations for the new season, “We need a goalkeeper, a right winger, a centre back, a midfielder, and two strikers”. With an estimated €60m of debt despite improving financial fortunes (the club had been on the verge of fourth tier football due to looming administration just two seasons earlier), even before a ball was kicked, pessimism abounded inside the decrepit walls of Valencia’s second club.
What he did not disclose to the handful of journalists interested in his team’s fortunes, was that his operating budget for the season was to be set at less than the average annual salary of two Barcelona players, around six to seven million pounds. The league’s youngest coach was trying to “keep calm” as he readied his side for the mammoth task ahead; but in the depths of his mind he must have known that, to use the cliché so beloved by the English media, for him to keep La Liga’s other blaugrana up would be the greatest of great escapes.
I am a 17 year old with a passion for sports, in particular, Spanish football. Anyone I ever talked to about a career in writing said the most important thing was to do as much of it as possible, get feedback develop a style, and improve, so that is what I plan to use this site for. Still don’t have a clue what I want to do at Uni or in the world of work, but my best subjects are English and Spanish and I adore football so this should provide a creative outlet to combine my interests.
Expect hopefully good quality opinion pieces about Spanish football related things which perk my interest. Please check back as I will try to keep this updated as much as I can, school may not provide me with sufficient time to regularly put up original articles, but I plan on posting news, translated interviews and links as much as I can to keep La Liga followers updated.