Real Oviedo – RIP?

by Joseph Sexton

Late on Monday, a strange thing happened. Tweet begat tweet until suddenly an inundation of twitter activity containing the hash-tag #sosrealoviedo proliferated. What could all this mean?

By Tuesday morning, it had become a phenomenon. Retweets flew around the social network, passed on by several well-know Spanish journalists. The subject was now trending both in Spain and beyond. Yet information as to why was thin on the ground amongst the mainstream Spanish sporting press.

All was not well at the Real Oviedo. The club has spent 38 seasons, almost half its entire professional history, in Spain’s top flight. Their last tenure ended in 2001 with an 18th place finish, ending a stay of some 13 seasons. Things were to get worse, and very quickly. Having only once dropped to the second tier (and at that, for just one season in the late seventies), they had fallen to the 3a by 2003.

To put this into context, one needs to understand the regional structuring of the lower divisions in Spain. The top two divisions are both all-national affairs; drop a division further to 2a, and it comprises four separate sections, 80 clubs in total. Dropping a level further still, and Oviedo have yo-yoed between those ever since, and you have a mind-boggling total of 18 sections, averaging 20 teams; quite a fall for a proud club who’d finished ninth in La Liga as recently as 1995.

Little wonder that the club nearly went to the wall in 2004; the shock of lost revenues, support from local government, and their inability to pay salaries saw them dice with death, escaping; but only just.

Nothing is certain yet, except that the outcome looks bleak. In a story stretching from the lush fields of northern Spain to the tropical Mexican resort of Cancún, a proposed takeover which might have put the club on a sounder footing has collapsed. With short-run bills topping €800,000, the club’s very future now appears in doubt, and fans have already set themselves up for the worst. President Alberto Gonzales maintains that the offer from Mexican consortium Pegaso was not the only show in town; a claim that few Ovedíns believe. Tonight supporters are busying themselves recounting tales from the glory days, and wondering just what to do next.

As more comes to light, this report will be updated to include all the latest goings on at the club.

Author Info

Joseph Sexton

Joseph Sexton

Freelance European football journalist based in Barcelona. Obsessive follower of all things La Liga, Serie A, and League of Ireland with more than a passing interest in the South American scene. Contributor to (amongst others) The Irish Examiner, STV, Forza Futbol, Cork Evening Echo, Eircom Sports Hub, World Football Daily, Spanish Football Podcast, The Elastico, Radio Cadena SER and Sports Tonight Live. (Cork) City 'til I die.

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