Madrid is a city where football thrives and has a rich history. In La Liga there are four teams from the nation’s capital. Real Madrid, a world powerhouse rich with tradition and success. Atletico Madrid, a club who in recent years challenged Los Merengues for supremacy, resulting in a historic League title during the 201-14 season. Rayo Vallecano, a team with one of the lowest wage bills in the League yet constantly punching above its weight under the attacking philosophy of Paco Jemez.
Then there is Getafe. Situated in the metropolitan area of Madrid they have been a steady staple in La Liga since they were promoted in 2004. However, gone are the glory days of Los Azulones under Coaches Bernd Schuster and Michael Laudrup. With Schuster they reached the 2007 Copa Del Rey final and the following season Laudrup steered them to the Copa Del Rey final and UEFA Cup quarter-finals.
But Getafe’s League finishes since 2008 have generally been mid-table. The 2009-10 season was different, where under Michel they finished sixth yet last season they avoided relegation by finishing 15th. It was a turbulent year, as Getafe went through three Coaches in a space of five months.
Firstly, Cosmin Contra left for Chinese club Guangzhou in January, after going without a win since October. His replacement Quique Sanchez Flores merely lasted six weeks before resigning, citing personal reasons. Pablo Franco was then appointed from the B team to take over the senior side. Despite keeping the club safe from relegation President Angel Torres Sánchez relieved Franco of his duties.
After stagnation and turbulence for the last four years Sanchez knew fresh impetus was needed to bring life to a drifting club. That is why the acquisition of Fran Escriba as Coach is a masterstroke. He is a trainer who can perform miracles with scant resources. As Coach of Elche he led them to safety, despite the club suffering off pitch turmoil, which led them to be relegated, even though Elche finished 13th under Escriba.
Already, under the tutelage of sporting director Toni Munoz, Getafe have bought wisely. The acquisition of Moi Gomez on loan from Villarreal is a particularly smart piece of business. The 20-year-old midfielder showed his potential last season, scoring four goals and six assists last season. Playing under Escriba can allow Gomez to develop as a player, thereby benefiting the club.
In addition, Santiago Vergini’s acquisition on loan from Sunderland can help bolster Getafe’s defence. It’s an area that needs to show a marked improvement as last season they conceded 64 goals, tied with Granada and Almeria, the fourth highest in the League.
With the new season approaching it’s hoped Escriba can bring the fans back to Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Their average attendance last season was 7,946 in a stadium that holds 17,700. If Escriba can do excite the supporters and replicate the achievements of old then his stock will grow rapidly – and Getafe’s star will shine brightly among their rivals in Madrid.