Espanyol president Chen Yansheng takes responsibility for relegation and apologises to fans

Espanyol president Chen Yansheng has issued an official apology to the club’s fans following their relegation from La Liga.

The Chinese supremo admitted ‘we have failed and it is very painful’ while he also admitted that the ‘responsibility is mine’.

The side went down to a 1-0 defeat at Barcelona on Wednesday night in the Catalan derby, bringing their 26-year stay in Primera to an end.

Espanyol had been one of only five clubs who have been ever present in Spain’s top flight this century – along with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Club Bilbao and Valencia – and have spent 85 seasons in the Primera.

This season has come as a particular disappointment after the club qualified for Europe last season – for the first time in 13 seasons – having finished seventh last campaign.

However, boss Rubi left for Real Betis and took star striker Borja Iglesias with him while defender Mario Hermoso also departed for Atletico Madrid.

Despite a flurry of activity in the January transfer window – including the arrival of striker Raul de Tomas from Benfica – the club could not maintain their status.

There have been three permanent managers at the club this season – David Gallego, Pablo Machin and Abelardo Fernandez – while sporting director Rufete is now at the helm until the end of the campaign.

“Dear Espanyol fans, the biggest responsibility for the bad sporting results throughout this season is mine,” the Espanyol president told supporters, in quotes highlighted by Marca. “Therefore, I want to express my sincere and deep apologies to the fans and supporters who care about the team. For this reason, we must carry out a deep self-criticism and reflection.

“At the same time, we will continue to work relentlessly to promote the development of the club. Through unremitting efforts and hard work, the team will return to the top-flight, where we undoubtedly should be as a club due to our history.

“The most admirable thing about our club are our wonderful fans who are always here, fighting with us side by side incessantly. Your confidence, feeling and pride are the source of energy and the engine for the Espanyol move on.

“I, on behalf of the club, want to give you my sincere thanks for all your support. The 2019-20 season we set ourselves as an exciting challenge but we have failed. This is very painful, but we do not lose hope.

“We have a strong financial footing and great assets such as a modern stadium, a sports city (training facilities), great grassroots football and, above all, our best asset, the fans that will be decisive in achieving success again.

“Those who want to take a leap must suffer defeat first. The experience of the past will be the club’s most valuable treasure. We promise to inherit and promote Espanyol’s glorious 120-year tradition and look forward to the return of a much stronger club.”

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