Having finished runners-up in the top tier and having featured in European competitions in the past, Los Amarillos have an impressive history.
Thanks to their successful campaign last term, in which they were runners-up in La Liga, Las Palmas are back this season, for a 35th top-flight campaign and their first since 2018. Considered a historic Spanish team, Las Palmas have developed several talented players, featured in European competitions and even competed for a title in the past. Here are five things you might not know about this historic, unique club.
A merger aiming to keep local talent home
Having experienced the painful process of losing local talent to Spanish mainland teams, five clubs from Gran Canaria decided to join forces in their bid to keep prodigious players home. And so, on August 22nd, 1949, Union Deportiva Las Palmas was founded following the merger of Real Club Victoria, Club Deportivo Gran Canaria, Atletico Club de Futbol, Arenas Club and Marino Futbol Club.
Los Amarillos achieved their mission and became the only team to secure back-to-back promotions to the top flight in their first two years of existence. Most importantly, they managed to develop local talent and even provided the Spain team that won the 1964 UEFA European Championship with four players.
Meanwhile, the long list of players who came through Los Amarillos’ academy and went on to shine in La Liga includes footballers such as club legend Juan Carlos Valeron, as well as Barcelona star Pedri and Villarreal prodigy Yeremy Pino.
First division runners-up
Back in the 1968/69 season, Las Palmas managed to pick up 38 points from 30 games – when there were two points for a win – by recording 15 wins, eight draws and seven defeats. They finished second in the table that year behind champions Real Madrid, with Barcelona coming third.
Less than a decade later, Los Amarillos also came close to clinching the Copa del Rey trophy. After eliminating Malaga, Espanyol, Cadiz , Atletico Madrid and Real Sporting, Las Palmas reached the final of the 1977/78 edition. There they lost 3-1 to Barcelona at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in April 1978 in the final, this being their best ever run in the cup.
Participation in European competitions
Having finished top-flight runners-up in 1968/69, Los Amarillos managed to clinch European football for the first time in their history. They participated in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, but their journey was unfortunately cut short in the first round by Hertha BSC, as a scoreless draw at home was followed by a 1-0 defeat away.
A few years later, they secured participation in the 1972/73 UEFA Cup, where they knocked out Torino and Slovan Bratislava but were eventually eliminated by Twente. Las Palmas’ third venture into European competition took place in the 1977/78 UEFA Cup. Then, they triumphed over Sloboda Tuzla in the first round, only to face elimination at the hands of Ipswich Town in the next round.
An offer to sign Maradona
Back in 1978, UD Las Palmas made an effort to try to convince an 18-year-old Diego Armando Maradona to come to Gran Canaria. As Spanish journalist Julio Maldonado revealed, Los Amarillos made an official offer to Maradona’s then-team Argentinos Juniors in order to acquire the services of the Argentina legend. Unfortunately, the move didn’t come to fruition and he stayed put in his native country, but Maradona would step foot on the island in 1984, when Las Palmas hosted Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. Maradona was one of the Barca players to net in a penalty shootout that helped the Blaugrana secure qualification to the next round.
Nicknamed after the sound of Canaries
While Las Palmas boast several nicknames, including Los Amarillos, meaning The Yellows, the one that stands out is Pio-pio, which is associated with the melodious chirping of canaries. The roots of this unique nickname go beyond the obvious connection to the bird.
It originated from a clever retort delivered by dedicated Las Palmas supporter Fernando El Bandera during a Canary Islands derby against Tenerife. In response to the chants emanating from the Tenerife stands, El Bandera tirelessly answered throughout the game with the expression “pio-pio”. This witty response became ingrained in the chants of the passionate Los Amarillos supporters and has endured ever since. To further embrace this theme, Las Palmas’ mascot is a canary aptly named Pio-pio.
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