Monday, 7 June 2010

Rosario Central

Rosario Central lost their long drawn out battle against the drop at the end of May. In a similar fashion to the pursuit of glory consistency is the key; unlike the scrap for a league title you have to be exceptionally awful over three years to be relegated. Central weren't just bad this season - its been years of torment which has seen them slide down the Promoción table. With two teams automatically relegated the next two play-off against the third and fourth placed teams from National B. The team faced the same scenario last season when they successfully came through two legs against Belgrano to preserve their status. This year they faced All Boys from Floresta, Buenos Aires. After a 1-1 draw away they tumbled out of the elite league by virtue of a 3-0 home defeat.

The repercussions of the result have seen 'colourful' club president Horacio Usandizaga resign from his post. Readers may well remember el presidente's posturing from seasons gone by when he threatened to kill his players if performances didn't improve. There is little appetite in the foreign sports press for Argentine domestic football, however this outburst produced headlines around the globe. In a country where deaths and injury are an all too common occurrence at football even AFA chief Julio Grondona was forced to condemn his comments. Post-relegation ex-president Usandizaga has shown his more sensitive side, speaking from his hideout in San Sebastian, Spain he feels personally responsible for the relegation and admitted blubbing inconsolably 'I couldn't believe it, I couldn't believe it. I cried like a child, I cried all day and all night, I couldn't sleep'. One young fan, Juan Pablo Dandreta 25 comitted suicide after seeing his team relegated.

Rosario Central and Newell's Old Boys blazed a trail for football in the provinces, being the first clubs from outside of Buenos Aires to join the professional league in 1937. In its initial guise as The Central Argentine Railway Athletic Club the club's early years tell a familiar story with club being founded by English railway workers - on becoming Rosario Central in 1904 it broke formal ties with the railway by allowing members to join whatever their occupation or ethnic background. For next season at least Argentina's third largest city will not be hosting the Newell's - Central derby, arguably the most passionate and intense affair in the country. The city's other two clubs, Tiro Federal and Central Cordoba have also been relegated this year. One city, four football clubs and no derby.