Saturday, 7 August 2010

Battle of the River Plate

The start of a new season is upon us. The time when we're allowed to dream, from the newly promoted to football's aristocracy - everyone is equal. Things aren't quite so simple in Argentina the 'table within a table' the Promedio/relegation standings tell a different story, decimalised points totals catch the eye and we all reach for our calculators.

At River Plate the equilibrium in the pristine Primera A table tells only half the story, they are languishing a lowly 17th in the relegation standings with only the three newly promoted teams below. An abysmal 84 points from from 76 games have dragged the Millionaires down the table, season 2010/11 will be one of the most important in their illustrious history. Club president Daniel Passarella is gearing up for his first full season at the helm and understandably holds the previous regime of Aguilar responsible for River's current predicament, thanks to the Promedio system they at least have a fighting chance of retaining their top-flight status. World Cup winner Passarella secured a narrow victory last December and has vowed to reverse the club's monthly $1.2m loss by the end of next year. El gran capitán was much more than a defender; he scored almost a goal every 3 games for River (99 in total) and as President he's much more than a figurehead. A sponsorship deal with Petrobras has been secured until 2012, new sources of investment are being sought including the development of a trust scheme in which anyone and everyone will be welcome, existing debts are also being settled. All of this bodes well for the medium term - fans will be more concerned with the next 10 months.

Ex-Huracán coach and lover of football Angel Cappa has been brought in, during the close season eight new players have joined on various contracts and agreements. River scored 16 goals in 19 games during Clasura 2010, to rectify this pressing problem they brought in Mariano Pavone on loan from Real Betis who'll be under immense pressure to re-create his title winning form with Estudiantes . Other arrivals include returning goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo from Lazio, midfielder Walter Acevedo from Independiente and Carlos Arano who played under Cappa at Huracán. Circumstances permitting Ariel Ortega may have one more good season, Diego Buonanotte may fulfill his immense potential even allowing for the events of last December. As with all great clubs results are expected, at River they are now essential. Given the cost of failure will Cappa be bold enough to stick to his footballing ideals? We'll get our first glimpse of the new River against Tigre.