The end of the world

Well, that’s how Independiente’s fans seem to be viewing the 1-1 draw against Boca Juniors in La Bombonera on Sunday. The reaction at the club’s training ground (where some fans held a protest on Monday) has been one of hysteria, more in keeping with a 7-0 home loss than an away draw. And it’s put Pedro Troglio under yet more pressure.

Independiente head honcho Julio Comparada has made his usual, increasingly unconvincing, noises about respecting the manager’s contract and so on. Behind the scenes, though, things are already being prepared for the manager’s departure at the end of the Clausura (if not before). Comparada did claim that ‘if for any reason [Troglio] decides to leave the club, we’re going to replace him with someone from inside the current setup,’ in response to questions about whether he’d been talking to other managers behind Troglio’s back.

The man from inside the club, apparently, is Miguel Angel ‘Pepe’ Santoro, who won 10 titles with the club as a goalkeeper and has previously acted as caretaker manager on three ocassions. Furthermore, he’s actually managed an Independiente side to an away victory against Boca – the reserves beat their counterparts 2-0 in the Casa Amarilla, Boca’s training complex (La Bombonera remains a fortress at all levels for El Rojo). Independiente may have a small problem: Santoro’s just signed a contract with the AFA to begin coaching goalkeepers at all youth levels for the selección.

Comparada’s press appearance, he claimed, was made because, ‘when there are complicated times, [the president] should show his face.’ A slightly less hysterical reaction might also be a good idea, because Troglio surely can’t be solely to blame if Independiente suffer a further dip in form.

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5 thoughts on “The end of the world

  1. It’s an interesting situation the one that’s going on at Independiente.

    Let’s put things into perspective here.

    1. Independiente’s supporters brag about how they like attractive, offensive football and they don’t like their team to play long balls or ultra-defensive systems. That’s how it’s been since as long as I, or anyone, can remember.

    2. Pedro Troglio said the week before their match at La Bombonera: “If we beat Boca we’ll officially become men”. WOW! What a piece of a statement! What now? You didn’t win. What are you? Women? Martians?

    Combined these two with the fact that Independiente were ahead and playing 11 vs 10 only to sit back and concede an equalizer and you’ve got this strong reaction.

    There is, however, another thing no fan should ignore. Ever since the TV got “married” with the AFA, the gap between Boca and River and the rest of the clubs grew out of proportions. That’s pretty obvious to anyone who follows Argie footy.

    Now…what happened to the other 3 of the big 5. Maybe not so much San Lorenzo, because they have the backing of one of the biggest TV stars in Argentina and are (mostly) a well-run club. But Racing and Independiente have not only suffered the increase of that gap between them and the Big2, but the rest of the pack are now getting really close to the Avellaneda Giants.

    But both sets of supporters are having a tough time understanding that. They (or at least 99% of them) still want them to beat Boca or River away, or to play in the International Cups or to win titles and the pressure they put on their players is beyond reality!

    Racing fans are slowly (and forced by the relegation fight) starting to realise about this and they are lowering their expectation levels to the minimum.

    Independiente’s fans are a long way from doing that, but I think they should start sooner rather than later.

    Or else…you’ll see manager changes 3 or 4 times per season, which will lead to worse and worse results and the snow ball will never stop.

    Frankly…I don’t see a way out of this for both, Racing and Independiente other than a gigantic cash splash by some very wealthy men (but as a football romantic, I’d hate to see that).

  2. Seba, what about when Independiente have their new stadium? From what I have heard (and saw a sweet virtual tour of it on youtube) it looks like it will be the best stadium in South America when completed in the fall. It looks like it could potentially be a nice money-maker for them.

    Also they don’t exactly have a low-profile team that is poor on talent. Whenever they finally sell Sosa and Denis they will make a pretty penny and the youngsters coming through the youth system look to be high quality (see Pato Rodriguez, Assman, Churin, Calello, etc.) I think they have just underachieved for the past few seasons, but they look to have a pretty good club set-up.

    Racing on the other hand…

  3. Thanks for that, Johnny.

    Great points Andrew. I think Independiente are in a far better position than Racing. Yes, I do believe they underachieved lately, but I don’t think they have a great squad. They have a few good players, a number of decent ones and a lot that wouldn’t be playing for them if these were their good times or golden years. I’m not saying they are rubbish, by any means. But they are certainly not up to the standard (and not even close) to what the majority of their supporters are used to.

    Independiente have the advantage (over Racing, at least) of being better run. I mean…they sell AGÜERO and they build a new stadium. Racing sell Maxi MORALEZ for 7 million dollars and and then bring him on loan for 2!

    But back to what brings us here. I think the new stadium will be a boost in their morale. No doubt. But I don’t think it’ll be a great source for revenue (at least it won’t be superior to the one they have at the moment -which holds more spectators, by the way-). You see…in terms of global economy, what the clubs can charge for admission fees in Argentina can’t compete with the European/Asian/North American clubs. But players are still earning good salaries here and the expenses are never met by the income in this part of the world.

    Independiente will never close the gap with Boca and River. Period.

    I wish it was the 60’s or 70’s again! Even the 80’s. But those days are long gone!

  4. Seba, fair points. You could also make the case that Boca has pulled a bit ahead of River over the past 4-5 seasons. Until River gets rid of Aguilar, they won’t have the club structure/philosophy needed to close the gap that Boca developed over them under Macri’s leadership.

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