Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Club focus - Espanyol






On Saturday the preseason gets underway with a little tournament in Cambridge where we will be watching West Ham take on Shakhtar Donetsk and Cambridge United v Espanyol. Both Shakhtar and Espanyol have featured heavily on the blog, so I thought that we would have a look at the Spanish club involved in the tournament.

Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol de Barcelona to give them their full name have always been in the shadows of their more illustrious neighbours and have been more of a draw for immigrants to Catalunya rather than the homogenous population. They currently play in the Estardi Cornelia El Prat, which holds 40,500 fans after moving there from the Olympic Stadium , which was built for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

The club was originally formed in 1900 and was the first Spanish club to be formed solely by Spanish people. The club originally played in orange, as one of the founders owned a textile mill and had an abundance of orange material. They later changed to blue and white stripes as a homage to Admiral Roger de Lluria, who had blue and white on his shield.

They have never won La Liga, but have finished 3rd 4 times with the most recent 3rd place finish being in 1987. They have also won the Copa del Rey 4 times, but not since 1957. They have also reached the UEFA Cup final twice, losing to Bayer Leverkusen in 1988 and fellow Spaniards Sevilla in 2007.

They have had some players in the past who have moved on to bigger and better things including new Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and Everton boss Roberto Martinez. Other notable names who have played there include Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Zabaleta, Paulo Sousa and erm, Savo Milosevic.

They are currently managed by Sergio Gonzalez Soriano, who at 37 is one of the youngest managers in any of the top leagues in Europe.

They don't have a number 21 shirt after it was retired in respect to Daniel Jarque, their ex-centre half who died at the age of 26 in 2009, just one month after being named the club captain.

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