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It’s Pronounced No-Má-Tes Actually


BobBev

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July 2001

My name is Roberto Nomátes and I am a very happy man. There are several reasons for my blissful state. For a start I have recently left my boring job as a cashier at Banco De Andalucia. That was just after I had deposited a large sum of Euros into my account there. Not that the money will stay there for long. I expect to spend most of it on a very interesting acquisition – a controlling interest in my local football team, Motril C.F. I have been an avid supporter of Motril all of my life and I will shortly live out my fantasy by taking charge of the club, courtesy of El Gordo.

El Gordo – The Fat One. The biggest lottery in the world. And I have won one of the prizes. I am a man of simple tastes and live alone in a small apartment. With no wife or family Motril C.F. is my life and I can’t think of anything else that I want to spend my money on. My negotiations with the club chairman José Antonio Murado are at an advanced stage and I expect to reach a successful conclusion shortly.

Motril is a town in Andalucia, midway between Almeria and Malaga and close to the famous city of Granada. The football team plays in Group 4 of Division 2B in the Spanish league and plays at the 6,000 capacity Escribano Castilla stadium.

Author’s Note

I am playing CM01/02 version 3.9.68 with the latest data update from SI.

If you would like to know more about the town of Motril then have a look at this.

It you want to learn a bit more about the structure of the Spanish league then look at

this.

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July 2001

My name is Roberto Nomátes and I am a very happy man. There are several reasons for my blissful state. For a start I have recently left my boring job as a cashier at Banco De Andalucia. That was just after I had deposited a large sum of Euros into my account there. Not that the money will stay there for long. I expect to spend most of it on a very interesting acquisition – a controlling interest in my local football team, Motril C.F. I have been an avid supporter of Motril all of my life and I will shortly live out my fantasy by taking charge of the club, courtesy of El Gordo.

El Gordo – The Fat One. The biggest lottery in the world. And I have won one of the prizes. I am a man of simple tastes and live alone in a small apartment. With no wife or family Motril C.F. is my life and I can’t think of anything else that I want to spend my money on. My negotiations with the club chairman José Antonio Murado are at an advanced stage and I expect to reach a successful conclusion shortly.

Motril is a town in Andalucia, midway between Almeria and Malaga and close to the famous city of Granada. The football team plays in Group 4 of Division 2B in the Spanish league and plays at the 6,000 capacity Escribano Castilla stadium.

Author’s Note

I am playing CM01/02 version 3.9.68 with the latest data update from SI.

If you would like to know more about the town of Motril then have a look at this.

It you want to learn a bit more about the structure of the Spanish league then look at

this.

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Share on other sites

The negotiations have taken longer than I had expected, but I have finally reached an agreement with Senor Murado. I now have a controlling interest in the club but I have agreed that Murado will stay on as chairman as I have no interest in the business side and I want him to continue to look after the finances. My dream is to manage the club, and part of the agreement is that I will replace the current manager Juan Carlos Hontoria. This has proved to be the major obstacle and I have had to pay off Hontoria's contract as well as purchase the stadium and buy out Murado. This leaves me with very little money to bring in new players. Still, I will have to cope as best as I can - the important thing is that I am now in charge and I can start to live my dream.

My first action as the new manager is to meet the staff and start to get to know them.

Motril C.F. Staff

Assistant Manager - José Manuel Ortega, 44, Spanish

Coach - Jaime Mora, 60, Spanish

Scout - Alfonso Sanz, 48, Spanish

Scout - Ricardo García Ruiz, 55, Spanish

Physio - José Carlos Rodríguez, 37, Spanish

On first acquaintance I am not very impressed by the coaching staff. Ortega doesn't seem too interested in working to develop the younger players and Mora is far too old fashioned for my taste. The scouts seem quite capable and understand the need to seek out youth players, loan signings and free transfers. I am impressed with Rodríguez who is a modern thinking physio and works very well with the players. I feel that one of my first priorities will be to improve the coaching staff and perhaps get another physio in to work with José Carlos.

After a couple of training sessions I feel able to sit down with the coaches and take a run through of the squad.

Motril C.F. Playing Squad

José Carlos Ortigosa Burgos (Burgos) - GK, 29, Spanish

Burgos had joined Motril at the start of last season from a local amateur club. The coaches like Burgos and he does look like a reasonable keeper but probably will not be first choice this season.

José Luis Martínez Márquez (José Luis) - GK, 29, Spanish

José Luis has been brought in just before my arrival, again from a local amateur club. He will be the starting keeper and Burgos will be keeping the bench warm.

Abraham Pérez (Abraham) - DRC/DMRC, 21, Spanish

Abraham is another player who has just arrived at the club. He joined from the Racing Club de Santander B team. I see little to impress, except perhaps for his fitness.

Fabián Bruzón(Fabián) - DR/MR, 31, Argentinean/Spanish

Fabián has been at Motril for 5 seasons and is viewed as a useful backup player.

José Antonio Mateos - DR, 31, Spanish

Another new recruit from amateur football, he has shown little to impress in training.

Sergio Cuevas - DC, 22, Spanish

Joined recently after being freed by second division U.D. Almeria, Sergio is another player who has not impressed so far.

Juan Antonio Pérez Maldonado (Juan) - DC, 17, Spanish

Juan looks quite strong for a youngster and has decent pace but may be a bit too young to be a regular starter.

José Manuel Rodríguez Cortés (Pía) - DC/DMC, 30, Spanish

Pía is another new addition from U.D. Almeria and he looks quite strong but doesn't exactly seem to have a biting tackle. A possible starter, depending on the tactics to be employed.

Carlos Rivera - DMC, 23, Spanish

He started his career at Motril 5 seasons ago and was transferred to first division club Rayo Vallecano but spent most of his 3 seasons there loaned out to second division clubs. He rejoined Motril just before my arrival. Definitely one of the stronger players he will be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Diego López Santos (Diego) - MR, 27, Spanish

Diego is an experienced player, having played at a variety of second division clubs for the last 8 seasons. Another new face at Motril but looks likely to be a regular starter.

José Masegosa - MR, 28, Spanish

Another new face from amateur football, he may well be challenging Diego for the right midfield spot.

Francisco Javier García Cabrera (Francis) - ML, 25, Spanish

Yet another new recruit from second division Polideportivo Ejido, Francis is speedy but apart from that doesn't seem to have much to offer.

Cristian Iván Murúa - MC, 20, Spanish

He looks like an honest hard-working player but with little else to offer.

Igor Arenaza - AMR/AML, 27, Spanish/Basque

Another very experienced player with 8 seasons at a variety of second division clubs. In training he has looked skilful and tricky on the ball. He seems to have an eye for goal and will definitely be in the starting line-up.

José Miguel Zurita - AMR, 21, Spanish

Yet another new face from the amateur ranks, he has been quite impressive in training and is probably the best passer of the ball in the squad. A probable starter, depending on tactics.

Alexis Jiménez Medin (Alexis) - FR/FC, 18, Spanish

Alexis has not shown any great ability in training and is highly unlikely to get many opportunities to play.

Rodolfo Andrés Orife - FR/FL/FC, 24, Spanish

Yet another recruit from amateur football, he looks good in the air and is quite a strong lad. He is naturally two-footed and looks like a definite starter up front.

Javier Guerra - FL, 19, Spanish

Another player that looks like a hard worker but with little else to offer. Unlikely to see much action this season.

Diego Martín - SC, 26, Spanish

He has had 3 or 4 seasons switching between amateur and second division sides. Strong and hard working, he will definitely be given a chance to show what he can do.

Sergio Larreina - SC, 26, Spanish/Basque

Another quite experiences player with half a dozen seasons in amateur and second division football. Unlikely to be first choice but will probably get a few chances to prove himself.

Having completed my review, I turn my attention to my priorities on the playing front. It was clear that the weakest area of the squad was definitely the defence, so I have tasked the scouts with finding some new defenders as their top priority.

With less than two weeks before the first league match of the season and the closure of the transfer window, there is very little time available. I have been able to strengthen the backroom staff to my satisfaction. José Manuel Ortega has agreed to step down as Assistant Manager and take on a coaching role. This has enabled me to bring in Ignacio Martín Esperanza, a 37 year old Spaniard, as my new Assistant.

I have also been able to bring in two more coaches - Aitor Arregui (30, Spanish/Basque) and Juan Carlos Mandía (34, Spanish). In addition I have signed a second physio, Mario Iglesias (36, Spanish).

Unfortunately my only success on the playing side is the acquisition of Victor Bertomeu (Victor), a 24-year-old right sided defender, on a free transfer. I tried for several other players, including an Italian central defender on loan, but they all accepted offers from other clubs.

So I will face my first match in charge with a squad that I feel is very weak defensively and with no left-sided defender available at all. I have decided to play a fairly traditional 4-4-2 formation with the following line-up.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre"> Rodolfo Andrés Orife Diego Martín

Igor Arenaza Diego José Masegosa José Miguel Zurita

Abraham Carlos Rivera© Pía Victor

José Luis</pre>

In defence I am asking Abraham to play out of position on the left side. Carlos Rivera is not a natural central defender and prefers a defensive midfield position. I am also asking Diego and Masegosa to play as central midfielders when both of them would prefer to play on the right side of midfield. So I have four players operating outside of their favoured positions and I am not too optimistic

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August 2001

Sunday 19th

The first match of the season is at home to Ceuta. It is almost a full house as over 5,900 fans turn out to cheer on the new manager and the team. We get off to a nightmare start and all of my worst fears are realised as we go into the halftime break 2-0 down. However, a spirited fight back in the second half sees us get back on level terms with goals by Arenaza and Orife. Unfortunately, Orife was injured shortly after scoring and will be out for a couple of weeks with strained knee ligaments. Diego Martin looked as though he had snatched a dramatic winner, but his header was disallowed because of an offside decision.

Wednesday 22nd

Still looking to strengthen the defence, I make a bid to Barcelona B for Luis Miguel Carrión, a 22 year old defender who can play anywhere in the back four. The €200K offer is accepted and the player will join during the next transfer window in mid-December.

Sunday 26th

For our next match we head west along the coast to Cadiz and I plan keep the side unchanged apart from bringing in Javier Guerra in place of the injured Orife and replacing the disappointing Zurita on the right side of midfield with Fabián. The match ends in a 1-0 victory and I am very pleased with the team's performance. The defence was very solid and restricted Cadiz to just two shots on target. Unfortunately there is another injury as Pía suffers a twisted knee and will be out for 3 weeks.

September 2001

Sunday 2nd

With another enforced change required because of injury, 18-year-old Juan comes in to central defence to replace Pía for the next match at home to Écija. We have another good turnout with over 5,500 spectators and give them something to cheer about with a good 2-1 victory. Javier Guerra gets both of the goals and performed very well. José Luis has an excellent game in goal and the young central defender Juan is also outstanding. I am certainly being given reason to alter some of my first impressions of the squad. One opinion I have not changed is that Igor Arenaza does look very good and he has been our most consistent performer so far. This win takes us into third position in the table. As the top four will go in to a series of promotion playoffs then that's the kind of position that we will want to still be in at the end of the season, but there is an awful long way to go before then.

Monday 3rd

The scouts have recommended a young French player called Kévin Jacmot (AML/FL, 17) and he accepts our contract offer and will join in the next transfer window in December.

Saturday 8th

For our next match we have a short hop along the west coast to the busy city of Malaga, a popular arrival point for tourists visiting the Costa del Sol where we wil be playing the Malaga B team. The day before the match we get some fantastic news - in the Spanish Cup 1st round we have drawn at home against the famous Barcelona. The match won't be played until December but the town is already buzzing with anticipation.

Orife is now back in full training after his knee injury but he is not yet fit enough to even claim a place on the bench so he won't be travelling with us.

The match itself is a big disappointment as we suffer a 2-1 defeat and our brief unbeaten start to the season is over. It is particularly annoying that the winning goal is a deflected free kick and poor Carlos Rivera is credited with an own goal. On the plus side, Igor Arenaza had a splendid game, scoring our only goal.

Sunday 16th

Rivera's bad luck continues as he picks up a bruised rib in training and will miss our next match at home to Torredonjimeno. Orife now looks fit enough to start and I decide that he will replace Diego Martín who will be on the bench. Pía is also back from injury but I decide to risk having him start because of Rivera's injury.

I am very pleased that we bounce back from our defeat and register a 1-0 win. The best part is that almost the whole team play very well, the only relatively poor performance coming from Javier Guerra. Orife scores the only goal and looks like he has never been away. I am also pleased that Pía comes through his first match back unscathed. I am slightly concerned that Igor Arenaza seemed to tire quite quickly - I will be relying on him a lot this season and I hope that his fitness won't let him down.

Thursday 20th

I have been receiving regular bids for Burgos, our backup keeper. I am very tempted to accept but the fact that I don't have another keeper in the squad prevents me from doing so. It would be just my luck for José Luis to pick up an injury and leave us exposed. I don't have another keeper lined up for the next transfer window so I reluctantly refuse the offers.

More injury news just before our next game when Diego Martín twists a knee in training and will be out for 2 to 3 weeks. I was all set to play him instead of Javier Guerra but this means that Javier will keep his starting position.

Sunday 23rd

We head west once again for the next game, but this time inland to the town of Zafra, near the Portuguese border, where we will be playing Diter Zafra. The match is low in quality but high in excitement, as both sides look to attack and there must be close to 30 goal attempts in total. Diter Zafra are two goals up after 25 minutes but Javier Guerra pulls one back before half time. The sides continue to trade scoring opportunities in the second half but Guerra manages to grab an equaliser 20 minutes from time. In the dying minutes of the match it looks as though the home side have a late winner but fortunately for us the goal is disallowed for offside and it ends 2-2. And just think, Javier Guerra wouldn't have started the match if Diego Martín hadn't been injured and he goes and scores two vital goals.

Tuesday 25th

Over the last few weeks I have been negotiating with several players whose contracts will expire next summer and I have agreed extensions with Diego, Abraham (who has been playing very well as my out of position left back), Diego Martín, Fabián, Pía and Guerra.

Sunday 30th

And so we approach our final game of the month, a home match against Cacereño. We have another 5,000 plus crowd who see us dominate the match yet struggle to score. We have to wait until the 64th minute before Igor Arenaza breaks the deadlock and that is enough for a 1-0 win. Unfortunately Diego gets a bruised shin during the match and will be sidelined for 10 days.

So the month ends with us having played 5 league matches with 3 wins, a draw and a loss, giving us 10 points. We lie in 6th position but it is tight at the top and we are only 3 points off 1st place. Our top performers have been Arenaza, Orife, Victor, Masegosa, José Luis and, most unexpectedly, Guerra. The 19-year-old forward is our top scorer with 5 goals.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Sunday 30th September 2001

*******************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Cartagonova 7 3 1 0 11 5 2 1 0 8 3 17

2nd Linares 7 4 0 0 10 1 1 1 1 5 5 16

3rd Algeciras 7 2 1 0 4 2 2 2 0 5 3 15

4th Melilla 7 3 1 0 9 0 1 1 1 3 3 14

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Betis B 7 2 1 1 9 5 2 1 0 7 5 14

6th MOTRIL 7 3 1 0 6 3 1 1 1 4 4 14

7th Ceuta 7 2 2 0 6 4 1 2 0 7 4 13

8th Extremadura 7 2 0 1 7 4 1 1 2 5 10 10

9th Jaén 7 1 2 1 4 2 1 1 1 6 6 9

10th Sevilla B 7 1 2 0 6 5 1 1 2 6 8 9

11th Torredonjimeno 7 1 0 2 5 6 1 1 2 2 5 7

12th Málaga B 7 2 1 0 6 3 0 0 4 1 12 7

13th Díter Zafra 7 1 1 1 5 5 0 2 2 4 6 6

14th Écija 7 0 2 1 4 5 1 1 2 2 4 6

15th Ciudad de Murcia 7 1 1 1 5 3 0 2 2 3 5 6

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Moralo 7 1 3 0 6 4 0 0 3 2 8 6

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Mérida 7 0 1 3 2 7 1 2 0 1 0 6

18th Jerez 7 1 1 1 3 3 0 1 3 2 10 5

19th Cádiz 7 0 2 2 1 3 0 2 1 3 4 4

20th Cacereño 7 1 0 2 5 6 0 0 4 0 9 3</pre>

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October 2001

Sunday 7th

Our first match of this month takes us along the west coast once more just past Gibraltar to Algeciras. I expect this to be a tough game, especially as it is the first time this season that we are playing a team above us in the league. This will give us a good indication if we will have the ability to mix it with the best teams in this division and challenge for the playoffs. I am trying to play an unchanged team whenever possible but the injury to Diego means that I have to re-shuffle midfield so I decide to give Zurita another chance. He looked good in pre-season training but failed to impress in his first match so let's see if he can make the most of his opportunity this time.

We put in a very good performance against Algeciras and although they have slightly more of the possession we certainly create far more scoring opportunities. The home keeper plays very well to keep us at bay, and when he is beaten by a header from Masegosa the woodwork gets in the way. We eventually make the breakthrough with a deflected free kick that goes down as an own goal, but it is enough to give us a 1-0 win and lift us to 4th in the table. Once again the whole team performed well although Zurita continues to disappoint managing only a yellow card and a dead leg that will keep him out for a week.

Sunday 14th

Diego is fit for our next match where we entertain Sevilla B at the Escribano Castilla. A 2-0 win does not fully reflect our dominance if the game. Once again we faced a keeper at the top of his game and a series of excellent saves, and the woodwork, denied our strikers. When we did get the ball in the net it was ruled out for offside. The breakthrough finally came in the 74th minute when Fabián got his first of the season. It was well deserved as he had been rampaging down the wing to great effect. Orife made the game safe with a goal just before the end of the match. Again, the most pleasing aspect was that there was not bad performance by anyone in the team.

Sunday 21st

Our next match sees us on the road again, travelling northwest to Almendralejo to play Extremadura. This was an extraordinary match that makes me believe that the gods of football are alive and well and living in Motril! The home side took an early lead and then had no less than three goals disallowed because of offside decisions in the first 25 minutes. Even worse from their perspective was that the decisions all involved non-scoring players who were deemed to be interfering with play. Extremadura played extremely well and dominated the possession, making it very hard for us to get into the game at all. The generous refereeing and a fine display in goal by José Luis enabled us to reach the break just one goal down. We saw a bit more of the ball in the second half and Arenaza scored an equaliser on 66 minutes with a powerful shot. I would have gratefully settled for the draw and brought on Diego Martín in place of Javier Guerra just a few minutes from time. I was amazed and delighted when he picked up a mis-hit goal kick to slot home his first goal of the season with literally the last kick of the match. So we ended up with an undeserved 2-1 victory and climb to third in the table.

Sunday 28th

Our last match of the months sees us back at home facing Ciudad de Murcia, a side currently in the bottom four of the division. This was a frustrating match that ended scoreless. We dominated the play but were unable to break down a very stubborn defence and failed to create many scoring opportunities.

This was another very successful month for the club as we played 4 league matches and gained 10 points with 3 wins and a draw and we have climbed into the playoff positions. I am absolutely delighted with how the squad have been playing and my early fears about our defensive capabilities have been unfounded so far. In fact we have one of the best defensive records in the league with only 8 goals conceded in 11 games.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Sunday 28th October 2001

*******************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Cartagonova 11 4 1 0 12 5 5 1 0 17 6 29

2nd Linares 11 6 0 0 16 2 2 2 1 9 8 26

3rd Betis B 11 4 1 1 16 8 3 2 0 10 6 24

4th MOTRIL 11 4 2 0 8 3 3 1 1 7 5 24

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Ceuta 11 3 3 0 11 6 3 2 0 12 7 23

6th Melilla 11 4 1 1 13 3 1 2 2 3 5 18

7th Málaga B 11 4 2 0 11 5 1 0 4 3 13 17

8th Sevilla B 11 2 3 0 10 8 2 1 3 10 11 16

9th Algeciras 11 2 1 2 6 6 2 3 1 8 9 16

10th Díter Zafra 11 3 1 1 9 6 1 2 3 9 11 15

11th Jaén 11 1 4 1 4 2 1 2 2 9 10 12

12th Extremadura 11 2 1 2 9 7 1 2 3 7 13 12

13th Torredonjimeno 11 2 0 3 11 11 1 2 3 5 9 11

14th Écija 11 1 2 3 9 12 1 1 3 4 8 9

15th Jerez 11 2 1 2 7 6 0 2 4 2 11 9

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Mérida 11 0 1 5 3 12 2 2 1 4 4 9

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Ciudad de Murcia 11 1 2 2 7 7 0 3 3 3 8 8

18th Cacereño 11 1 0 4 6 10 1 1 4 3 11 7

19th Cádiz 11 0 4 2 5 7 0 2 3 5 9 6

20th Moralo 11 1 3 1 7 7 0 0 6 3 16 6</pre>

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November 2001

Sunday 4th

For our first match in November we travel to the northwest to a town called Jerez de los Caballeros in the province of Extremadura. This not THE Jerez, famous for its Sherry - that is a town called Jerez de la Frontera in Cadiz province. Jerez de los Caballeros is renowned for the quality of the cured ham (Jamón Iberico) produced there and we plan to take a short shopping trip before the match to stock up on this wonderful delicacy.

Jerez are not one of the strongest teams that we will face so I decide to give Francis his first start of the season in midfield and rest Diego. Diego is playing out of position in central midfield and, although he has been performing pretty well there I wanted to take a look at Francis and see how he would do. He will also be out of position, as he prefers the left side of midfield but I will play him left centre midfield and see how he does.

As it happened, the home side were a bit stronger then I expected but we took an early lead through the excellent Arenaza. Midway through the first half it looked as though we had doubled our lead when Guerra got the ball in the net but his effort was ruled out for offside. Young Javier took exception to this and his rather over-vigorous appeal ended up with him receiving a yellow card. I know that he is only 19 but he is going to have to learn to control his temper. However, just a couple of minutes after that incident we did go 2-0 ahead when Arenaza got his second of the match. The home side worked hard to get back into the match and they created some good scoring opportunities but had problems in getting the ball on target. They did pull one back with about 20 minutes to go but we managed to hang on for a 2-1 win.

Francis played quite well and I will probably let him have a run of a few matches to see how he settles. José Luis had another steady game in goal and José Masegosa played very well in central midfield. Even though he is playing out of position I have been very impressed with his contribution this season and he is definitely one of our top performers. But man of the match was undoubtedly Igor Arenaza with his two goals taking him to six for the season.

Tuesday 6th

I have been following up on a player that the scouts have recommended, Suat Usta (Sweeper/DC, 20, Turkish/Dutch) who was recently released by Eindhoven (EVV not PSV!). He has accepted our contract offer and will join in mid-December.

Sunday 11th

Our next match is at home to Moralo who currently occupy one of the bottom four relegation places so I decide to rest the young striker Guerra and give Diego Martín a game. We record a satisfying 3-1 win that takes us up to second in the table. This was another solid performance with the whole team playing really well, although I was a little surprised by the number of scoring opportunities that Moralo created. With better finishing it could have been much closer. Fabián opened the scoring early in the first half and Diego Martín had several chances to extend the lead but couldn't find a way past the visiting keeper and it was still 1-0 at half time. Moralo surprised us by grabbing an equaliser 10 minutes into the second half but we restored our lead a few minutes later when Abraham got his first goal of the season from a free kick. Diego Martín made it safe with a well-deserved goal five minutes after that and some 5,300 fans went home happy.

Sunday 18th

Our next match has us heading east along the coast to the town of Cartagena in the province of Murcia to take on the league leaders Cartagonova. This will be a big test for us as they have been on top of the table for the whole season and are probably the strongest team in our division. The fact that they had their first defeat of the season last weekend gives us some encouragement, but frankly I will be happy to come away with a draw.

At the start of the match Cartagonova are all over us and they take the lead in the first minute. They have the ball in the back of the net twice more in the first ten minutes but luckily for us both efforts are ruled out for offside. They continue to dominate play for the remainder of the half and I am grateful to go in at the break just one goal down. We start to play a little better in the second half and Diego Martín grabs an equaliser in the 75th minute. Just as it looks as though we will hold on for the draw the home side get their second of the match in stoppage time and we head home disappointed.

Thursday 22nd

I have been looking for another scout to strengthen the scouting team and I think I have found a good one when Eduardo García González agrees to join us from Cercedilla. We have to pay out €95K but if he can find some good players then I think that he will be well worth the money.

Sunday 25th

We face another crunch match, this time at home to second-placed Linares. This was a match packed with excitement and controversy. It was one of those matches that a neutral spectator would have loved, but it did my blood pressure no good at all. Straight from the kick off both sides were going forward looking for goals. The visitors scored first with just three minutes on the clock. Within a minute we equalised when a run and shot by Arenaza was deflected in off a Linares defender. The remainder of the half saw both sides create lots of chances but no further goals were scored. Just before half time we saw the controversial dismissal of a player from each side. Firstly the Linares captain received a second yellow card. This was followed almost immediately by our own Orife being dismissed for an innocuous push on a Linares player. In the second half the teams continued with their attacking approach and we took the lead through Diego Martin on 63 minutes. Linares got a deserved equaliser ten minutes from time but Arenaza put us back in the lead just a minute later and we held on for the 3-2 win.

Orife gets an automatic one-match ban for his red card but we immediately appeal as I felt that the dismissal was very harsh. Unfortunately the ban is upheld and he will miss our next match.

All in all November was not a bad month with 3 wins and 1 defeat from our 4 league matches. Given that we played two of the stronger teams in the league and more than held our own it was a good indicator of the strength of the team.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Sunday 25th November 2001

*******************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Cartagonova 15 6 1 0 17 7 5 2 1 21 11 36

2nd MOTRIL 15 6 2 0 14 6 4 1 2 10 8 33

3rd Betis B 15 4 3 1 19 11 5 2 0 18 10 32

4th Ceuta 15 5 3 0 16 7 4 2 1 15 11 32

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Linares 15 7 0 0 17 2 3 2 3 14 14 32

6th Algeciras 15 3 2 2 8 6 4 3 1 12 11 26

7th Melilla 15 5 1 2 15 5 2 3 2 5 6 25

8th Sevilla B 15 4 3 0 16 10 2 3 3 13 14 24

9th Díter Zafra 15 4 2 2 12 10 2 2 3 12 13 22

10th Extremadura 15 4 1 2 16 7 2 2 4 9 16 21

11th Málaga B 15 4 4 0 11 5 1 1 5 5 16 20

12th Jaén 15 2 4 1 7 4 1 3 4 10 14 16

13th Torredonjimeno 15 2 0 6 15 18 2 2 3 8 10 14

14th Jerez 15 3 1 3 11 9 0 3 5 4 15 13

15th Ciudad de Murcia 15 1 2 4 11 14 1 4 3 7 9 12

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Écija 15 1 2 5 11 16 2 1 4 8 12 12

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Mérida 15 1 1 6 4 15 2 2 3 5 12 12

18th Cacereño 15 1 0 6 8 15 2 2 4 5 11 11

19th Cádiz 15 0 6 2 9 11 0 2 5 5 13 8

20th Moralo 15 1 4 2 9 12 0 0 8 4 20 7</pre>

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Thanks for the comments guys

December 2001

Sunday 2nd

Our first match in December is against Real Jaén who are located in the town of Jaén which is almost directly north of Motril. They are in mid table and we are confident of a decent result. We do need to be careful of their two strikers, however, as they are both highly regarded.

The game ends in a 1-1 draw which is probably a fair result given the balance of play. Diego Martín opens the scoring for us after 20 minutes but the home side equalise in stoppage time at the end of the first half. As Francis hadn't been too impressive in midfield Diego was back in the starting line-up but he suffered a horrendous injury in the first half and will be out for 6 months with a broken leg.

Monday 3rd

I make an offer for midfielder José Manuel Rodríguez Romeo (known as Rodri for short). The 25 year old has been transfer listed by Badajoz B and after some negotiation a fee of €130K is agreed. He agrees a contract and will another player who will join in the forthcoming transfer window.

Sunday 9th

We are also away from home for our next game - in fact we have to travel to another country. We are playing Melilla in the town of the same name. Melilla is located on the southern tip of Morocco and is one of two autonomous Spanish cities in that country (the other is called Cueta). We make a six-hour ferry crossing as we can't afford to fly from Malaga.

Two goals by Diego Martín are enough to give us a 2-1 win and take us up to second in the table. Unfortunately Javier Guerra is sent off in the last minute for a petulant kick at an opponent and will get at least a one-match ban.

Monday 10th

We begin our preparations for the Cup match at home to Barcelona. They are unlikely to play their strongest team but whomever they field it will undoubtedly be our hardest match of the season. I am hoping that we can give a good account of ourselves and avoid a very heavy defeat. My mood is not improved when I get notification that Javier Guerra has received a nine-match suspension for violent conduct. I feel that I have to give him an official warning for his dismissal as losing him for nine games is a huge blow. He reacts very badly to our conversation, claiming that he has been treated unfairly. I have to remind myself that he is only 19 and he clearly still has a bit of growing up to do.

Wednesday 12th

There was a full house at the Escribano Castilla stadium for the visit of the famous Barcelona. In the dressing room before the match there was an atmosphere of nervous tension as the players waited to go out on to the pitch. For all of them this was one of the biggest matches in their career. I told them to go out and do their best and no matter what the result, if they gave it their best effort then there would be nothing to be ashamed of.

As expected, Barcelona did not field their strongest eleven but it was still an awesome line-up for our boys to face. They did play young goal scoring sensation Javier Saviloa and he proved to be a handful indeed. It looked like we may be facing a rout as he scored two goals in the first 18 minutes but we managed to steady things and created a few chances ourselves. Unfortunately we weren't able to get the ball in the net but we did deny the mighty Barca any more goals. All things considered a 2-0 defeat was not a bad result and the team can be proud of their performance.

Saturday 15th

A few days after the Barcelona match the winter transfer window opened and our signings started to arrive. In total four players come in to the squad.

Luis Miguel Carrión (D/RLC, 22 Spanish) from Barcelona for €200K

Kévin Jacmot (AML/FL, 17, French) Free

Suat Usta (Sweeper/DC, 20, Turkish/Dutch) Free

Rodri (MR/MC, 25, Spanish) from Badajoz for €130K

Having received several offers for Fabián I decide to let him go and he moves to Linares for €26K.

Wednesday 19th

We have another league match to play at home to Betis B, who are currently lying fifth in the table. I want to try out some of the new signings so Luis Miguel Carrión will start at left back and Suat Usta will play at centre back. Unfortunately Rodri has picked up a slight knock in training so he will not start but I put young Kévin Jacmot on the bench. I move Pía from central defence to central midfield to see how well he plays there and allow José Masegosa to move from central midfield to his preferred position on the right. I also move Abraham from left back where he has been playing out of position all season, into central midfield. I am concerned that I may be making too many changes at the same time and I hope that this won't backfire on me.

As it happened I needn't have worried as the changes worked out better that I could have imagined and we had a comfortable 4-1 win. The debutants played well and the players that were moved into their more favoured positions all had good games. Orife put in an excellent performance with two goals and the only bad news was an injury to Jacmot after I brought him on in place of Arenaza to give him a run out. He has a broken toe and will be out for about two weeks. Luckily we have the Christmas break and will not play again until January 6th.

With two wins and a draw in our three league matches in December we maintain second place in the division.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Wednesday 19th December 2001

*******************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Cartagonova 18 7 2 0 21 8 6 2 1 23 12 43

2nd MOTRIL 18 7 2 0 18 7 5 2 2 13 9 40

3rd Linares 18 9 0 0 22 4 3 3 3 17 17 39

4th Ceuta 18 5 3 1 17 9 5 2 2 17 12 35

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Algeciras 18 5 2 2 10 6 5 3 1 14 12 35

6th Betis B 18 4 3 2 20 13 5 2 2 21 18 32

7th Sevilla B 18 5 4 0 20 13 3 3 3 14 14 31

8th Extremadura 18 6 1 2 20 8 2 3 4 12 19 28

9th Melilla 18 5 1 3 15 7 2 4 3 5 7 26

10th Jaén 18 3 5 1 10 6 2 3 4 12 15 23

11th Díter Zafra 18 4 2 3 12 11 2 2 5 12 15 22

12th Málaga B 18 4 5 0 13 7 1 2 6 7 20 22

13th Ciudad de Murcia 18 3 2 4 15 14 1 5 3 9 11 19

14th Torredonjimeno 18 2 1 6 18 21 2 3 4 10 15 16

15th Écija 18 1 3 5 14 19 3 1 5 10 14 16

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Cádiz 18 1 6 2 11 12 1 3 5 7 14 15

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Jerez 18 3 2 4 12 11 0 4 5 7 18 15

18th Mérida 18 1 2 6 7 18 2 2 5 6 17 13

19th Cacereño 18 1 1 7 9 17 2 2 5 6 13 12

20th Moralo 18 1 4 4 10 16 0 0 9 5 22 7</pre>

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January 2002

Sunday 6th

So it's back into action after our Christmas break and I hope that the players are suitably refreshed as we travel inland to the town of Mérida to play the team of the same name. Judging by their league position this should be a gentle re-introduction to competitive play, but you never know in Football.

As the game got underway it looked as though there would be an upset on the cards as Mérida started very positively and had several good chances. After 15 minutes Diego Martin gave us the lead against the run of play but the home side kept attacking and we were grateful that José Luis was having an excellent game. José Masegosa got our second goal on the stroke of half time and we went into the break with a rather undeserved lead. The pattern continued in the second half with Mérida doing everything except score and we got a third through Igor Arenaza on 56 minutes. We wrapped the game up in the 76th minute when Orife got the fourth, although just prior to that José Luis picked up an injury and Burgos came on for his first start of the season.

Sunday 13th

For our next match we take the ferry again as we travel across the Straights of Gibraltar to Morocco to play Cueta. They are challenging for the playoff places so I expect a difficult game. As Rodri has recovered from injury I decide to bring him into the team for his first start and Burgos will replace the injured José Luis. The match itself was very evenly contested with nothing to choose between the two teams. We took the lead when Masegosa scored after 13 minutes and that's how it stayed until half time. Cueta equalised on the hour mark but we went back in to the lead as Orife scored a few minutes later. The home side got a second equaliser ten minutes from time and the match ended all square.

Monday 14th

Rodri picks up another injury in training, this time a groin strain that will keep him out for about a month.

Friday 18th

Carlos Rivera will be out for a few days after he suffered a bruised rib in training.

Sunday 20th

Cadiz visit Motril for our next league match. This was a very even match with not a lot to separate the two teams. The visitors just edge the first half and backup keeper Burgos makes some fine saves to keep the scoresheet blank at half time. Unfortunately, just before the break left back Luis Miguel Carrión gets injured. This gives me a problem as I don't have another left sided player available. I bring on midfielder Cristian Iván Murúa and ask him to play out of position at the back. He makes a decent fist of it and we open the scoring through the excellent José Masegosa after 58 minutes. Orife gets a second 10 minutes from time and we hold on for a very good 2-0 win. The news on Carrión is not good as he will be out for 3 weeks with a twisted knee.

Sunday 27th

Our next match sees us visiting struggling Ecija. Located midway between Sevilla and Córdoba in a valley of low hills, Ecija is not a place to visit in the summer. It is known as La Sartén de Andalucia (the Frying-Pan of Andalucia) because of the very high temperatures that are often endured there. However at this time of year that won't be a problem. With Carrión out injured I have asked Abraham to go back to playing out of position at left back. Carlos Rivera is fit again so he comes into midfield. We play reasonably well with Carlos Rivera having an excellent game in midfield. Unfortunately we struggle to convert our scoring opportunities, although we never look like conceding ourselves, and have to settle for a 0-0 draw. Diego Martín was booked today and he will face a one-match suspension as it is his fifth yellow card of the season.

The two draws this month means that we drop down a place to 3rd but we are still maintaining our position in the promotion playoff group.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Sunday 27th January 2002

*******************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Cartagonova 22 8 2 0 22 8 8 3 1 27 14 53

2nd Linares 22 10 0 0 26 5 5 4 3 23 20 49

3rd MOTRIL 22 8 2 0 20 7 6 4 2 19 11 48

4th Ceuta 22 7 4 1 22 11 6 2 2 21 14 45

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Algeciras 22 6 3 3 15 10 6 3 1 17 14 42

6th Extremadura 22 8 1 2 25 9 4 3 4 15 20 40

7th Betis B 22 4 4 3 22 17 6 2 3 23 20 36

8th Sevilla B 22 5 4 2 21 19 3 4 4 16 18 32

9th Melilla 22 5 2 3 16 8 3 5 4 9 10 31

10th Díter Zafra 22 5 3 4 16 15 3 2 5 16 16 29

11th Jaén 22 4 5 1 13 7 2 4 6 15 21 27

12th Málaga B 22 5 7 0 18 11 1 2 7 8 24 27

13th Ciudad de Murcia 22 3 2 5 17 17 2 5 5 12 15 22

14th Torredonjimeno 22 4 1 7 24 25 2 3 5 10 16 22

15th Jerez 22 4 2 4 15 13 0 5 7 11 27 19

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Écija 22 1 5 6 17 23 3 1 6 11 17 18

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Cádiz 22 2 6 4 15 16 1 3 6 7 16 18

18th Cacereño 22 3 1 8 12 18 2 2 6 8 16 18

19th Mérida 22 2 2 7 8 22 2 3 6 7 20 17

20th Moralo 22 1 4 5 11 20 0 0 12 6 26 7</pre>

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February 2002

Sunday 3rd

We host Malaga B today in our first league match of the month. With Diego Martín suspended Sergio Larreina will start up front and young Kévin Jacmot gets a place on the bench. The visitors take an unexpected lead after 30 minutes but just a minute later Larreina grabs an equaliser. Ten minutes after the restart Igor Arenaza puts us into the lead but we can't hold on to it and 20 minutes from time Malaga make it all square. Then Carlos Rivera limps off injured and is replaced by Murúa. We can't find a winner and the game ends all square at 2-2.

Wednesday 6th

In the Spanish Cup Quarter Finals Second Division Badajoz pull off an upset when they eliminate Valencia on away goals. Badajoz won the first leg at home 1-0 and were defeated 2-1 in Valencia to advance to the Semi Final.

Sunday 10th

We travel to Torredonjimeno, a small town to the west of Jaen. Carrión has recovered from injury so he comes back in at left back, allowing Abraham to replace the injured Carlos Rivera in midfield. Diego Martín is back from suspension and starts up front. We get an excellent 2-0 win, our scorers being Orife and Masegosa.

Sunday 17th

Next up we have a home match against Diter Zafra. Rodri is back in full training after his injury but I decide not to risk him in this match. An excellent all-round performance gives us a 2-1 win, with Orife getting both of our goals.

Tuesday 19th

Victor gets badly bruised ribs following a collision in training and will be out for 2 weeks.

Sunday 24th

We have a long journey north to Caceres to play Cacereño. Carlos Rivero is back in full training and will join Rodri on the bench. We win a rather dull and unadventurous match 1-0 but central defender Suat Usta picks up an injury and will be out for 10 days.

Another good month in the league means that we maintain third place. More importantly, we are 11 points clear of fifth place so we have an excellent chance of staying in the playoff places.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Sunday 24th February 2002

*******************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Linares 26 12 0 0 34 11 7 4 3 27 22 61

2nd Cartagonova 26 9 3 0 25 9 8 4 2 29 17 58

3rd MOTRIL 26 9 3 0 24 10 8 4 2 22 11 58

4th Ceuta 26 8 4 1 24 11 8 3 2 27 17 55

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Extremadura 26 9 2 2 29 12 5 3 5 19 25 47

6th Betis B 26 5 5 3 25 19 7 3 3 26 22 44

7th Algeciras 26 6 4 4 17 13 6 4 2 21 19 44

8th Melilla 26 5 2 5 17 13 4 6 4 13 12 35

9th Jaén 26 4 7 1 16 10 4 4 6 19 23 35

10th Sevilla B 26 5 4 4 26 26 3 4 6 16 22 32

11th Málaga B 26 5 8 1 20 14 1 4 7 10 26 30

12th Díter Zafra 26 5 3 6 18 19 3 2 7 20 22 29

13th Torredonjimeno 26 5 1 8 27 27 2 5 5 13 19 27

14th Cádiz 26 2 7 4 16 17 3 3 7 11 18 25

15th Jerez 26 5 4 4 20 16 0 6 7 13 29 25

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Écija 26 3 5 6 22 26 3 1 8 11 20 24

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Ciudad de Murcia 26 3 2 8 22 27 2 6 5 14 17 23

18th Cacereño 26 3 1 10 13 21 2 4 6 11 19 20

19th Mérida 26 2 3 8 9 24 2 3 8 10 27 18

20th Moralo 26 2 5 5 15 22 2 0 12 15 32 17</pre>

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Thanks Jordi

March 2002

Sunday 3rd

For our first match of the month we are at home to Algeciras. This is an important fixture as the visitors are chasing a playoff place. Carlos Rivera comes in to central defence in place of the injured Usta. We have a nightmare of a match, losing 2-0 and having Carlos Rivera sent off for a professional foul. We had three other players booked and I was not impressed by the performance of the referee. Apart from José Luis in goal, I was not impressed by the efforts of the team either and we will need to show a big improvement in the next match.

Sunday 10th

Today we have travelled to Sevilla to play their B team. Our opponents lie mid-table and I hope that we will be able to bounce back from our dreadful performance last week and get back to winning ways. Carlos Rivera is suspended but Usta has recovered from his injury, so he comes into defence. Despite dominating most of the play and creating a number of chances we can't find a way past an inspired home keeper, and the match ends scoreless. Of more concern is the fact that, for the second game in succession, we have a player sent off. The culprit this time is Carrión and this is his second sending off since he arrived at the club. I feel that I have no option but to give Luis Miguel an official warning for his dismissal and I am disappointed when he tells me that he thinks that my warning was harsh. More bad news follows as Diego Martín has picked up an injury and will be out for 10 days.

Monday 11th

We receive notification that Carrión has received a further 3-match ban for his red card yesterday.

Sunday 17th

For our home game against promotion rivals Extremadura we have 5 players unavailable through injuries and suspensions. This is a large proportion of our small squad. I ask Abraham to once again play out of position at left back, give Rodri a start in midfield and give Javier Guerra a start up front. The visitors take the lead from the penalty spot after 22 minutes but Orife gets a good equaliser on the half hour. Unfortunately we fall behind again before half time and are unable to get back on terms and suffer a 2-1 defeat. This defeat drops us down to 4th place, just 6 points ahead of today's opponents.

Friday 22nd

We have another injury problem when Pía damages a shoulder in training and will be sidelined for a fortnight.

Saturday 24th

For our next match we travel East along the coast and then slightly North to Murcia to play Ciudad de Murcia. Our hosts held us to a scoreless draw when they visited us back in October and they are currently involved in a relegation battle so I expect a tough encounter. The match was definitely a "game of two halves". We had by far the better of the first half and went into the break 2-0 ahead thanks to Diego Martín and José Masegosa. But an injury to central defender Suat Usta right at the end of the half meant that Sergio Cuevas took the field for the second half. This enforced change seemed to upset our balance and the home side dominated the remainder of the match. They pulled a goal back after 50 minutes and it took an inspired display by keeper José Luis to preserve our lead and we hung on for a 2-1 win. It transpires that Usta will be out for 3 weeks as his knee injury is more serious than it first appeared.

Wednesday 27th

We received a couple of approaches today. Firstly, Second Division Real Oviedo have offered coach Juan Carlos Mandia a job as a scout. I really don't want to lose Juan Carlos so I have offered him an improved contract to stay with us. The €65K we would receive in compensation would be useful, but a good coach like Juan Carlos will be hard to replace. Secondly, Mexican club Tecos de la UAG have made an offer of €550K for winger Igor Arenaza. This one is a very tough call. Igor has made it clear that he is keen to move to a bigger club and the fee involved would clear our debts and give us some cash to bring in new players. On the other hand, Igor is one of our most important players and he would leave a big gap in the squad. I decide to avoid an immediate choice by asking for another €200K to see if the Mexicans are really interested.

Thursday 28th

To my great relief, Juan Carlos decides to accept the new contract and stay at Motril in his coaching position.

Friday 29th

Tecos respond very quickly to my negations and make a final offer of €750K. This is just too much to turn down, and I reluctantly accept their offer. Igor is keen to make the move and within a day he has agreed terms is on the plane to Guadalajara. After meeting with the chairman to review our finances, we agree that €950K will be made available for transfers. With some careful signings, this could go a long way towards significantly improving the squad.

Sunday 31st

Our final game of the month is a home match against Jerez who are just above the relegation places. The visitors battled hard and took the lead just before half time. We fought back strongly however, and Orife scored an equaliser early in the second half. We had two goals disallowed for offside and also struck the woodwork but we were unable to find a winner. In fact it took a brilliant double save from José Luis late on to hold on to the 1-1 draw.

It has been a hard month and with only 5 points from our 5 games and we have dropped to 4th place but we are still in a playoff place. Injuries and suspensions have cost us and I am sure that our league program in April will be even more demanding.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">**********************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Sunday 31st March 2002

**********************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Linares 31 14 0 1 39 14 7 5 4 29 25 68

2nd Cartagonova 31 10 4 1 30 13 9 4 3 32 20 65

3rd Ceuta 31 11 4 1 31 12 8 4 3 27 19 65

4th MOTRIL 31 9 4 2 26 15 9 5 2 24 12 63

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Betis B 31 7 6 3 32 22 8 4 3 33 26 55

6th Extremadura 31 10 2 3 32 17 6 4 6 24 31 54

7th Algeciras 31 6 6 4 20 16 8 4 3 27 22 52

8th Melilla 31 7 3 5 23 16 6 6 4 15 12 48

9th Jaén 31 7 7 1 24 12 5 4 7 22 26 47

10th Díter Zafra 31 6 4 6 20 19 5 3 7 29 25 40

11th Cádiz 31 4 8 4 21 19 4 4 7 17 20 36

12th Sevilla B 31 6 5 4 29 26 3 4 9 17 30 36

13th Málaga B 31 6 8 2 23 18 1 6 8 14 31 35

14th Torredonjimeno 31 5 3 8 31 31 3 5 7 17 23 32

15th Jerez 31 6 4 5 24 20 1 7 8 17 32 32

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Ciudad de Murcia 31 4 2 9 26 31 2 7 7 18 26 27

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Écija 31 3 6 7 24 30 3 2 10 11 23 26

18th Cacereño 31 4 1 11 15 25 2 5 8 15 27 24

19th Mérida 31 2 4 10 11 33 2 3 10 10 32 19

20th Moralo 31 2 6 7 15 25 2 1 13 16 34 19</pre>

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April 2002

Wednesday 3rd

For the first match in what promises to be a very tough schedule we have made the long journey to Navalmoral de la Mata, some 500 kilometres from Motril. Our opponents, Moralo, are at the bottom of the table but several of our players are still weary after the game at the weekend and the arduous journey. Carlos Rivera has returned from suspension and plays in central defence. José Miguel Zurita is drafted in to play at right back and Sergio Larreina replaces Orife in attack. I also play Javier Guerra on the left wing. Zurita plays very well at fullback, in fact he puts in a much better performance in that role than he has in his favoured right wing position. Diego Martín opened the scoring for us and we held on to our lead until half time. The home side equalised just after the restart but Larreina put us back in front with 20 minutes remaining. Just as it looked like we have the win secured, a lapse in concentration at the back allowed Moralo to get a last-minute equaliser. The 2-2 result is a huge disappointment as we should have taken all 3 points in this game. To make matters worse we get yet another injury as young central defender Juan will be out for 10 days with a twisted knee.

Friday 5th

Real Oviedo made another bid for one of our coaches. This time they are after Jaime Mora and have offered the 60-year-old a scouting position. I am prepared to let Jaime go as I have not been impressed with the way that he deals with the younger players, so I didn't try to counter their offer.

Sunday 7th

Today we face the first of two games than could make or break our season as we entertain second-placed Cartagonova. The long-time leaders have been overtaken recently by Linares, our opponents next weekend. Injuries apart, I can field my strongest team for this vital match. An absolute sellout 6,000 crowd witnessed one of our most dramatic games of the season. The excellent Orife gave us a great start by finishing off a neat passing move after 17 minutes but the visitors equalised 20 minutes later and we went into the break tied at 1-1. Orife notched his 15th of the season to put us back into the lead minutes after the restart. Cartagonova began to put us under real pressure but fortunately José Luis was in sparkling form, and kept out everything that they could throw at us. But then, with just 15 minutes remaining, we suffered a double blow. First, the visitors got the goal that their pressure deserved, evening things up at 2-2. Then within seconds, Orife hobbled off injured and was replaced by Sergio Larreina. But the drama wasn't over yet, as 10 minutes after coming on, Larreina put us back in front with a powerful shot from distance. Cartagonova really battered us for the last 6 or 8 minutes but they couldn't find a third equaliser and we held on for a superb 3-2 win. The bad news is that Orife's sprained ankle will keep him out for at least 3 weeks.

Monday 8th.

There was yet another injury blow today when Abraham twisted a knee in training and he will be out for 2 weeks.

Tuesday 9th

Jaime Mora has accepted the job offer from Real Oviedo and we received €70K in compensation.

Friday 12th

Our injury jinx has struck again as José Masegosa damages a shoulder in training and is sidelined for 2 weeks. My mood was not improved when I heard that Real Oviedo were at it again and wanted to take scout Eduardo García González on as a coach. I had no idea that Eduardo was interested in coaching, but when I found out I immediately offered him a coaching position at Motril.

Sunday 14th

Crunch time again with a 200 kilometre trip due North to take on league leaders Linares. Juan and Usta have just resumed full training yesterday and I don't want to risk either of them in a starting role so Pía comes into central defence and Usta takes a seat on the bench. Right back José Antonio Mateos is asked to play in right midfield to replace José Masegosa and Larreina replaces Orife in attack. I decide to stick with the attacking style of play that has served us so well this season. In retrospect, this may have been a mistake as we are thoroughly outplayed and suffer a crushing 4-1 defeat. In truth it was a very disappointing performance, although we started brightly. The home side opened the scoring after just 6 minutes, but Larreina equalised 5 minutes later. However, poor performances from Carrión, Pía and the normally very reliable Carlos Rivera undermined our efforts. Worst of all, José Luis put in possibly his worst performance of the season, looking uncharacteristically nervous and ill at ease.

Monday 15th

There is one piece of good news today as Eduardo García González accepts my offer of a coaching position.

Friday 19th

I have filled the open scouting position following Eduardo's move to the coaching staff by hiring 39-year-old Juan Antonia Leal from amateur side Serrallo. It has cost us €100K in compensation but I think that he is worth it.

Sunday 21st

We are back at the Escribano Castilla for the visit of Jaen and I want to make home advantage count and secure a full 3 points. I have restored Usta and Juan to central defence as their presences has been sorely missed. A win here would go a long way to guaranteeing us a place in the promotion playoffs. José Luis was distraught after his performance last week, but I have assured him that he has not lost my confidence and I have kept faith with him in goal for today's match. To describe the match as frustrating would be disappointing. We scored twice through Sergio Larreina and Diego Martín, but were unable to hold the lead and allowed the visitors to equalise on each occasion. Even worse, Javier Guerra and Carlos Rivera both suffered injuries. Carlos has strained his ankle ligaments and will be out for a month. Javier had been filling in quite well on the left wing and his strained knee ligaments will sideline him for 3 weeks.

Monday 22nd

Reflecting on yesterday's results I see that Linares and Cartagonova have secured their playoff places. We sit 7 points clear of 5th placed Algeciras who lost their match yesterday. With 3 games remaining this means that one more win will get us into the all-important playoffs. However, we have 6 players currently injured, 3 of whom are unlikely to be fit enough to play in any of our remaining league matches.

Sunday 28th

Our final game of the month sees Melilla visit the Escribano Castilla. Jacmot and Rodri come in to replace the injured Guerra and Rivera. It's a tense affair as neither side really dominates and there are chances at both ends of the pitch. Mateos settled our nerves when he scored his first goal for the club on 23 minutes. On 60 minutes Diego Martín looked like he had added a second but it was ruled out because Jacmot had strayed offside. With time running out it looked like we had the win we required but it was not to be. Melilla scored an equalising goal with 4 minutes remaining on the clock. With Algeciras winning we now have a 5-point cushion with 2 games remaining.

Tuesday 30th

There is no escaping the injury jinx here at Motril. Having managed to get through a full game with no injuries, Sergio Larreina is injured in training. Fortunately it is a minor shoulder injury and he will only be out for a week.

With 6 league points gained this month we are now tantalisingly close to a playoff place. One more win is all that is required.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Wednesday 1st May 2002

*******************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Pl Linares 36 16 1 1 48 18 8 6 4 36 29 79

2nd Pl Cartagonova 36 11 6 1 34 16 10 4 4 35 23 73

3rd Ceuta 36 12 5 1 35 14 8 5 5 29 23 70

4th MOTRIL 36 10 6 2 32 20 9 6 3 27 18 69

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Algeciras 36 9 6 4 26 17 9 4 4 30 24 64

6th Extremadura 36 13 2 3 38 19 6 5 7 27 35 64

7th Betis B 36 7 7 4 35 28 8 5 5 36 33 57

8th Jaén 36 8 9 1 30 16 5 5 8 25 30 53

9th Díter Zafra 36 8 4 6 24 20 7 3 8 34 29 52

10th Melilla 36 7 4 6 25 19 6 9 4 19 16 52

11th Cádiz 36 5 9 4 26 23 7 4 7 29 20 49

12th Jerez 36 9 4 5 33 23 2 7 9 21 35 44

13th Sevilla B 36 7 5 6 32 30 4 4 10 19 35 42

14th Málaga B 36 7 8 3 25 21 1 7 10 14 36 39

15th Ciudad de Murcia 36 6 2 10 33 37 2 9 7 20 28 35

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Torredonjimeno 36 5 4 9 32 33 3 5 10 19 29 33

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Écija 36 4 7 7 29 31 3 2 13 12 31 30

18th Cacereño 36 5 2 11 17 26 2 7 9 16 30 30

19th R Moralo 36 3 7 8 20 33 2 2 14 19 39 24

20th R Mérida 36 2 4 12 11 36 2 3 13 13 42 19</pre>

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May 2002

Sunday 5th

We have made the trip northwest to Sevilla for our final away match of the season against Betis B. We will have one more chance of a playoff slot next weekend, but I would be mighty relieved if we could tie it up today. Abraham is back in midfield after his injury and Orife is fit enough to be amongst the substitutes and the untried Alexis takes the place of Larreina. A tense encounter ends with a 1-0 win to the home team and we are still unable to seal or playoff position. Algeciras are now out of the picture after their 1-1 draw but Extremadura win 2-0 to keep their hopes alive. We are now 2 points clear of them and must win our final match to stay in the top four.

Sunday 12th

So this is it - our whole season comes down to our final league match of the season, a home game against already relegated Merida. Extremadura, our only rivals for the playoffs, also have a home game against Cacereno. Their opponents are not yet relegated and they could escape the bottom four and face a relegation playoff, so at least they have something to play for. On paper, we should have no trouble in beating Merida, but as we all know, football matches aren't played on paper! Orife comes back into the side for our make-or-break encounter and if ever we need a strong performance from our strikers, we need it today. Over 5,500 fans cheered us on as we labour to break down a stubborn defence. Unfortunately was just cannot develop any attacking rhythm and try as we might the elusive goal would not come and we ended up with a very disappointing 0-0 draw. At the final whistle the stadium was eerily silent as we waited to hear the other results. And then we knew - Extremadura had won 2-0 and Ceuta had lost 5-4 at Jaen. A frantic calculation showed the bad news - Extremadura had leapfrogged us both and finished 3rd, Ceuta were 4th and we had agonisingly slipped to 5th and were out of the playoffs.

Monday 13th

After the bitter disappointment of yesterday I glanced morosely at the final league table.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Pl Linares 38 17 1 1 49 18 9 6 4 38 30 85

2nd Pl Cartagonova 38 12 6 1 35 16 10 4 5 35 24 76

3rd Pl Extremadura 38 14 2 3 40 19 7 5 7 29 35 70

4th Pl Ceuta 38 12 5 2 36 16 8 5 6 33 28 70

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th MOTRIL 38 10 7 2 32 20 9 6 4 27 19 70

6th Algeciras 38 9 6 4 26 17 9 5 5 31 26 65

7th Betis B 38 8 7 4 36 28 8 6 5 38 35 61

8th Jaén 38 9 9 1 35 20 6 5 8 28 31 59

9th Melilla 38 7 6 6 28 22 6 9 4 19 16 54

10th Díter Zafra 38 8 4 7 24 22 7 3 9 35 31 52

11th Cádiz 38 6 9 4 27 23 7 4 8 29 21 52

12th Jerez 38 10 4 5 35 24 3 7 9 23 35 50

13th Sevilla B 38 8 5 6 33 30 4 4 11 19 37 45

14th Ciudad de Murcia 38 7 2 10 35 38 3 9 7 22 29 41

15th Málaga B 38 7 8 4 25 23 1 8 10 15 37 40

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Pl Torredonjimeno 38 5 4 10 33 35 3 5 11 20 31 33

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th R Cacereño 38 6 2 11 19 26 2 7 10 16 32 33

18th R Écija 38 4 8 7 30 32 3 2 14 12 32 31

19th R Moralo 38 3 8 8 21 34 2 3 14 20 40 26

20th R Mérida 38 2 4 13 12 39 2 4 13 13 42 20</pre>

At the end of February we had an 11-point lead over the 5th placed team and I am bitterly disappointed that we let that slip. In retrospect, it had been a big mistake to sell Igor Arenaza as his experience and creative play in midfield was badly missed. Our horrible run of injuries also played a big part in our eventual failure to reach the playoffs. Over the next few days I will be reviewing the season with the coaching staff to see what lessons we can learn for next season.

Wednesday 15th

Betis won the UEFA Cup with a 2-0 win over Kaiserslautern. I idly wonder if Motril will ever be in a position to challenge for European honours.

Sunday 19th

As the promotion playoffs get underway their have been some changes in the backroom staff. I have been in conflict with ex-Assistant Manager José Manuel Ortega all season, as we really do not see eye-to-eye and I decided that this would be a good time for him to leave the club. I have promoted Juan Antonia Leal from the scouting team into my coaching staff. Argentinean Gustavo Caceres has joined the scouts as I feel that his knowledge of the South American scene may help in recruiting some quality players. It costs us €28K in compensation to his previous club.

Wednesday 22nd

The coaching roster is completed with the arrival of Hector Gil at a cost of €110K. Hector is a young coach with a good reputation and I am sure that he will work well with the playing squad.

Saturday 25th

Atletico Madrid win the Spanish Cup with a good 3-1 victory over Deportivo.

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Terk, Jordi - That was what is known as a "character building experience"!

June 2002

With the playoffs now complete Cartagonova are the only team from our group to have secured promotion. Here are the league tables in full for all of the Spanish Divisions.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish First Division - Sunday 9th June 2002

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st C Barcelona 38 17 2 0 39 6 10 5 4 35 22 88

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Real Madrid 38 18 0 1 39 7 8 6 5 34 25 84

3rd Athletic Bilbao 38 15 2 2 49 12 7 4 8 32 34 72

4th Betis 38 13 4 2 31 7 7 7 5 25 13 71

5th Atlético Madrid 38 16 0 3 37 14 4 5 10 18 26 65

6th Valencia 38 14 4 1 37 8 3 8 8 19 28 63

7th Deportivo 38 10 8 1 23 11 6 4 9 17 19 60

8th Villarreal 38 13 2 4 40 25 5 4 10 23 33 60

9th Málaga 38 13 3 3 40 26 5 2 12 20 38 59

10th Sevilla 38 9 7 3 35 18 5 3 11 22 41 52

11th Mallorca 38 9 3 7 32 32 6 4 9 24 34 52

12th Celta 38 10 7 2 32 16 4 1 14 19 42 50

13th Real Sociedad 38 9 5 5 35 28 4 5 10 22 39 49

14th Osasuna 38 11 1 7 40 32 1 3 15 19 46 40

15th Racing Santander 38 5 4 10 29 38 4 3 12 20 40 34

16th Alavés 38 6 9 4 26 21 2 1 16 12 39 34

17th Espanyol 38 6 5 8 26 31 3 1 15 15 34 33

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18th R Valladolid 38 7 5 7 32 28 0 7 12 5 28 33

19th R Rayo 38 6 5 8 26 28 2 4 13 21 42 33

20th R Recreativo 38 4 4 11 19 30 3 3 13 16 44 28

*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Sunday 9th June 2002

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st C Tenerife 42 12 6 3 40 22 12 6 3 43 27 84

2nd P Zaragoza 42 15 3 3 34 14 10 5 6 48 34 83

3rd P Xerez 42 13 1 7 42 37 10 4 7 45 42 74

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Oviedo 42 14 2 5 40 22 8 5 8 36 30 73

5th Córdoba 42 14 3 4 41 16 7 6 8 31 33 72

6th Salamanca 42 16 2 3 45 23 5 7 9 21 28 72

7th Levante 42 10 6 5 40 31 10 4 7 39 35 70

8th Numancia 42 12 2 7 38 26 9 4 8 41 36 69

9th Leganés 42 13 5 3 50 32 7 4 10 33 35 69

10th Las Palmas 42 9 7 5 42 26 10 3 8 44 43 67

11th Getafe 42 8 6 7 29 28 9 5 7 29 30 62

12th Elche 42 8 5 8 39 33 9 4 8 32 34 60

13th Sporting Gijón 42 9 5 7 35 30 8 3 10 28 28 59

14th Ejido 42 8 5 8 30 30 7 5 9 29 27 55

15th Compostela 42 10 5 6 27 24 4 4 13 11 31 51

16th Murcia 42 8 6 7 26 27 4 5 12 19 35 47

17th Albacete 42 9 6 6 31 26 3 5 13 21 34 47

18th Badajoz 42 4 8 9 19 35 7 5 9 20 28 46

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19th R Éibar 42 8 3 10 34 42 4 3 14 19 35 42

20th R Terrassa 42 4 4 13 29 40 4 3 14 27 48 31

21st R Almería 42 4 5 12 23 43 2 4 15 22 46 27

22nd R Ferrol 42 6 4 11 32 43 0 5 16 12 47 27

*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Sunday 9th June 2002

*******************************************************************************************

Group 1

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Ourense 38 10 7 2 40 18 11 5 3 31 15 75

2nd Pontevedra 38 15 3 1 44 13 7 5 7 31 32 74

3rd Pájara Playas 38 11 5 3 31 14 8 6 5 33 24 68

4th Cultural 38 15 3 1 39 14 4 8 7 27 32 68

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Zamora 38 14 4 1 47 16 5 4 10 27 32 65

6th Langreo 38 13 1 5 30 18 6 4 9 18 22 62

7th Lugo 38 12 6 1 41 20 5 3 11 24 35 60

8th Lanzarote 38 13 3 3 39 17 3 7 9 22 29 58

9th Ponferradina 38 10 4 5 33 23 6 4 9 15 24 56

10th Marino 38 9 3 7 28 27 7 4 8 28 37 55

11th At. Madrid B 38 10 5 4 46 32 5 3 11 22 36 53

12th Ãvila 38 7 8 4 24 25 3 8 8 16 27 46

13th Real Madrid B 38 8 3 8 29 30 4 6 9 28 40 45

14th Alcalá 38 8 3 8 22 25 4 3 12 17 32 42

15th Ribadesella 38 6 6 7 26 27 4 5 10 18 31 41

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Avilés 38 6 5 8 25 28 5 2 12 24 40 40

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th R Corralejo 38 5 6 8 17 23 5 2 12 16 30 38

18th R Alcorcón 38 6 5 8 29 31 3 6 10 23 42 38

19th R Univ. Las Palmas 38 4 5 10 30 36 4 4 11 22 33 33

20th R Celta B 38 4 5 10 21 32 5 1 13 27 48 33

Group 2

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Real Unión 38 16 3 0 40 10 17 2 0 52 15 104

2nd Toledo 38 11 2 6 32 21 9 6 4 28 24 68

3rd Gernika 38 12 2 5 30 17 8 5 6 35 31 67

4th Alavés B 38 10 4 5 35 21 9 5 5 33 19 66

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Logroñés 38 11 6 2 27 14 7 5 7 22 24 65

6th Talavera 38 13 3 3 39 14 5 6 8 14 20 63

7th Calahorra 38 10 5 4 30 18 8 3 8 26 29 62

8th Conquense 38 12 4 3 34 20 4 7 8 14 24 59

9th Barakaldo 38 11 2 6 39 24 5 6 8 21 25 56

10th Amurrio 38 9 4 6 23 16 4 7 8 21 26 50

11th Peña Sport 38 7 6 6 27 24 7 1 11 22 30 49

12th Binéfar 38 8 5 6 23 23 5 4 10 24 31 48

13th Racing B 38 9 2 8 28 27 5 4 10 20 27 48

14th Noja 38 9 4 6 29 30 3 5 11 22 33 45

15th Aurrerá 38 10 2 7 30 27 4 1 14 27 51 45

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Athletic B 38 5 5 9 23 31 7 3 9 27 34 44

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th R Zaragoza B 38 6 4 9 25 32 2 4 13 15 38 32

18th R Osasuna B 38 4 6 9 28 40 4 1 14 16 43 31

19th R Gimnástica 38 6 4 9 28 32 2 2 15 15 37 30

20th R Azkoyen 38 6 6 7 23 24 1 2 16 11 32 29

Group 3

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st P Hércules 38 17 1 1 49 12 13 3 3 34 16 94

2nd P Lleida 38 15 4 0 47 17 9 7 3 35 23 83

3rd Castellón 38 12 4 3 36 18 11 3 5 29 20 76

4th P Burgos 38 13 2 4 37 22 9 6 4 46 39 74

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Nástic 38 11 3 5 35 23 12 2 5 41 27 74

6th Mataró 38 14 2 3 48 24 7 3 9 36 37 68

7th Hospitalet 38 12 4 3 46 24 6 3 10 41 48 61

8th Sabadell 38 13 2 4 32 14 5 4 10 29 31 60

9th Figueres 38 14 2 3 38 22 2 5 12 16 32 55

10th Orihuela 38 11 4 4 39 26 3 6 10 29 36 52

11th Reus 38 8 4 7 33 32 5 7 7 24 26 50

12th Novelda 38 9 2 8 33 31 6 0 13 32 50 47

13th Palamós 38 7 8 4 28 23 2 4 13 20 39 39

14th Gramanet 38 8 4 7 29 30 3 2 14 24 43 39

15th Valencia B 38 8 6 5 35 31 2 3 14 20 46 39

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Mallorca B 38 7 4 8 37 38 2 4 13 18 47 35

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th R Espanyol B 38 7 4 8 32 43 2 2 15 16 37 33

18th R Alicante 38 8 4 7 40 38 0 2 17 14 47 30

19th R Gavá 38 6 6 7 27 36 1 1 17 21 46 28

20th R Barcelona B 38 4 6 9 23 34 0 9 10 13 34 27

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Linares 38 17 1 1 49 18 9 6 4 38 30 85

2nd P Cartagonova 38 12 6 1 35 16 10 4 5 35 24 76

3rd Extremadura 38 14 2 3 40 19 7 5 7 29 35 70

4th Ceuta 38 12 5 2 36 16 8 5 6 33 28 70

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th MOTRIL 38 10 7 2 32 20 9 6 4 27 19 70

6th Algeciras 38 9 6 4 26 17 9 5 5 31 26 65

7th Betis B 38 8 7 4 36 28 8 6 5 38 35 61

8th Jaén 38 9 9 1 35 20 6 5 8 28 31 59

9th Melilla 38 7 6 6 28 22 6 9 4 19 16 54

10th Díter Zafra 38 8 4 7 24 22 7 3 9 35 31 52

11th Cádiz 38 6 9 4 27 23 7 4 8 29 21 52

12th Jerez 38 10 4 5 35 24 3 7 9 23 35 50

13th Sevilla B 38 8 5 6 33 30 4 4 11 19 37 45

14th Ciudad de Murcia 38 7 2 10 35 38 3 9 7 22 29 41

15th Málaga B 38 7 8 4 25 23 1 8 10 15 37 40

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th R Torredonjimeno 38 5 4 10 33 35 3 5 11 20 31 33

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th R Cacereño 38 6 2 11 19 26 2 7 10 16 32 33

18th R Écija 38 4 8 7 30 32 3 2 14 12 32 31

19th R Moralo 38 3 8 8 21 34 2 3 14 20 40 26

20th R Mérida 38 2 4 13 12 39 2 4 13 13 42 20

Promotion Group A

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st P Lleida 6 1 2 0 6 3 1 1 1 4 4 9

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Pájara Playas 6 1 1 1 4 5 1 2 0 4 1 9

3rd Alavés B 6 1 2 0 4 2 0 2 1 4 7 7

4th Linares 6 1 1 1 4 5 0 1 2 3 6 5

Promotion Group B

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st P Burgos 6 2 1 0 4 2 1 0 2 7 8 10

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Extremadura 6 3 0 0 10 6 0 0 3 5 8 9

3rd Toledo 6 2 1 0 8 6 0 1 2 4 7 8

4th Ourense 6 2 0 1 7 5 0 1 2 3 6 7

Promotion Group C

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st P Cartagonova 6 2 1 0 5 3 1 1 1 2 5 11

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Cultural 6 2 0 1 3 2 0 1 2 1 4 7

3rd Castellón 6 0 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 3 3 7

4th Real Unión 6 2 0 1 8 3 0 1 2 2 4 7

Promotion Group D

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st P Hércules 6 2 1 0 6 2 2 0 1 7 5 13

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Ceuta 6 1 1 1 7 5 2 1 0 6 2 11

3rd Pontevedra 6 1 1 1 5 5 1 1 1 6 6 8

4th Gernika 6 0 0 3 2 8 0 1 2 1 7 1</pre>

Group 3 dominated the playoffs, with 3 of their 4 representatives gaining promotion.

Now that the immediate disappointment of just losing out on a playoff place has passed, the coaching staff and myself are looking to the new season with keen anticipation. On the playing front, José Luis was a revelation and his superb displays were one of the main reasons that we ended up with one of the best defensive records in the division. Our strikers Rodolfo Andrés Orife and Diego Martín were also excellent, with 27 goals between them. Suat Usta played well after his arrival and proved to be the best of our new signings. José Masegosa was quite effective on the right wing and his 7 goals and 6 assists were valuable. Orife has been voted the Supporters Player of the year, an award that he fully deserves.

For the forthcoming campaign we intend to play with a different formation designed to give us more strength at the back. We will play 3 defensive midfielders to support 2 centre backs and use a single striker with an attacking midfielder supporting him. We have been pursuing a number of players this month and although we have had several offers accepted, we have been unable to agree terms with any of our targets as their wage demands are just too high. Gustavo Caceres has been sent off to South America to see if he can find any suitable playing talent there.

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July 2002

Tuesday 2nd

We have obtained a young central defender Xavi Comas (20, D C) on loan for the season. The youngster has bags of potential and will get a good run in our starting lineup if he proves to be any good.

Saturday 6th

Sergio Cuevas has not had his contract renewed and he has agreed a deal with Barcelona C and left the club. Sergio was a fringe player for us and had very few starts last season.

Wednesday 17th

Another Argentinean joins the scouting team as Walter Farias comes on board. He is an astute judge of playing ability and is a good addition to the team.

August 2002

Saturday 24th

Having spent a very frustrating summer in the transfer market, we finally seal a deal on the eve of the transfer window closing. 22-year-old defensive midfielder Antonio Jesús Vazquez (Jesús) has agreed terms after a €1M bid was accepted by Tenerife. Jesús can play left, right or centre and his versatility should prove useful.

Sunday 25th

Our first game of the new season is against newly promoted C.D. Béjar Industrial. It is a long journey to Béjar, a small city in the province of Salamanca, and I am not sure what to expect in terms of the strength of their team. The match is fairly well balanced and there is no score at half time. A goal scored from the penalty spot by Diego Martín and Juan's first ever goal for the club gives us a solid 2-0 win. Midfielder Diego suffers a dead leg and will be out for a week.

Wednesday 28th

Next up is a home game against Langreo, a D2B Group 1 team, in the Spanish Cup Preliminary Round. Once again the teams were evenly matched but goals from Diego Martín and Rodri either side of half time gave us a 2-0 lead. The visitors pulled a goal back near the end but we held on for a 2-1 win.

September 2002

Sunday 1st

September got underway with a visit by Lanzarote. Last season they were playing in Group 1 so we have never played them before. This was a fairly staid encounter with neither side able to establish much in the way of attacking fluency. The stalemate was broken when the visitors scored with 20 minutes remaining. We could find no reply and suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat. Matters weren't helped by an injury to Diego Martín that will keep him out for 3 weeks.

Sunday 8th

We made the short trip along to coast to Almeria for our next match. Our opponents were relegated from the Second Division last season so once again we face an unknown quantity. The home side enjoyed slightly more of the ball but two goals from Orife, the second from the penalty spot, gave us a very satisfactory 2-0 win. José Luis is carrying on where he left off last season and is playing very well. New signing Jesús looks very impressive in the key anchor position in front of the back two and Carlos Rivera, wearing the captain's armband, is doing well in midfield.

Monday 9th

Coach Aitor Arregui has accepted an offer from Sporting Gijon and left the club today. We received €55K in compensation and I already have my eye on a replacement coach.

Friday 13th

Rogelio Sukunza joined the coaching staff today. The 39-year-old joined from amateur club Colloto. The coaching team are all in their mid to late 30's and I feel that we have a strong set of coaches now. The players seem to be benefiting and I can see real improvements in their overall play.

Sunday 15th

Our next match was against Algeciras at home. Last season we beat them at their own stadium but lost to them at home. I hoped that the home defeat would not be repeated today. Despite having more of the ball and creating more chances, we went into the half time break 2-0 down. We worked hard in the second half to salvage something Orife got us back into the game with half an hour remaining. Only the woodwork denied him a second goal but we couldn't find an equaliser and the game ended 2-1 to the visitors.

Sunday 22nd

We travelled 60 kilometres or so North to Guadix to take on the local team who were promoted last season. They have been struggling so far and are near the foot of the table with just a single point. It was a very frustrating evening as, despite dominating possession and creating a hatful of chances we went into the break a goal down. Our hosts scored totally against the run of play and fought very hard to stay in front. We finally got an equaliser through Orife 10 minutes from the end but couldn't find the winner that we deserved. The 1-1 draw was two points dropped as far as I was concerned.

Sunday 29th

The month ended with a visit from another promoted team, Dos Hermanas. In contrast to our previous opponents, they are doing well and sit 5th in the table, just a couple of points off the playoff places. This was another immensely frustrating match. Diego Martín returned from injury and made his presence know by opening the scoring. But we failed to kill the game off, despite having lots of chances to do so, and the visitors equalised in the 89th minute. Another 1-1 draw in a game that we should have won comfortably.

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October 2002

Sunday 6th

The month started with an away game against Cuidad de Murcia. We were undefeated against them last season, with a home draw and an away win to our credit. Playing some of our best football of the season so far, 2 goals from Orife and one from Diego Martín gave us a 3-goal lead. I was a bit disappointed that we let our hosts back into the match as they scored twice late on, but the 3-2 win was welcome nonetheless.

Thursday 10th

I have decided to strengthen the Physio team and with that in mind, 39-year-old Alejandro Saavedra joins the team.

Sunday 13th

Newly-promoted Deportivo B visited for our next game and we put in another very good performance to gain a 2-0 victory. Given the number of chances we created we should have had more than the goals from Pía and Orife to show for our pressure.

Saturday 19th

We have our first injury problem for several weeks as Juan bruises a thigh in training and will miss 10 days.

Sunday 20th

We made the journey to Sevilla to face possibly our toughest test of the season so far - a game against second-placed Betis B. Our hosts are undefeated thus far but our 4-1 home win over them last season gives us some hope of achieving a result. Our excellent form continued with a 2-1 win. Despite falling behind shortly after the restart, two goals in quick succession from Diego Martín gave us the points. We defended well throughout and created at twice the chances that our hosts did. We are now unbeaten in our last 5 league games and sit just a point outside the playoff places.

Tuesday 22nd

Our key defensive midfielder Jesús will was sidelined for 3 weeks with a shoulder injury sustained during a training session. This is a real blow as he has been in superb form since his arrival.

Sunday 27th

For the visit of Cueta we had to make an enforced change to the team. Carlos Rivera dropped back to the anchor position and the unsettled José Miguel Zurita came in to central midfield. Juan was fit enough to return to the bench following his minor injury. Both of our games against the visitors last season ended tied at 2-2 so it looked like being a close game. Despite a fine performance by Zurita, history repeats itself and we get another 2-2 draw. Given that José Masegosa and Diego Martín had given us a 2-goal lead I was particularly disappointed not to get the win.

Thursday 31st

We suffered another injury in training when Sergio Larreina bruised his ribs and was out for 10 days.

All in all it has been a good few weeks in the league, but it could have been much better. We have drawn 3 games that we should have won, and the 6 points dropped have kept us out of the playoff places.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Saturday 2nd November 2002

*******************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Sevilla B 10 5 0 0 17 6 3 0 2 8 7 24

2nd Cádiz 10 4 0 1 8 3 3 0 2 8 6 21

3rd Algeciras 10 2 2 1 7 5 4 1 0 7 2 21

4th Betis B 10 4 0 1 10 4 2 2 1 13 10 20

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Lanzarote 10 3 1 1 8 3 2 2 1 7 5 18

6th MOTRIL 10 1 2 2 6 6 4 1 0 10 4 18

7th Dos Hermanas 10 3 1 1 7 5 2 1 2 7 5 17

8th Melilla 10 3 1 1 8 4 2 1 2 6 7 17

9th Pájara Playas 10 2 1 2 6 5 2 2 1 9 8 15

10th Béjar Ind. 10 3 1 1 8 3 1 1 3 5 6 14

11th Ceuta 10 2 2 1 13 9 1 2 2 8 9 13

12th Díter Zafra 10 1 2 2 5 7 2 1 2 4 5 12

13th Deportivo B 10 2 1 2 11 11 1 1 3 5 8 11

14th Almería 10 3 1 1 8 6 0 1 4 4 10 11

15th Málaga B 10 3 0 2 11 10 0 1 4 7 15 10

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Ciudad de Murcia 10 1 0 4 4 9 2 0 3 4 10 9

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Horadada 10 1 2 2 4 6 1 0 4 4 6 8

18th Alfaro 10 0 2 3 5 11 1 2 2 6 10 7

19th Baskonia 10 0 1 4 2 10 1 3 1 3 6 7

20th Guadix 10 1 2 2 3 6 0 0 5 4 12 5</pre>

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November 2002

Sunday 3rd

We started the month with a trip to Cadiz and I expected a tough match against the team currently second in the table. Our record against them last season was good, as we beat them home and away without conceding a goal. We played quite poorly in a very disjointed match and we lost our unbeaten record against our hosts courtesy of a penalty midway through the second half. I was disappointed in our attacking play as we failed to get a shot on target all night.

Sunday 10th

Newly-promoted Baskonia visited Motril for our next match. They are struggling at this level and our scouting suggests that they should not cause us any great problems. A 2-0 scoreline, with goals from Orife and Pía, did not adequately reflect our total dominance. We peppered their goal with shots and headers, but bad luck, desperate defending and poor finishing combined to keep the score respectable. To make things worse, Abraham suffered a foot injury resulting in a two-week layoff.

Sunday 17th

Next up was a trip to another team struggling at a higher level of football as we visit Horadada. Despite the home side playing with 10 men for two thirds of the match, a 0-0 stalemate ensues. The Horadada keeper denied us with a string of fine saves, but we really should have been able to break down their defence. Our inability to turn draws into wins is costing us too many points and is keeping us out of the all-important playoff places.

Sunday 24th

The Malaga B team were next to visit the Escribano Castilla. With a win and a draw against them last season, I hoped that we could maintain our unbeaten record today. Jesús was back in the side and took up his anchor position. Carlos Rivera moved back to central midfield and José Masegosa dropped to the bench to allow Zurita to keep his place in the starting lineup. Zurita was disappointing last season, but he has played very well since he came into the team a month ago. The match had a very familiar, and very unwelcome, pattern. We dominated the game, created list of chances that we failed to convert, and fell behind to a sucker goal. Fortunately, goals by Zurita, Xavi Comas and Diego Martín rescued the situation, and we recorded a 3-1 win. I lost count of our scoring attempts and better finishing would have seen us win by a landslide. We also had 2 strong penalty appeals turned down by an unsympathetic referee.

Monday 25th

An unfortunate training ground accident put Jesús back on the injured list and his bruised shin meant a 10-day layoff.

Our unbeaten run continued but we were still not able to get into the top four.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Sunday 1st December 2002

*******************************************************************************************

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Sevilla B 15 7 0 0 22 8 4 0 4 11 13 33

2nd Cádiz 14 6 0 1 10 3 4 0 3 12 10 30

3rd Algeciras 14 2 4 1 9 7 6 1 0 11 2 29

4th Betis B 14 5 1 1 12 5 3 3 1 19 13 28

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Lanzarote 14 5 1 1 15 6 3 3 1 9 6 28

6th MOTRIL 14 3 2 2 11 7 4 2 1 10 5 25

7th Ceuta 14 4 2 1 18 10 2 2 3 14 17 22

8th Melilla 14 3 2 2 9 6 3 1 3 9 11 21

9th Almería 14 4 1 2 12 10 2 1 4 7 10 20

10th Díter Zafra 14 3 2 2 9 7 2 3 2 5 6 20

11th Málaga B 15 6 0 2 19 13 0 1 6 8 20 19

12th Pájara Playas 14 3 1 3 9 8 2 2 3 9 10 18

13th Dos Hermanas 14 3 1 3 9 11 2 2 3 10 9 18

14th Béjar Ind. 14 3 2 2 11 8 2 1 4 9 9 18

15th Deportivo B 15 3 1 4 15 18 1 2 4 6 10 15

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Horadada 14 1 4 2 4 6 2 0 5 6 8 13

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th Guadix 15 2 2 3 6 9 1 1 6 13 19 12

18th Alfaro 14 1 3 3 10 15 1 2 4 6 14 11

19th Ciudad de Murcia 14 1 0 6 4 12 2 0 5 5 16 9

20th Baskonia 14 0 1 6 3 13 1 3 3 3 9 7</pre>

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December 2002

Sunday 1st

December began with a trip to Diter Zafra and a good result was important to maintain our league momentum. Last season we had a win and a draw against tonight's opponents and I wanted to keep up or good record. At the end of the evening I was grateful that a goal from José Masegosa gave us a 1-1 draw as Pía was stupidly dismissed for dissent following an early booking. We had words after the game and he was not happy with the official warning that I felt was necessary.

Sunday 8th

Pía was suspended for our home game against Melilla, but Jesús was fit enough to come back into the starting lineup. Once again we did not lose to our opponents last season and I was anxious for a win tonight to keep up our challenge. But this was another frustrating night as we dominated play, created most of the scoring chances, but still failed to get a win. In fact, having fallen behind to a goal against the run of play, we needed a goal from Orife to get a 1-1 draw. Bad luck in front of goal, the visiting keeper and the woodwork all conspired against us. We were now 5 points away from the top four thanks to our frequent failure to kill off games.

Wednesday 11th

We were back into Cup action tonight as we visited D2B side Zamora for our First Round match. They play in Group 1 so we have not been up against them before. Zurita and Carlos Rivera were rested on the bench as they still looked tired from the weekend. We were forced to make an early change as Victor limped off injured and was replace by Abraham. The home side had a man dismissed on the stroke of half time but we played quite poorly and failed to take advantage of our extra man. We went behind with 20 minutes remaining and never really threatened to get back into the game. So a 1-0 defeat meant that our cup adventure was over for another season. Victor's knee injury meant a 3-week layoff, which was unfortunate as he had been playing well on the right of midfield.

Sunday 15th

The visit of struggling Alfaro to the Escribano Castilla gave us an ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways. A solitary goal from Diego Martín was enough for the win as, for once, we didn't fall behind and we held on to a lead. Poor finishing meant that the final score flattered the visitors, but at least we managed to get full points for a change.

Monday 16th

Orife's recent performances have not been quite up to scratch and he has attracted some criticism from the local media. However, I made a point of publicly supporting him as I am sure that his good from will return before too long.

Tuesday 17th

With the transfer window now re-opened we have managed to get a backup keeper in on loan. Oviedo have agreed to let Fernando Maestro (GK, 28, Spanish) join us for the rest of the season. Our current backup Burgos is very unhappy and he blames me for his lack of starting opportunities. But with José Luis in such good form there is no way that I can give Burgos a regular start.

Thursday 19th

We journeyed to Sevilla for our final game before the winter break and I fully expected a very testing examination by the league leaders. Zurita gave us an unexpected lead but our hosts struck back twice to gain a 2-1 win. We had what looked like a valid equaliser disallowed but in truth Sevilla B deserved their win as they created a lot more chances that we did.

Friday 20th

Club captain Carlos Rivera has agreed a new 3-year contract.

Monday 23rd

We have accepted an offer of €50K for the unsettled Burgos from Second Division Real Valldolid. His contract will expire in 6 months anyway, so it is best to get what we can now. He has agreed terms and has now left the club.

Our last defeat means that we have now dropped down to 7th place and are 6 points out of the playoff places. We really need to put together a run of wins if we are to make a realistic challenge for promotion.

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Spanish Second Division B - Thursday 19th December 2002

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Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Sevilla B 18 8 1 0 25 10 5 0 4 17 16 40

2nd Betis B 18 6 2 1 16 8 5 3 1 25 16 38

3rd Cádiz 18 8 0 1 16 3 4 2 3 15 13 38

4th Algeciras 18 4 4 1 15 8 6 2 1 13 8 36

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5th Lanzarote 18 7 1 1 20 8 3 4 2 9 8 35

6th Ceuta 18 6 2 1 24 13 3 2 4 17 19 31

7th MOTRIL 18 4 3 2 13 8 4 3 2 12 8 30

8th Almería 18 5 2 2 15 12 3 1 5 12 14 27

9th Dos Hermanas 18 4 1 4 12 14 3 2 4 15 13 24

10th Pájara Playas 18 3 3 3 12 11 3 3 3 11 11 24

11th Béjar Ind. 18 3 4 2 13 10 3 2 4 14 13 24

12th Melilla 18 3 3 3 13 13 3 3 3 11 13 24

13th Díter Zafra 18 3 3 3 10 9 2 5 2 7 8 23

14th Málaga B 18 6 1 2 21 15 0 2 7 11 24 21

15th Alfaro 18 3 3 3 18 17 1 3 5 7 16 18

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16th Deportivo B 18 3 2 4 17 20 1 2 6 9 17 16

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17th Horadada 18 1 6 2 5 7 2 1 6 7 10 16

18th Guadix 18 2 3 4 9 13 1 1 7 15 22 13

19th Ciudad de Murcia 18 1 0 8 7 19 2 1 6 7 22 10

20th Baskonia 18 0 1 8 6 20 1 3 5 4 16 7</pre>

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January 2003

Friday 3rd

Orife has agreed a new 2-year contract with the club.

Sunday 12th

I have spent the winter break trying to strengthen the squad by bringing in players on loan and by offering trials to a number of free agents, all to no avail. It seems that there are very few players prepared to give it a go at Motril, so if we are to break into the Second Division, it will have to be with the squad that we currently have. So it's back into league action with a home game against Pajara Playas. They played in Group 1 last season and reached the promotion playoffs where they just missed out on goal difference. I was therefore very pleased with our 1-0 win courtesy of Diego Martín's 10th goal of the season.

Sunday 19th

This evening we had a second consecutive home game as Béjar Industrial visit. We beat them 2-0 in our opening game of the season so we ought to be capable of getting a win at home. As is often the case we struggled to turn chances into goals and we had to wait until midway through the second half before Diego Martín opened the scoring. Luis Miguel Carrión gave us a second 8 minutes from time, but limped off injured moments later. The visitors got a late consolation but a 2-1 win gave us another 3 points. Carrión has a knee injury that means he will be out for 2 weeks.

Sunday 26th

For the visit to Lanzarote the absence of Luis Miguel Carrión causes us a bit of a problem as we are short of naturally left-footed players. After some experimentation with alternatives, I finally decided to ask Abraham to play out of position again in the left side of out defensive midfield line. We arrived at Arrecife with our hosts two points and two places above us so a win would list us very close to the top four. We survived a strong penalty appeal early in the game and an even first half ended scoreless. To my delight Diego Martín put us into the lead with 20 minutes remaining but two minutes later our hosts equalised and we had to settle for yet another 1-1 draw.

With 6 points separating the top 7 teams, it is still very possible for us to secure a playoff place. Indeed, had we converted a few of our 7 drawn games into wins, we would probably be top of the table by now.

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Spanish Second Division B - Friday 31st January 2003

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Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Betis B 21 6 4 1 18 10 6 3 1 31 19 43

2nd Cádiz 21 8 1 2 17 8 5 2 3 18 14 42

3rd Sevilla B 21 8 1 1 25 11 5 0 6 20 24 40

4th Algeciras 21 4 4 2 16 11 7 3 1 16 10 40

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5th Lanzarote 21 7 2 1 21 9 4 4 3 12 10 39

6th Ceuta 21 8 2 1 30 13 3 3 4 19 21 38

7th MOTRIL 21 6 3 2 16 9 4 4 2 13 9 37

8th Almería 21 6 2 2 17 12 4 1 6 13 15 33

9th Dos Hermanas 21 5 1 4 14 15 5 2 4 23 14 33

10th Díter Zafra 21 5 3 3 12 9 3 5 2 10 9 32

11th Pájara Playas 21 3 4 3 13 12 4 3 4 12 12 28

12th Melilla 21 4 3 4 15 16 3 3 4 11 15 27

13th Béjar Ind. 21 4 4 2 17 11 3 2 6 15 16 27

14th Málaga B 21 6 1 4 22 18 1 2 7 13 24 24

15th Alfaro 21 4 3 4 25 25 1 4 5 8 17 22

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16th Horadada 21 2 7 2 7 8 2 1 7 8 12 20

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17th Deportivo B 21 3 2 5 18 23 1 3 7 9 20 17

18th Ciudad de Murcia 21 2 0 8 10 21 2 2 7 7 25 14

19th Guadix 21 2 3 5 9 15 1 1 9 17 26 13

20th Baskonia 21 1 1 9 9 25 1 3 6 6 19 10</pre>

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February 2003

The transfer window is now closed for the remainder of the season so we are relying on our existing squad to see us through. The most critical thing is to avoid any injuries to key players. Jesús has been outstanding since his arrival and Zurita has been a revelation since he came into the starting lineup. Club Captain Carlos Rivera is playing an important role in midfield and Carrión, Usta and Victor are all playing well in defence.

Sunday 2nd

An important month in our league campaign started with a visit from Almeria, the team just below us in the table. We put in a very flat and lifeless performance and a goal in each half from the visitors condemned us to a poor 2-0 defeat.

Sunday 9th

José Luis looked very uncertain in our defeat last week so I have decided to give loan signing Fernando Maestro his first start. We have travelled to 4th placed Algeciras and I feel that a win is very important to get our momentum going. We have lost our last two league games against our opponents and we need to break that streak this evening. It was an even contest but once again we failed to find an attacking spark and the game ended scoreless. Maestro played well enough to keep his starting place, but with the exception of Jesús, no one else played particularly well.

Monday 10th

Abraham will be out for 10 days after he suffered a bruised shin in training. Fortunately, Carrión should be fit enough to be back in the team for the next match.

Tuesday 11th

There was another injury in training today as Juan fell awkwardly and strained his wrist. He will be out for a week or so.

Sunday 16th

The visit of bottom club Guadix gave us an excellent chance to gat a win under our belt, something that we badly need to boost our morale. However, I still have unhappy memories of our trip there earlier in the season where we threw away 2 points by drawing a game that we should have won. We reached half time 2-0 ahead thanks to a double from Diego Martín. However, we had also hit the woodwork twice and had a penalty saved and I was worried that this would come back to haunt us. Fortunately, 2 further goals from Zurita and Pía made the game safe. Our 4-0 win was hugely welcome and it lifts us up one place to 6th, but we are still 4 points away from the playoffs.

Sunday 23rd

We have travelled to Dos Hermanas anxious to capitalise on our good result last weekend. Our hosts held us to a 1-1 draw when they visited us earlier in the season. I am becoming more convinced each week that we are fated to miss out on the playoffs once more this season. We dominated the match, created lots of scoring chances, but still ended up with an almost inevitable 1-1 draw. Dos Hermanas took the lead, totally against the run of play but a late goal from Diego Martín salvaged a point. What does it take for us to get a run of wins going?

Wednesday 26th

Javier Guerra was sidelined for 10 days after he suffered a badly bruised thigh after an over-enthusiastic tackle in training today.

I have been trying very hard not to let my negative feelings regarding our chances of making the playoffs transmit themselves to the players, but I have not been entirely successful. Spirits are quite low, despite the best attempts of my coaching staff to keep everyone positive and focused. We are still in 7th place, 4 points away from a top four place and we somehow need to get a winning streak going.

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Spanish Second Division B - Saturday 1st March 2003

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Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Betis B 25 8 4 1 23 13 8 3 1 36 22 55

2nd Ceuta 25 10 2 1 36 15 4 4 4 21 22 48

3rd Cádiz 25 9 1 3 21 12 6 2 4 20 17 48

4th Sevilla B 25 9 1 2 27 12 6 0 7 21 27 46

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5th Algeciras 25 4 5 3 17 13 8 3 2 18 13 44

6th Lanzarote 25 8 2 2 23 11 4 5 4 12 12 43

7th MOTRIL 25 7 3 3 20 11 4 6 2 14 10 42

8th Díter Zafra 25 7 3 3 17 9 4 5 3 13 14 41

9th Pájara Playas 25 5 4 3 17 12 6 3 4 15 13 40

10th Almería 25 7 2 3 18 13 5 1 7 15 18 39

11th Melilla 25 6 3 4 19 17 5 3 4 15 17 39

12th Dos Hermanas 25 6 2 4 18 16 5 3 5 25 17 38

13th Béjar Ind. 25 5 5 2 19 12 3 2 8 15 18 31

14th Málaga B 25 7 2 4 26 20 2 2 8 18 28 31

15th Horadada 25 3 7 3 9 10 3 1 8 11 16 26

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16th Alfaro 25 4 4 5 25 26 1 4 7 10 21 23

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17th Deportivo B 25 3 2 7 21 28 1 3 9 10 26 17

18th Guadix 25 3 3 6 13 17 1 1 11 17 33 16

19th Ciudad de Murcia 25 2 0 10 12 26 2 2 9 7 28 14

20th Baskonia 25 2 1 10 14 28 1 3 8 8 23 13</pre>

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March 2003

Sunday 2nd

The visit of struggling Ciudad de Murcia presented us with an ideal opportunity to get the month off to a winning start. The team delivered a sparkling first half display in which we managed the unusual feat of putting away most of our chances. Two goals from Diego Martín and one each from Pía and Usta gave us a 4-0 lead at the break. In the second half I asked the players to preserve their energies and just get men behind the ball. The remainder of the game was incident free and that suited me just fine. The only negative was a booking for Usta that means he will miss our next match.

Wednesday 5th

A rare midweek game had us making the long journey to La Coruna to tackle Deportivo B. At the extreme northwest of the country, this was just about the furthest we could possibly travel and we had to dig deep into our dwindling bank account to travel by air. Our hosts are rather unexpectedly struggling considering some of the talent they have available, and I desperately hope that our trip will be worth it. Both teams were intent on attacking and chances were created at both ends. Goals from Orife and Diego Martín gave us a 2-0 lead before Deportivo B pulled one back. A goal from Zurita before half time restored out 2-goal advantage and Pía made it 4-1 not long after the restart. I was frantically signalling that we should start to defend in numbers and hold on to our lead. Thankfully, the players responded as I had requested and we banked 3 very valuable points.

Sunday 9th

Morale has certainly been lifted by our two consecutive wins and we will need to be at our absolute best to keep our run going as league leaders Betis B come visiting. We beat them 2-1 in Betis back in October in what was probably our best performance of the season so far. We will need to put in another high-quality display to take anything from tonight's contest. There must be something about playing Betis that brings out the best in the team. Despite falling behind after just 3 minutes, a brilliant double from Diego Martín gave us a superb 2-1 win. We outplayed the league leaders and fully deserved the win, breaking their streak of 17 games unbeaten into the bargain.

Sunday 16th

Our next match involved a journey across the Straits of Gibraltar as we headed to North Africa to play Cueta. This was another big match as our hosts are currently 3rd in the table. I was really keen to try to keep our momentum going, ideally with a good win. I decided to rest Xavi Comas and give Juan a start, as the loan signing was starting to look a little jaded. I was absolutely delighted with our standard of play and we dominated the game. Zurita was in sparkling form and seemed determined to win the game on his own in the first half after he opened the scoring early on. A brace from Diego Martín after the break sealed a fine 3-0 win. Even better, this takes us into the top 4 for the first time this season.

Sunday 23rd

Our run of tough games continues with the visit of second-placed Cadiz who beat us 1-0 in a very tight contest on their own ground in November. Our injury-free spell has continued and I am able to field an unchanged side. Our confidence is high and I am reasonably hopeful that we can get another good result tonight. My mood is only improved when the visitors had a man sent off after 10 minutes. I am even happier when two more goals from the in-form Diego Martín gave us a 2-0 lead at half time. He is denied his hat trick in the second half by an offside decision - a real disappointment as he deserved the honour. The ten men pulled a goal back near the end to give us an anxious few minutes, but we held on for a 2-1 win. Our 5th straight league win has now moved us to second place, going above Cadiz on goal difference.

Sunday 30th

We closed out the month with a visit to struggling Baskonia and, if there is any justice in the world, we should extend our winning streak tonight. It's amazing the difference that a bit of confidence brings to a team and we simply blew our opponents away. Diego Martín opened the scoring to notch his 25th of the season. Carlos Rivera then scored a very rare goal and Orife made it three. Diego Martín completed his hat trick before half time and we went into the break 5-0 ahead. We just shut up shop in the second half and travelled back to Motril in jubilant mood.

Six straight wins this month, including three over teams above us in the league, have seen us storm up the table. This was exactly what we required and the mood in the team is now totally transformed compared to the end of last month. I have to pay tribute to the coaches who have worked tirelessly to keep the players spirits up and it's great to see their efforts paying off.

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Spanish Second Division B - Wednesday 2nd April 2003

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Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Betis B 31 11 4 1 34 16 9 3 3 40 27 67

2nd MOTRIL 31 10 3 3 28 13 7 6 2 26 11 60

3rd Cádiz 31 12 1 3 28 16 7 2 6 24 21 60

4th Ceuta 31 10 3 3 38 22 6 5 4 28 27 56

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5th Pájara Playas 31 8 4 3 23 14 8 3 5 21 19 55

6th Lanzarote 31 11 2 2 28 11 5 5 6 16 15 55

7th Sevilla B 31 10 2 3 31 16 6 1 9 26 34 51

8th Algeciras 31 5 6 4 18 16 9 3 4 20 19 51

9th Díter Zafra 31 8 4 4 19 11 5 7 3 18 18 50

10th Dos Hermanas 31 8 2 5 24 18 6 3 7 30 22 47

11th Melilla 31 8 4 4 29 20 5 4 6 16 22 47

12th Almería 31 8 2 5 22 19 5 3 8 17 23 44

13th Béjar Ind. 31 7 5 3 23 14 4 3 9 19 25 41

14th Alfaro 31 6 4 6 36 33 3 5 7 15 22 36

15th Málaga B 31 7 4 5 33 28 3 2 10 26 37 36

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16th Horadada 31 3 8 5 11 16 4 2 9 15 20 31

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17th Deportivo B 31 5 2 8 28 34 1 4 11 10 33 24

18th Guadix 31 3 5 7 14 20 1 1 14 17 36 18

19th Baskonia 31 3 1 12 15 34 1 4 10 12 33 17

20th Ciudad de Murcia 31 2 2 11 17 32 2 2 12 7 35 16</pre>

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April 2003

Wednesday 2nd

A make-or-break month started with a rare midweek encounter at home to struggling Horadada and an excellent opportunity to extend our winning streak. After an hour I could feel our season threatening to unravel as we were a goal down and had lost star player Jesús through injury. But late goals from Orife and Diego Martín gave us a 2-1 win and three points. Thankfully the injury to Jesús wasn't too serious - a bruised thigh keeps him out for 10 days.

Sunday 6th

We made the short trip to Malaga to face their B team tonight and our opponents sit just above the relegation places. With Jesús out, Carlos Rivera dropped back to the anchor position and Abraham came into midfield. José Luis has been brought back into the starting lineup and Fernando Maestro moved to the bench. This was a prime example of a game of two halves. We dominated the first period and a brace from Diego Martín took his tally to 30 for the season. In the second half our hosts were transformed and pressured us non-stop. However, we stayed solid at the back and managed to hold our lead for a 2-0 win.

Wednesday 9th

The season has ended prematurely for José Masegosa as a bad ankle injury in training has laid him off for at least 4 weeks.

Sunday 13th

Diter Zafra are the latest visitors to the Escribano Castilla. They still have a faint hope of making the top four so I expected a hard match. That was exactly how things turned out and there was little to choose between the two sides. Neither attack could find a way through two determined defences and the game ended in a 0-0 stalemate. There was bad news for us though, in the shape of an injury to captain Carlos Rivera. He has a badly twisted knee and will be out for 3 weeks. He should be fit for the playoffs if we manage to make it that far. Betis B guaranteed their playoff place after beating Algeciras 2-0 and the bottom three of Baskonia, Guadix and Ciudad de Murcia are all relegated.

Sunday 20th

Jesús travelled with us to Melilla and was deemed fit enough to go straight back into the team. In the absence of Carlos Rivera, the captain's armband has been passed on to the experienced Pía. Our task was made a little easier with the dismissal of a home player after 15 minutes and a superb solo goal from Zurita gave us the lead before half time. But as is often the way, the 10 men worked really hard to nullify our numeric advantage and managed an equaliser with 10 minutes remaining. We switched to a more offensive formation and a last-minute goal from Diego Martín gave us a last gasp winner.

Sunday 27th

Our last game of the month was at Alfaro and a win here would almost certainly seal our playoff place. I was able to field an unchanged side and confidence was high that we would not let things slip this time. We may have been over-confident because the home side took the lead after 13 minutes and we struggled to make much impression going forward. We improved in the second half and Diego Martín looked to have equalised but was denied by an offside decision. However, our top striker would not be denied and with 30 minutes remaining he did score. The game ended 1-1 and left us uncertain if we had secured a top four place. It took some time for the news to filter through that 5th-placed Ceuta had lost 2-1 at relegated Guadix and that we could not now be overtaken by them. The journey back to Motril was a happy one indeed as we celebrated our fine achievement.

Our wonderful run of form in the last two months had now guaranteed out place in the playoffs with two league games remaining. It was a daunting thought that our season would now be extended with another 6 games but it represented a wonderful chance to progress up to the next level.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Friday 2nd May 2003

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Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Pl Betis B 36 13 4 1 39 17 12 3 3 49 29 82

2nd Pl MOTRIL 36 11 4 3 30 14 9 7 2 31 13 71

3rd Cádiz 36 14 1 3 34 18 8 3 7 28 25 70

4th Pájara Playas 36 11 4 3 29 16 10 3 5 26 20 70

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5th Ceuta 36 12 3 3 40 22 6 7 5 29 29 64

6th Sevilla B 36 12 3 3 36 18 7 1 10 28 36 61

7th Lanzarote 36 11 4 3 33 17 5 5 8 18 19 57

8th Algeciras 36 6 6 6 19 19 10 3 5 22 20 57

9th Dos Hermanas 36 9 3 6 29 24 7 4 7 32 23 55

10th Díter Zafra 36 9 4 5 21 12 5 9 4 20 21 55

11th Almería 36 10 3 5 28 21 5 3 10 18 29 51

12th Melilla 36 9 4 5 32 23 5 4 9 17 28 50

13th Béjar Ind. 36 9 6 3 28 15 4 4 10 22 30 49

14th Alfaro 36 7 6 6 40 36 4 6 7 21 26 45

15th Málaga B 36 7 4 7 33 33 3 3 12 29 42 37

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16th Horadada 36 4 9 5 14 18 4 3 11 17 25 36

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17th R Deportivo B 36 5 2 10 29 38 2 4 13 14 40 27

18th R Guadix 36 4 6 8 16 22 1 1 16 19 40 22

19th R Ciudad de Murcia 36 4 2 12 27 40 2 2 14 7 39 22

20th R Baskonia 36 4 1 13 19 38 1 4 13 14 42 20</pre>

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May 2003

Sunday 4th

Our final home game of the league proper was against Sevilla B. Our opponents had been at the top of the table for about 3 months until a bad slump in form saw them drop down the table. They had improved recently but their playoff chance had now gone so they would be playing just for pride. A virtuoso display from Zurita, who scored twice, gave us the platform for a fine 4-0 win. Orife and Usta were our other scorers in an excellent team performance. The last playoff places in our league group were decided and Pájara Playas and Cádiz will join Betis and ourselves in the battle for promotion. Cádiz have been there or thereabouts all season but it took an excellent run of form in the latter part of the season to get Pájara Playas into the top four.

Sunday 11th

Our final game of the league program was in Canada del Rio against Pájara Playas in a match that would decide second place in the table. Zurita gave us the lead early in the first half and that’s how the score stayed until half time. The home side found an equaliser within 10 minutes of the restart with one of their few attacks of any quality. We created several more chances but failed to convert them and the match ended all square at 1-1. Avoiding defeat meant that we finished second in the overall table and, in theory at least, would give us a slightly more favourable playoff group. Betis B finished top by some distance with only 4 defeats all season, but it gave me some satisfaction that two of them had been inflicted by Motril.

Monday 12th

The playoff groups have now been announced. There are 4 groups, each of which contains a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed team from one of the 4 B Divisions. Thus we were drawn with Real Union (1st in Group 2), Terrassa (3rd in Group 3) and Talavera (4th in Group 1). Of course we have never played any of these teams before but Real Union looked like a real threat, having had just 3 defeats all season. Each team is played home and away and the group winners progress to Division Two.

Sunday 18th

Our playoff campaign started with a home game against Talavera and it was essential that we got off to a winning start. My hope was that we would win our 3 home games and look to pick up a point or two on our travels. I felt that 10 or 11 points would be good enough to win the group. Carlos Rivera was now fully fit and came back into midfield and regained the captaincy and Abraham dropped back to the bench. Usta got us off to a great start when he converted the penalty awarded after Diego Martín had been scythed down in the box. Orife doubled our advantage before half time and added a third after 60 minutes. We then shut up shop, tried to conserve our energy and saw out the 3-0 win. We were off to a Winning start, as were Real Union who had a 1-0 home win over Terrassa

Tuesday 20th

With 6 tough games to be played in a relatively short period, we have been trying to balance the need to keep some training going with the desire to keep the players as relaxed as possible. It was therefore a little disappointing to lose Sergio Larreina for two weeks through a training injury. He is one of our fringe players but could still be called upon if we lose a forward.

Wednesday 21st

The downside of the playoffs is that we have to incur a lot of extra travel expense as we must make much longer journeys than usual. For our second game we have had to travel to Terrassa, which is just to the north of Barcelona in the northeast part of the country. We can field an unchanged side and this is a game that I fancy we can take something from. The first half ended scoreless with neither side registering a shot on target. The second half was equally well matched in terms of possession and chances, but once again neither keeper was seriously threatened and it finished scoreless. Talavera had a somewhat surprising 2-1 win at home to Real Union that leaves us top of the table after 2 games.

Sunday 25th

We faced another punishing journey for game 3 as we journeyed to face Real Union. They are based in Irun which is right on the Northern coast very near the French border. I see this as a key game and we can avoid defeat then we will be in really good shape with 2 home games remaining. We got off to a dreadful start, conceding a goal after just 2 minutes. However, we fought back strongly and equalised through Zurita before the break. Then Jesús scored his first ever goal for us to five us the lead with 25 minutes to go. But less than 10 minutes later it was back to all square when the home side got their second. We finished very strongly and it took several good saves from the home keeper to deny us the win. Terrassa beat Talavera to keep the group very tight but we are still on top by a point.

Wednesday 28th

For our final game on the road we have travelled to Talavera, just south of Madrid in the centre of the country. Suat Usta still looks weary after his fine performance in our last game so he was on the bench and Xavi Comas replaced him. The home side got off to a great start, opening the scoring after just 2 minutes. But within 5 minutes it was all square when Diego Martín tucked away a penalty after he had been brought down in the area. Both sides were well matched and chances were few and far between. Talavera were denied a second goal midway through the second half by an offside decision and as the clock ticked down it looked like the points would be shared. But in the last few seconds of the game Jesús ventured forward and scored a very late winner to give us an invaluable victory. With Terrassa holding Real Union to a 1-1 draw our lead at the top increased to 3 points. With our final two playoff games at home, we now had a wonderful chance to secure promotion.

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June 2003

Sunday 1st

It was a beautiful summer evening as we prepared for the home game against Terrassa that could possibly seal our promotion. The game turned out to be a bit of a thriller, with end-to-end action for most of the 90 minutes. The visitors caught us cold early on and took the lead after 5 minutes. Fortunately star striker Diego Martín was on hand to equalise 10 minutes later. The teams traded opportunities, rather like two boxers standing toe-to-toe and trading punches. Half time came and went with the score still tied at 1-1. Then in the 53rd minute Jesús broke the deadlock with his second goal in two games. When Diego Martín added a third with 20 minutes remaining that seemed to be it. However, the visitors were far from finished and made the score 3-2 on 77 minutes later. This was followed by a glaring miss with our goal gaping and unguarded and I began to believe that lady luck was on our side. Diego Martín was denied a hat trick near the end when his fierce shot hit the post, but nonetheless the win was ours. Real Union kept alive their hopes of overtaking us by beating Talavera 2-0.

Sunday 8th

It was a sellout crowd at the Escribano Castilla for the visit of Real Union for the promotion showdown. Anything less than a defeat for us would see us secure our place in Division 2, but a win for the visitors could allow them to sneak past us. Fortunately all of our first choice players were fit and raring to go and confidence was high. We were determined not to blow our chances like we did at the end of last season. I nervously chain-smoked my way through the tensest 90 minutes of my managerial career, knowing that there was nothing more that I could do – it was all up to the players now. Our cause was not helped by an eccentric refereeing display by Senor Gonzalez in which he booked 7 players, disallowed 2 Diego Martín goals and denied the visitors what looked like a cast-iron penalty to me. With 9 minutes remaining, Diego Martín finally scored a goal that counted and I began to relax slightly. Zurita made it safe in the 87th minute and when Senor Gonzalez gave three long blasts on his whistle to signal the end of the game, our small stadium erupted. The tension of the recent weeks and months drained away, to be replaced by sheer uninhibited joy. I ran out on to the pitch, hugging every player I could get to. Our young Turk, Suat Usta had been a rock in the middle of defence and our two goalscorers had been outstanding. But more than anything else it had been a wonderful team effort and all of us, the players and the backroom staff, deserved to celebrate.

Wednesday 11th

It took a few days for the excitement to abate and to start to take in what we had achieved. I browsed through all of the final league tables to take stock of the ups and downs in all of the divisions.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish First Division - Wednesday 11th June 2003

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st C Barcelona 38 17 1 1 47 12 11 4 4 35 20 89

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Real Madrid 38 14 5 0 44 9 11 6 2 31 16 86

3rd Athletic Bilbao 38 15 4 0 46 15 6 5 8 28 38 72

4th Betis 38 13 5 1 32 7 7 5 7 26 28 70

5th Espanyol 38 13 3 3 53 30 4 4 11 27 48 58

6th Villarreal 38 10 5 4 43 28 6 5 8 26 32 58

7th Mallorca 38 9 3 7 38 35 7 5 7 33 38 56

8th Celta 38 11 4 4 41 23 4 6 9 22 39 55

9th Atlético Madrid 38 9 9 1 23 10 4 6 9 18 24 54

10th Sevilla 38 11 6 2 36 18 3 6 10 26 35 54

11th Deportivo 38 11 2 6 35 25 4 5 10 27 39 52

12th Valencia 38 9 5 5 28 20 5 5 9 23 27 52

13th Real Sociedad 38 7 6 6 35 31 6 4 9 36 42 49

14th Tenerife 38 4 8 7 32 38 4 5 10 24 36 37

15th Zaragoza 38 5 8 6 26 23 3 4 12 15 41 36

16th Osasuna 38 6 6 7 34 32 2 5 12 17 39 35

17th Racing Santander 38 6 5 8 33 36 2 4 13 14 41 33

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18th R Xerez 38 8 4 7 27 28 0 5 14 17 39 33

19th R Málaga 38 6 2 11 29 37 2 5 12 23 42 31

20th R Alavés 38 5 8 6 28 30 1 5 13 19 46 31

*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Wednesday 11th June 2003

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st C Hércules 42 17 2 2 44 16 9 5 7 39 30 85

2nd P Leganés 42 11 7 3 44 24 13 3 5 40 34 82

3rd P Rayo 42 14 3 4 36 23 7 8 6 35 37 74

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Elche 42 11 5 5 38 21 8 8 5 27 25 70

5th Burgos 42 11 7 3 39 27 8 5 8 34 36 69

6th Oviedo 42 12 5 4 41 30 6 9 6 36 34 68

7th Badajoz 42 10 8 3 26 15 8 4 9 24 25 66

8th Valladolid 42 10 5 6 31 19 6 9 6 25 25 62

9th Sporting Gijón 42 10 4 7 37 22 7 7 7 24 22 62

10th Recreativo 42 10 10 1 43 27 4 8 9 27 31 60

11th Las Palmas 42 12 5 4 31 20 5 4 12 23 37 60

12th Lleida 42 11 3 7 33 27 7 0 14 19 29 57

13th Levante 42 9 2 10 30 35 8 4 9 36 35 57

14th Córdoba 42 10 7 4 40 29 4 5 12 31 42 54

15th Cartagonova 42 12 4 5 32 22 3 4 14 16 34 53

16th Albacete 42 9 6 6 39 32 4 8 9 30 47 53

17th Salamanca 42 6 10 5 38 31 4 5 12 27 40 45

18th Murcia 42 5 9 7 26 29 5 6 10 24 38 45

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19th R Numancia 42 8 3 10 34 37 3 7 11 30 47 43

20th R Compostela 42 6 10 5 25 24 1 12 8 16 25 43

21st R Ejido 42 6 3 12 26 33 1 3 17 10 39 27

22nd R Getafe 42 6 7 8 27 39 0 1 20 9 48 26

*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division B - Wednesday 11th June 2003

*******************************************************************************************

Group 1

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Ourense 38 12 7 0 37 16 10 3 6 41 32 76

2nd P Extremadura 38 11 4 4 36 18 12 2 5 28 19 75

3rd Zamora 38 11 6 2 41 21 9 3 7 32 30 69

4th Talavera 38 12 3 4 33 18 7 2 10 20 32 62

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Toledo 38 15 3 1 37 10 3 4 12 19 35 61

6th Pontevedra 38 12 3 4 34 21 5 6 8 27 36 60

7th Langreo 38 13 4 2 40 18 5 2 12 20 30 60

8th Racing B 38 10 1 8 33 24 7 5 7 29 31 57

9th Ponferradina 38 12 3 4 33 20 3 9 7 13 22 57

10th Ãvila 38 12 3 4 32 23 4 5 10 17 29 56

11th Cultural 38 12 2 5 42 26 4 6 9 22 27 56

12th Marino 38 9 5 5 30 16 6 4 9 32 38 54

13th Avilés 38 11 4 4 38 20 4 5 10 18 25 54

14th Lugo 38 9 7 3 42 31 4 5 10 24 36 51

15th Ferrol 38 8 8 3 26 15 3 6 10 24 28 47

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Jaén 38 7 5 7 34 31 6 2 11 28 36 46

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th R Jerez 38 11 2 6 34 28 2 5 12 19 43 46

18th R Ribadesella 38 7 4 8 22 23 1 5 13 14 34 33

19th R Endesa As Pontes 38 4 7 8 16 19 1 2 16 8 38 24

20th R Compostela B 38 3 2 14 21 50 0 2 17 13 60 13

Group 2

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Real Unión 38 16 2 1 56 20 11 6 2 33 15 89

2nd Éibar 38 13 3 3 31 15 11 2 6 42 30 77

3rd Gernika 38 16 1 2 44 18 4 9 6 27 31 70

4th Linares 38 13 5 1 42 24 6 5 8 27 33 67

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Calahorra 38 10 6 3 38 23 9 3 7 26 26 66

6th Real Madrid B 38 13 2 4 60 33 7 2 10 33 37 64

7th Conquense 38 13 4 2 35 10 5 2 12 14 27 60

8th Alavés B 38 10 6 3 31 18 6 4 9 22 28 58

9th Logroñés 38 8 5 6 47 39 7 7 5 39 34 57

10th At. Madrid B 38 9 5 5 31 20 6 6 7 29 29 56

11th Aurrerá 38 10 6 3 34 24 4 3 12 25 42 51

12th Noja 38 8 4 7 30 27 4 7 8 23 25 47

13th Peña Sport 38 9 5 5 35 26 3 6 10 24 34 47

14th Amurrio 38 8 6 5 35 28 3 7 9 25 39 46

15th Arenas 38 6 7 6 22 22 5 4 10 25 36 44

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Athletic B 38 8 8 3 29 24 2 6 11 15 36 44

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th R Chantrea 38 6 7 6 28 22 3 3 13 26 45 37

18th R Alcalá 38 8 2 9 18 19 0 7 12 14 37 33

19th R Durango 38 5 7 7 31 38 1 1 17 16 54 26

20th R Aranjuez 38 1 2 16 9 46 0 3 16 11 48 8

Group 3

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Castellón 38 13 3 3 37 17 11 4 4 31 19 79

2nd P Novelda 38 12 3 4 42 23 10 5 4 43 25 74

3rd Terrassa 38 10 5 4 39 23 12 3 4 39 29 74

4th Benidorm 38 13 2 4 41 20 8 4 7 26 23 69

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Sabadell 38 12 6 1 38 21 6 4 9 28 31 64

6th Figueres 38 12 1 6 47 36 6 5 8 29 33 60

7th Palamós 38 9 6 4 29 21 7 5 7 28 28 59

8th Hospitalet 38 11 4 4 44 26 4 4 11 24 41 53

9th Reus 38 10 4 5 37 29 5 4 10 25 32 53

10th Gramanet 38 10 4 5 42 27 5 4 10 31 36 53

11th Barakaldo 38 10 7 2 29 22 2 9 8 18 23 52

12th Binéfar 38 8 4 7 35 37 6 3 10 31 36 49

13th Mallorca B 38 5 4 10 29 41 6 8 5 37 35 45

14th Nástic 38 5 5 9 26 31 7 4 8 39 43 45

15th Mataró 38 8 3 8 36 33 5 3 11 36 43 45

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th At. Baleares 38 7 4 8 19 19 6 2 11 26 34 45

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th R Europa 38 6 6 7 19 22 5 4 10 21 34 43

18th R Orihuela 38 6 5 8 41 41 4 2 13 22 47 37

19th R Valencia B 38 7 1 11 31 53 3 4 12 26 50 35

20th R Barcelona C 38 3 7 9 21 30 1 3 15 12 40 22

Group 4

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Betis B 38 14 4 1 42 17 12 4 3 50 30 86

2nd P MOTRIL 38 12 4 3 34 14 9 8 2 32 14 75

3rd P Pájara Playas 38 11 5 3 30 17 11 3 5 29 21 74

4th Cádiz 38 14 2 3 34 18 8 4 7 31 28 72

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Ceuta 38 13 3 3 43 23 7 7 5 31 29 70

6th Lanzarote 38 12 4 3 35 18 6 5 8 22 20 63

7th Sevilla B 38 12 4 3 38 20 7 1 11 28 40 62

8th Algeciras 38 6 7 6 20 20 11 3 5 24 21 61

9th Díter Zafra 38 10 4 5 25 13 5 9 5 21 23 58

10th Dos Hermanas 38 9 4 6 32 27 7 4 8 33 26 56

11th Almería 38 11 3 5 32 22 5 4 10 19 30 55

12th Béjar Ind. 38 10 6 3 29 15 4 4 11 23 34 52

13th Melilla 38 9 4 6 33 26 5 4 10 17 29 50

14th Alfaro 38 7 6 6 40 36 4 8 7 26 31 47

15th Horadada 38 4 10 5 15 19 4 4 11 18 26 38

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th R Málaga B 38 7 4 8 34 37 3 3 13 30 46 37

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17th R Deportivo B 38 5 4 10 33 42 2 4 13 14 40 29

18th R Guadix 38 5 6 8 21 26 1 2 16 19 40 26

19th R Ciudad de Murcia 38 4 2 13 27 42 2 2 15 7 42 22

20th R Baskonia 38 4 1 14 20 40 1 4 14 18 47 20

Promotion Group A

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st P Novelda 6 3 0 0 11 5 2 0 1 4 2 15

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Zamora 6 2 0 1 5 4 2 0 1 6 3 12

3rd Betis B 6 2 0 1 5 4 1 0 2 6 10 9

4th Linares 6 0 0 3 2 6 0 0 3 3 8 0

Promotion Group B

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st P Pájara Playas 6 1 2 0 4 2 1 2 0 4 3 10

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Benidorm 6 1 1 1 5 4 1 1 1 6 6 8

3rd Éibar 6 1 1 1 5 5 1 1 1 4 5 8

4th Ourense 6 1 1 1 5 5 0 1 2 2 5 5

Promotion Group C

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st P MOTRIL 6 3 0 0 8 2 1 2 0 4 3 14

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Real Unión 6 2 1 0 5 2 0 1 2 2 5 8

3rd Talavera 6 2 0 1 7 4 0 0 3 0 7 6

4th Terrassa 6 1 2 0 3 1 0 0 3 3 8 5

Promotion Group D

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st P Extremadura 6 2 1 0 4 2 3 0 0 9 3 16

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Cádiz 6 2 0 1 5 4 0 2 1 2 4 8

3rd Castellón 6 1 1 1 4 6 1 0 2 3 5 7

4th Gernika 6 1 0 2 5 5 0 0 3 3 6 3</pre>

Sunday 15th

With the players all taking a well-deserved rest after a tough season, I met with the coaches to discuss our preparations for the forthcoming season in a new Division. We all fully expected a tough time moving up a level and we agreed that we had to try to strengthen the playing staff, although with out poor financial position that would be far from easy. I was not yet prepared to use the funds that remained from my lottery windfall – that was being saved in case our situation became too desperate. We agreed that some of this season’s top performers should be capable of stepping up a level, but most of the squad would probably struggle. Jesús, Diego Martín, Suat Usta, José Miguel Zurita, Victor and Carlos Rivera had all played consistently well. Luis Miguel Carrión, Rodolfo Andrés Orife and José Luis had also played well but the remainder of the squad were not really good enough. We certainly needed a backup keeper, and I really wanted to strengthen the defence. So armed with a shopping list of likely prospects, the scouts and myself started the search for cheap talent that would like to join us

Sunday 22nd

Diego Martín was voted the Supporter’s Player of the year. This caps a wonderful season for him, as he was also the top scorer in Division 2B with 36 goals. We have also negotiated new contracts with Zurita and Victor in light of their good performances this season.

Sunday 29th

Youngster Alexis has been released at the end of his contract as we could see no future for him at the club. Good news on the playing front as we have secured the services of several players on season-long loans. We are joined by Juan Ugarte (22, Spanish F C) from Real Sociedad, Javier Musa (24, Argentinean, SW/D C) and Oscar Jornet (25, Spanish, D C), both from Badajoz.

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July 2003

Wednesday 2nd

Another loan signing has been secured as Roberto Fernandez Alverellos (24, Spanish, GK) arrives from Sporting Gijon. Roberto, as he is known, will be a useful backup for José Luis, and if he shapes up he may well make a starting slot.

Sunday 6th

We have accepted an offer of €22K from La Baneza for Cristian Iván Murúa as the young midfielder is surplus to our plans. We have also heard that there are several teams chasing Juan Antonia Leal for their coaching staff. He has been invaluable since we switched him from the scouting team so I have made a counter-offer to see if we can keep him. I am not hopeful as his wage demands were much higher than I was prepared to pay and I don’t think that he will accept our offer.

Thursday 10th

José Antonio Mateos has contacted me to let me know that he has decided to retire. The 33-year-old knows that he is unlikely to get many playing opportunities and wants to look for work outside the game.

Friday 11th

As I suspected, Juan Antonia Leal has rejected my offer and he will shortly take up a coaching position at Second Division Malaga. I wish him well and look forward to meeting him in the league later this season.

Saturday 12th

It looks like we may lose another coach as Hector Gil has received an offer from Badajoz. I have made a counter-offer as Hector is a very gifted coach, but once again I feel that I may not be able to offer enough money.

Monday 14th

My fears regarding Hector Gil were realised as he refused our offer and leaves the club.

August 2003

As the month progressed we gradually stepped up the intensity of the training sessions to ensure that the players returned to full fitness after their well-deserved summer break. Our financial situation is now much healthier as season ticket sales have picked up in anticipation of playing at a higher level. But with a stadium that can hold only 6,000 we will undoubtedly struggle to balance our budget. It will help that we are not paying any wages for our loan signings but we will face increased travel costs. We now play in national division rather than a regional one. This will necessitate flying to more games rather than being able to travel by coach, which will obviously be more expensive.

Saturday 16th

Another player has arrived on long-term loan. Pablo Box (24, Spanish M RC) has arrived from Villarreal for the rest of the season. We now have 5 players in on loan and it is proving to be the most effective way to strengthen the playing staff.

Sunday 24th

Our first game in the Second Division is an away match against Badajoz. We have a few players out injured. Abraham is out for a month with a twisted ankle, José Masegosa is out for a week with a shoulder injury and Javier Guerra is recovering from a serious leg injury and is some months from fitness. Our starting lineup featured 4 of our loan players and looks like this.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre"> Diego Martín

Juan Ugarte

Pablo Box Carlos Rivera(capt) José Miguel Zurita

Luis Miguel Carrión Jesús Victor

Javier Musa Oscar Jornet

José Luis</pre>

We are continuing with the formation that worked so well for us last season and see how it works out at a higher level. The two teams are fairly evenly matched and despite losing Juan Ugarte to injury midway through the first half, a goal after 32 minutes by captain Carlos Rivera gives us a narrow 1-0 win and a very pleasing start to life in Division 2.

Wednesday 27th

We travel some 400 kilometres north to Toledo for our Spanish Cup Preliminary Round game without the influential Jesús as he has picked up a groin strain in training. Pía replaces him and Orife comes in for Juan Ugarte. During the first half Diego Martín spurns half a dozen good scoring chances but finally finds the target with 30 minutes remaining. He then reaches the landmark of his 50th goal for Motril 10 minutes before the end. Another excellent performance by José Luis helps us to keep a clean sheet to give us a good 2-0 win.

Thursday 28th

Scout Gustavo Caceres has accepted an offer from Badajoz and leaves us to take a scouting post with them despite an offer of an improved contract. I start to step up my efforts to find good replacements for the backroom staff that we have lost recently.

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September 2003

Sunday 7th

Before making the long journey to Gijón on the North Coast of the country we secure the services of a new Scout and Coach, both from Argentina. Pablo Alegre is 38 and joins the scouting staff and 39-year-old Horacio Estevez comes on board as a coach. A very steady performance is rewarded with another Diego Martín goal after 20 minutes. We appear to be heading to another good win when captain Carlos Rivera makes a rash 2-footed challenge in the area and is immediately dismissed. José Luis is unable to save the resulting penalty and we have to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Monday 8th

I receive news that Carlos Rivera will serve a 4-match ban for his dismissal. I have no option but to give our captain an official warning but he is mature enough to accept that it is deserved. We have also agreed a €450K fee with Portuguese club Vitoria Setabul for their Brazilian attacking midfielder Jorginho and the 26-year old will join during the December transfer window.

Sunday 14th

Our first home league match of the season is against old rivals Cartagonova who were promoted to the Second Division during my first season in charge. Rodri comes in to central midfield to replace the suspended Carlos Rivera and José Luis takes over the captaincy. Rodri has not been able to hold down a starting position since his arrival in my first season in charge and this represents an opportunity for him to make an impression. We start well and have the better of the early exchanges before José Miguel Zurita gets his first goal of the season to open the scoring. Ten minutes after the restart the notoriously strict referee, Rafael Ramirez Dominguez brandishes the red card to Oscar Jornet for an innocuous push and we are down to 10 men. Our opponents get the ball in the net almost immediately but I am relieved to see the linesman flag for offside. We tighten up at the back and manage to see out time for a 1-0 win. Rodri plays fairly well but our best performer is Javier Musa in the centre of defence.

Wednesday 17th

I get news that my appeal against Oscar Jornet’s one match ban has been dismissed. I sincerely hope that this will be the end of the matter and that the Spanish FA will not indulge in their usual habit of extending the ban.

Friday 19th

After extended negotiations we have agreed the signing of Weimar Franck Olivares on a free transfer. He has been training with us for some time and has looked quite impressive. The 27-year-old Colombian midfielder is out of contract and will join the squad permanently in the December transfer window.

Sunday 21st

For our next match at home to the powerful Cordoba, Jesús is fit to return to the lineup and Pía drops into central defence to replace the suspended Oscar Jornet. Unfortunately our friend Senor Dominguez officiates once more – I hope that he will not be too upset by my criticism of his performance last week. We get off to a great start when Juan Ugarte gets his first goal for us after just 7 minutes. It was a bit of a fluke to be honest – an over hit pass that the Cordoba keeper misjudged, but I’ll take it nonetheless. After 27 minutes Pía limps off injured and is replaced by Suat Usta. The visitors, two places above us in the table, are a strong team and we are under pressure for most of the game. We reach half time still ahead but continue to be pressured in the second half. With Javier Musa as solid as a rock in defence and José Luis in good form in goal, we continue to keep them at bay. Then in the 85th minute, José Miguel Zurita makes things safe with a beautifully taken goal to give us a great 2-0 win. This moves us up to second in the table and I am very encouraged with our performances. The fans seem to be too as both of our home games have been virtual sell-outs. We do have bad news concerning Pía as his ankle injury will keep him out for a month.

Tuesday 23rd

Abraham is now back in full training after his ankle injury but he may struggle to regain his place as Victor has played well in his absence.

Saturday 27th

Luis Miguel Carrión missed training today, much to my disappointment. When I eventually reach him by telephone I have to inform him that he will not be in the team tomorrow and that I expect him to be more professional in the future. He acknowledges his mistake and we agree to let the matter rest.

Sunday 28th

We close the month out with a trip to Vitoria near the northern border with France to play Alavés. With Carrión not playing, I move Jesús to left wingback, keep Suat Usta in defence and play central defender Oscar Jornet, now back from suspension, in the holding midfield position. Abraham is amongst the substitutes as I don’t want to rush him back from injury but he may need to replace Jornet if the centre back is struggling in his unaccustomed position. Our opponents were relegated from Division One last season and I expect them to provide very tough competition. We have a torrid time of it in the first half and are fortunate to reach the break just one goal down, thanks mainly to José Luis. However, we put in a much-improved performance in the second half and are unfortunate not to gain the equaliser that our fine play deserved. My concerns about playing Jornet out of position were unfounded as he put in a very good performance indeed.

So we reach then end of our first month in Division Two with just a single narrow defeat and sitting in 3rd place in the table – much more than I expected a few weeks ago.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Sunday 28th September 2003

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Elche 5 2 1 0 6 1 1 1 0 3 2 11

2nd Valladolid 5 2 0 1 5 3 1 1 0 1 0 10

3rd MOTRIL 5 2 0 0 3 0 1 1 1 2 2 10

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Málaga 5 2 1 0 5 2 1 0 1 4 5 10

5th Burgos 5 2 0 0 6 3 1 0 2 2 4 9

6th Alavés 5 2 0 0 4 0 1 0 2 5 6 9

7th Novelda 6 1 2 0 8 5 1 1 1 9 10 9

8th Salamanca 5 1 1 0 3 1 1 1 1 4 3 8

9th Oviedo 5 1 0 1 1 1 1 2 0 10 8 8

10th Las Palmas 5 1 2 0 4 3 1 0 1 2 2 8

11th Córdoba 5 0 1 1 2 3 2 0 1 7 6 7

12th Extremadura 6 1 1 1 4 4 1 0 2 2 5 7

13th Xerez 5 2 0 1 5 3 0 0 2 0 4 6

14th Cartagonova 5 1 0 1 6 7 0 2 1 3 4 5

15th Albacete 5 0 1 1 3 5 1 1 1 3 5 5

16th Lleida 5 1 1 0 5 2 0 1 2 3 7 5

17th Recreativo 5 0 1 2 2 6 1 1 0 4 1 5

18th Pájara Playas 5 0 2 1 6 7 1 0 1 2 3 5

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19th Murcia 5 1 0 2 7 8 0 1 1 3 4 4

20th Badajoz 5 1 0 2 2 3 0 1 1 1 2 4

21st Sporting Gijón 5 1 1 1 5 3 0 0 2 0 5 4

22nd Levante 5 0 1 1 0 3 0 2 1 3 4 3</pre>

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October 2003

Wednesday 1st

We start October with a rare midweek game at home to Malaga. Our opponents are another team relegated from the First Division last year and as they are just below us in the table I expect another tough encounter. This is made more likely by the number of players that I have to rest as they have not fully recovered from our match at the weekend. The visitors have most of the first half possession although they don’t create many clear opportunities. Against the run of play Francis gives us the lead just before the break. Much to my surprise José Masegosa puts us 2-0 ahead with 30 minutes remaining. Unfortunately we lose concentration and Malaga pull a goal back straight from the restart. They complete their recovery when they get the equaliser with 6 minutes remaining and the game ends 2-2. I would have gratefully accepted a point before the kick off but it is nonetheless disappointing to lose a 2-goal lead.

Sunday 5th

For our home game against Albacete most of our first choice players are available again although Francis keeps his place in the left of midfield after a good performance in midweek. Carlos Rivera is available after suspension but sits on the bench and Pablo Box moves to the centre of midfield. The visitors catch us cold and are denied a first-minute lead by an offside decision. We gradually start to assert ourselves and in the 29th minute Zurita scores to gives us a lead that we hold till half time. The visitors equalise 10 minutes after the restart and, despite further chances for both sides, a 1-1 draw is the final score.

Wednesday 8th

A particularly enthusiastic training session has some unfortunate consequences as Oscar Jornet, Francis and Carlos Rivera all pick up injuries, none of them serious.

Sunday 12th

For our next match we travel to Salamanca, some 200 kilometres northeast of Madrid. We play well for the first 30 minutes or so and José Miguel Zurita gives us a 1-0 lead. But then Pablo Box suffers an injury and is replaced by Diego. This seems to disrupt our rhythm and the home team quickly equalise. It gets worse in the second half as José Luis has one of his rare poor games and Salamanca score a couple of soft goals to give us a 3-1 defeat, our worst of the season so far. Pablo Box is later diagnosed with strained knee ligaments and will miss three weeks of football action.

Wednesday 15th

Struggling Lleida visit the Escribano Castilla for an infrequent midweek match. Carlos Rivera is brought back in to replace the injured Pablo Box and Rodri replaces a tired Zurita who sits on the bench. The team in general, and Diego Martín in particular, do everything but score. Our striker does find the back of the net once but is denied by an offside decision and we have to settle for a scoreless draw. Such is the competitive nature of the division that we drop from 5th to 10th place in the table!

Sunday 19th

We now face an away game at last season’s Division 2B rivals Extremadura. I have decided to bring Abraham into midfield to replace Rodri and Zurita is back in the starting line up. The first period is fairly even but we are unfortunate to concede a goal in stoppage time at the end of the half. We fall further behind after 60 minutes and are really struggling to put together any attacking moves of quality. I replace a sluggish looking Diego Martín with Rodolfo Andrés Orife but we still fail to make any impression. The home side score once again before the end to condemn us to a poor 3-0 defeat.

Sunday 26th

A home game against struggling Levante gives us a good chance to regain the momentum that we have lost recently. We start positively, creating a couple of chances and having a strong penalty appeal turned down. However, we fail to capitalise and the visitors gradually start to get back into the game. The first half ends scoreless but Levante take the lead just 5 minutes after the restart. I once again replace Diego Martín with Orife but we can’t find a way back and end with a very disappointing defeat. This is a terribly disappointing end to the month and our recent poor run has now seen us drop to 18th place, just one position above the relegation places.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Monday 27th October 2003

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Málaga 11 5 1 0 14 4 3 1 1 11 9 26

2nd Elche 11 4 1 0 10 2 2 2 2 8 11 21

3rd Alavés 11 4 2 0 12 4 2 0 3 10 9 20

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Recreativo 11 3 1 2 10 8 2 2 1 7 4 18

5th Valladolid 11 3 2 1 9 4 1 3 1 6 7 17

6th Novelda 11 3 2 0 16 7 1 2 3 13 18 16

7th Albacete 11 2 2 2 9 9 2 2 1 6 7 16

8th Burgos 11 2 3 0 11 8 2 0 4 8 11 15

9th Salamanca 11 2 3 1 8 5 1 3 1 7 6 15

10th Cartagonova 11 3 1 2 15 15 1 2 2 8 7 15

11th Córdoba 11 1 3 1 8 7 2 2 2 10 11 14

12th Badajoz 11 3 0 3 5 6 1 2 2 7 10 14

13th Sporting Gijón 11 4 1 1 16 7 0 1 4 4 12 14

14th Las Palmas 11 1 3 2 7 8 2 1 2 5 5 13

15th Extremadura 11 3 1 1 10 5 1 0 5 5 12 13

16th Oviedo 11 1 1 3 4 7 2 3 1 15 12 13

17th Pájara Playas 11 1 2 2 9 10 2 2 2 7 6 13

18th MOTRIL 11 2 3 1 6 4 1 1 3 3 8 13

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19th Levante 11 2 1 2 5 7 1 2 3 5 10 12

20th Lleida 11 1 2 2 8 11 1 2 3 6 10 10

21st Xerez 11 2 1 2 7 8 1 0 5 3 12 10

22nd Murcia 11 2 0 3 12 13 0 3 3 5 14 9</pre>

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Doctor Who:

I hope the team will find a form that matches your writing standards. KUTGW icon14.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think it already has Doctor icon_wink.gif

November 2003

Sunday 2nd

We start November with a long journey to Burgos, some 100 kilometres south of Bilbao. This game confirms that our luck has deserted us, temporarily at least. There isn’t too much to choose between the teams in terms of possession or opportunities but we still find ourselves 3-0 down after 25 minutes. Even an injury to our influential captain Carlos Rivera doesn’t break our spirit and we pull a goal back early in the second half as substitute Kévin Jacmot scores his first goal for the club. But our hope of a recovery was dashed two minutes later when a harsh penalty decision goes against us. A 4-1 defeat was an unfair reflection on the player’s efforts. More bad news follows as the injury to our club captain is serious – a damaged knee that will keep him out for 2 months.

Wednesday 5th

We finalised details of what will become our biggest ever transfer deal as struggling First Division club Hércules agree to sell defender Sergio Hérnandez Torres (Sergio) for €1.5M. I am looking for the experienced 29-year-old to bring some added stability to the centre of our defence.

Sunday 9th

We work hard all week in preparation for the visit of Oviedo to the Escribano Castilla and once again we more than match the efforts of our opponents for the bulk of the game. We are encouraged by an early goal from Juan Ugarte but the visitors equalise some 10 minutes later. We reach the break still tied but within minutes of the restart we fall behind. However we keep plugging away and Ugarte scores a second within 5 minutes to take us level. Despite creating a number of good chances we can’t find our way past the visiting keeper and Oviedo score twice more on the break as we chase the game. So once again we get no reward for our good play and the 4-2 defeat sees us drop into the bottom four.

Sunday 16th

Our next game involves a relatively short trip to the east to play Murcia who are currently bottom of the table. This is a must-win game for us I feel and if we fail to take full points here then we will really be in deep trouble. I have made a few changes for this game to try to turn our fortunes around. Keeper José Luis has looked uncertain in the last couple of games so I give the on-loan Roberto his first start. Oscar Jornet comes into central defence and the fit gain Pablo Box comes into midfield. We are finding goals really hard to come by so I decide that Kévin Jacmot will get a start and Orife replaces the unhappy Diego Martín up front. Diego is unhappy with his current contract but is refusing to discuss a new offer so I am hoping that a seat on the bench may encourage him to start talking.

By the end of the game I know that we are in deep trouble. We start brightly and Jacmot is unlucky to have a goal disallowed for an offside decision. But then the youngster limps off with an injury and is replaced by Rodri. Within minutes the whole match changes when Jesús holds back a Murcia attacker and is sent off after he is deemed to be the last man. The home side convert the penalty and score again before half time. They add two more as we struggle with ten men. We gain a consolation penalty near the end but the 4-1 loss is a disaster as far as I am concerned. The news on Jacmot is also bad as he will be out of action for at least 4 weeks.

Sunday 23rd

The visit of second place Elche does not appear to offer much hope of a badly needed win but I am pleasantly surprised when Juan Ugarte opens the scoring after 10 minutes. But once again the curse of Motril strikes when Suat Usta, playing in front of the back four, concedes a penalty and is sent off. For the second match in succession we are forced to play with 10 men and the visitors overwhelm us and run out 4-1 winners. The players are really starting to get dispirited now and I have to confess that privately I share their feelings but I cannot allow myself to appear downhearted.

Sunday 30th

We travel to Canada del Rio for our final game of a terrible month against Pájara Playas. Our opponents are just above us in the table on goal difference so a win here would give us a major boost. But it has been very difficult for the coaching staff to raise the players and we go into the game with 5 players unavailable through injuries and suspensions. Our resources are spread so thinly that we struggle to fill the bench with every available player being called upon to make the trip. The game itself is none too exciting and it ends scoreless so at least we break our 6-game losing streak. But a point is not a great deal of help, especially against one of our fellow relegation strugglers. So at the end of one of the worst months in my time at the club we are well and truly in the mire.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Sunday 30th November 2003

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Málaga 16 7 1 0 21 6 4 3 1 18 15 37

2nd Elche 16 6 2 0 17 7 3 3 2 13 13 32

3rd Oviedo 16 4 1 3 9 7 4 3 1 22 16 28

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Sporting Gijón 16 5 2 1 20 9 3 1 4 13 14 27

5th Alavés 16 6 2 0 18 5 2 0 6 13 16 26

6th Levante 16 4 2 2 11 9 3 2 3 10 11 25

7th Valladolid 16 4 2 2 14 9 2 3 3 10 12 23

8th Burgos 16 4 4 0 19 11 2 1 5 11 17 23

9th Novelda 16 5 2 1 21 9 1 2 5 15 25 22

10th Badajoz 16 4 1 3 7 7 2 3 3 11 14 22

11th Las Palmas 16 2 4 2 11 11 3 2 3 10 11 21

12th Cartagonova 16 5 1 2 18 16 1 2 5 10 12 21

13th Salamanca 16 2 5 1 11 8 2 4 2 10 11 21

14th Extremadura 16 5 2 1 14 7 1 1 6 5 14 21

15th Recreativo 16 4 1 3 15 12 2 2 4 10 11 21

16th Albacete 16 2 2 4 12 16 3 2 3 9 12 19

17th Córdoba 16 2 4 2 12 11 2 3 3 12 14 19

18th Xerez 16 4 2 2 13 11 1 1 6 4 15 18

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19th Pájara Playas 16 1 3 4 10 16 2 2 4 9 11 14

20th MOTRIL 16 2 3 3 9 12 1 2 5 5 16 14

21st Lleida 16 1 3 4 10 15 1 4 3 9 13 13

22nd Murcia 16 3 0 5 19 21 0 3 5 6 18 12</pre>

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by OMDave:

Don't know how you can keep up all those stories at the same time, but the quality doesn't seem to be suffering the least bit...

Most prolific author on CMS?

icon14.gificon_cool.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I am making a bid for Terk's "Story Whore" crown icon_wink.gif

December 2003

Sunday 7th

The terrible form of the team over that past couple of months is really making we wonder if I an deluding myself by believing that I am capable of managing the team at this level, as nothing I have done in terms of tactics or team selection has made any discernable difference. But in spite of my own worries, I am determined that I will not allow the players to have any indication of my concerns. If the manager can’t be positive then there is no chance that the team will recover from their poor position.

So it’s a new month and the visit of Xerez offers us a wonderful opportunity as they are just a couple of places above us. Orife gets us off to a tremendous start with a goal inside 5 minutes and Zurita scores a second 15 minutes later to take us into the break with a 2-0 lead. The dressing room is buzzing and I encourage the players to keep up their excellent work. But it all goes dreadfully wrong in the second half as the visitors claw back first one goal and then a second. I frantically make changes during the half to try to shore things up but when Xerez score a third in stoppage time I am almost reduced to tears. I just cannot believe that we have squandered such a glorious opportunity with our poor second half performance.

Wednesday 10th

We take a break from our traumas in the league when we entertain Recreativo in the first round of the Spanish Cup. A truly appalling opening 15 minutes sees the visitors score three times as Roberto seems unable to stop anything played in his general direction. After 25 minutes Abraham picks up a knock so I bring on Jesús and I replace Roberto with José Luis. There is no further scoring and our cup adventure is over allowing us to concentrate on out league survival.

Sunday 14th

The mood on the relatively short journey towards Alicante for our match against Novelda was sombre and there seemed to be little that the coaches and I could do the buoy up the team’s spirits. We desperately need success on the pitch and that seems unlikely against a team 8th in the table. We have Jesús back in the starting linuep after his suspension so that gives me some encouragement. I watch in disbelief as first Juan Ugarte and then José Miguel Zurita score to put us 2-0 ahead before half time. We are playing as well as we have all season and make some great chances, none of which are taken. But in the second half my worst fears are confirmed as the home side score twice to draw level. But with a last throw of the dice I replace Orife with Diego Martín and within a minute of his arrival he scores what proves to be the winning goal. Zurita is absolutely outstanding and he provided the creative spark for the win. The bad news is that our left sided defender Luis Miguel Carrión was injured during the game and will be sidelined for 3 weeks.

Monday 15th

After our rare win we are boosted further with the arrival of three new players as the transfer window opens. Jorginho, Weimar Franck Olivares and Sergio should all help strengthen the squad for the relegation battle ahead.

Sunday 21st

I make a few changes for the visit of Valladolid in our last match before the Christmas break. With Carrión injured I move Jesús to the left and Sergio starts in front of the central defenders in the crucial holding position. Jorginho and Olivares start on the bench and Diego Martín regains his place up front event though he still refuses to discuss his contract. Juan Ugarte gives us an unexpected lead after 20 minutes and we hold on until 10 minutes from time when the visitors equalise. On balance I am very happy to take the 1-1 draw as this was a game that I did not expect to take anything from at all. Sergio made a very impressive debut even though he was really playing out of position and I have high hopes for our record signing. Despite a big improvement in our results this month we end up dropping down a place to 21st as our relegation rivals have also been picking up points but I am a bit more encouraged by our recent improvement.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Sunday 21st December 2003

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Málaga 19 8 1 1 24 9 5 3 1 19 15 43

2nd Oviedo 19 5 1 3 11 8 6 3 1 26 18 37

3rd Elche 19 7 2 0 20 8 3 3 4 16 20 35

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Alavés 19 7 3 0 23 8 2 1 6 15 18 31

5th Sporting Gijón 19 6 2 2 24 11 3 2 4 15 16 31

6th Burgos 19 5 4 1 22 13 3 1 5 12 17 29

7th Badajoz 19 5 1 3 9 8 3 4 3 13 15 29

8th Levante 19 5 2 3 16 14 3 2 4 10 13 28

9th Valladolid 19 5 2 2 17 9 2 4 4 11 16 27

10th Novelda 19 5 2 2 23 12 2 2 6 18 29 25

11th Xerez 19 4 3 2 15 13 3 1 6 10 18 25

12th Salamanca 19 3 6 1 15 11 2 4 3 11 14 25

13th Las Palmas 19 2 5 2 13 13 4 2 4 13 14 25

14th Extremadura 19 6 2 2 16 8 1 1 7 6 16 24

15th Recreativo 19 4 1 4 15 13 3 2 5 13 14 24

16th Córdoba 19 2 5 2 13 12 3 3 4 16 18 23

17th Albacete 19 3 2 5 18 21 3 2 4 10 14 22

18th Cartagonova 19 5 1 4 19 19 1 2 6 10 15 21

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19th Lleida 19 2 3 5 12 17 2 4 3 10 13 19

20th Pájara Playas 19 2 3 4 12 17 2 3 5 12 15 18

21st MOTRIL 19 2 4 4 12 16 2 2 5 8 18 18

22nd Murcia 19 3 0 6 19 22 0 4 6 8 22 13</pre>

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January 2004

Wednesday 7th

For many people a trip to Gran Canaria in January would represent the perfect holiday. For me it represents an opportunity to continue the relegation fight by gaining a result against Las Palmas. Carlos Rivera is now fully fit and returns to the team as captain. We start the game well and dominate the first half. Our positive play creates a number of chances but the home keeper is in good form and he frustrates out efforts. Finally in the 40th minute Diego Martin makes a chance count and gives us the lead. To my intense frustration we lose concentration at the back and allow Las Palmas to equalise in stoppage time. Thankfully, in the 5 minutes extra allowed by the referee, Zurita puts us back into the lead and we reach the break 2-1 ahead. But we are haunted by our inability to hold on to a lead and as our performance tails off in the second half the home side score twice to win 3-2.

On the journey home from the Canary Islands I am able to reflect at length on our situation. In the match today we created twice as many chances as our opponents but we failed to hit the target often enough. And when we did establish a lead we allowed it to slip through our hands yet again. Perhaps I need to switch to a more secure tactical formation once we have gained a lead and see if that makes any difference. Or perhaps I just need to find a high-quality striker!

Sunday 11th

For the visit of Recreativo I make several changes both in personnel and in positioning. Luis Miguel Carrión has recovered from injury so he starts on the left with Jesús going back into the centre holding position and Sergio dropping into central defence. I move Juan Ugarte up front and bring Jorginho into the withdrawn striker position. Finally Weimar Franck Olivares gets a start in midfield. Ten minutes into the game Juan Ugarte picks up a knock and is replaced by Diego Martin and one minute later the striker puts us into the lead. Unfortunately that was as good as it got as the visitors run out 3-1 winners. The scoreline flattered them as we were always in with a chance and their final goal was a last minute penalty.

Saturday 17th

I persist with the same lineup for the visit of Badajoz apart from Diego Martin staring in place of the injured Juan Ugarte. For the first time in what seems like a lifetime, everything goes to plan in a game. Olivares and Diego Martin both score to give us a 2-0 lead after 30 minutes and we manage to reach the break with our lead intact. As the second half progresses we can’t find the third goal that would make the game safe but neither can the visitors find a way through our defence. And then with 9 minutes remaining the outstanding Zurita gets our third and I almost start to relax.

Sunday 25th

The mood is remarkably positive as we make the short trip along the coast to face neighbours and league leaders Málaga. This is definitely a game in which we have nothing to lose so all we can do is stay as relaxed as possible and se what transpires. The home side get the ball in the net minutes after the kick-off but their effort is ruled out by the offside flag. We regain our composure and refuse to be overrun but we do concede the opening goal after half an hour. But there is no further scoring and we reach the break still just the one goal behind. Unfortunately Jesús is unable to restart the game and is replaced by Pía in the holding position. We more than hold our own in the second period and to my delight Olivares gets an equaliser on the hour mark. Five minutes later I am in dreamland as Jorginho scores a second but my delight is short lived as the assistant is flagging for offside. Neither side can gain a winner but I am really pleased with our performance and gaining a point against the league leaders feels like a win to me.

Looking at the league table as we reach the end of the month I am feeling more positive than I have recently. Our new players are starting to make an impact and if we can put a few wins together we are quite capable of climbing out of trouble and escaping relegation.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Saturday 31st January 2004

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Málaga 23 8 2 1 25 10 6 4 2 24 19 48

2nd Oviedo 23 7 1 3 16 10 6 4 2 29 23 44

3rd Elche 23 8 3 0 24 10 3 4 5 17 22 40

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Alavés 24 9 4 0 29 11 2 2 7 18 22 39

5th Sporting Gijón 22 7 2 3 25 14 4 2 4 19 18 37

6th Burgos 23 6 5 1 24 14 4 1 6 15 21 36

7th Salamanca 22 5 6 1 22 13 3 4 3 13 15 34

8th Extremadura 23 8 2 2 21 9 2 1 8 11 20 33

9th Las Palmas 23 3 5 3 17 17 5 3 4 15 15 32

10th Xerez 22 5 3 2 16 13 4 1 7 14 22 31

11th Valladolid 23 6 2 3 20 12 2 5 5 13 22 31

12th Recreativo 23 5 2 4 20 17 4 2 6 17 17 31

13th Badajoz 22 5 2 3 11 10 3 4 5 14 20 30

14th Levante 22 5 3 4 18 18 3 2 5 10 14 29

15th Córdoba 22 3 5 3 18 17 4 3 4 18 19 29

16th Novelda 23 6 2 3 28 18 2 2 8 21 34 28

17th Cartagonova 23 6 2 4 22 21 1 3 7 12 18 26

18th Lleida 23 3 3 6 16 21 3 4 4 12 15 25

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19th Pájara Playas 23 3 3 5 14 19 3 3 6 15 19 24

20th Albacete 23 3 3 6 20 24 3 2 6 13 20 23

21st MOTRIL 23 3 4 5 16 19 2 3 6 11 22 22

22nd Murcia 22 3 0 7 20 24 0 5 7 10 25 14</pre>

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February 2004

Sunday 1st

We welcome visitors Sporting Gijón to the Escribano Castilla knowing that we will have a tough game against a side pushing hard for promotion. We face an uphill struggle when the visitors open the scoring with a rather harsh penalty decision after just 6 minutes. We are unable to get hold of the ball to string a few passes together and rarely threaten in the first half. Gijón score again on the half hour and we go into the break 2-0 down. Our play improves in the second period but we are having a real problem in getting any shots on target and the games ends with no further scoring. Victor picks up a booking that will keep him out of our next game.

Sunday 8th

We take a short trip along the east coast to the town of Cartagena to face a critical game against Cartagonova who are now two places and four points above us in the table. I consider this a game that we just have to win if we are to have any chance of escaping the drop. I stick with the same team apart from bringing in Abraham for the suspended Victor. By the end of the evening we have been comprehensively beaten 4-0 and my recent upbeat mood has swing totally the other way as I feel another nail driven into our coffin. I am at a complete loss as to how we can be so inconsistent – this was a very poor display with virtually nothing positive to be taken from it at all. We are now 6 points from safety and although there are a lot of games still to play I can’t see how we are going to hang on.

Sunday 15th

We spend the week before our next match in Córdoba experimenting with alternative formations to try to tighten up at the back. I have decided that our number one priority must be to stop conceding goals and stop losing games. My idea is to try to defend further up the pitch and stop being pressed back into our own area. When Juan Ugarte gives us the lead after 15 minutes it seems to be working but the home side equalise on 25 minutes. On balance we have slightly the better of the game and with no further scoring I am happy to go home with a point in a 1-1 draw.

Sunday 22nd

I determine to stick with the same formation for the visit of 4th place Alavés for what will be a very difficult game for us. Jesús gets us off to a cracking start with his first goal of the season to open the scoring after 20 minutes. But 15 minutes later the visitors equalise and we go into the break tied at 1-1. I am encouraged by our performance though and we continue to play well in the second half, creating a good number of chances and were it not for the form of the visiting keeper we would surely have scored several more goals. As it was we did take the lead through Diego Martin with 20 minutes remaining. Unfortunately we couldn’t hold on and succumbed to a late equaliser. But once again I will take the point on offer from the 2-2 draw although on balance we really should have won.

Sunday 29th

We travel to Albacete, some 120 kilometres to the west of Valencia, for yet another crucial game. Our opponents are currently in the bottom half of the table and (how many times have I said this before?) this is one that we have to take something from. But yet again it is not to be and we suffer a narrow and extremely frustrating 1-0 defeat. Again we outshot our opponents and were kept at bay by an inspired goalkeeper.

Another awful month for Motril ends with the news that we are now bottom of the table as Murcia have won their last three games and are now ahead of us on goal difference.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Sunday 29th February 2004

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Málaga 28 10 2 1 30 10 7 5 3 26 22 58

2nd Oviedo 28 9 2 3 25 12 6 4 4 29 26 51

3rd Sporting Gijón 28 8 3 3 27 15 6 3 5 25 22 48

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Elche 28 9 3 2 26 12 4 5 5 18 22 47

5th Alavés 28 10 4 0 32 12 3 3 8 23 26 46

6th Salamanca 28 7 6 2 25 14 4 6 3 17 17 45

7th Burgos 28 7 5 3 28 17 5 2 6 19 24 43

8th Levante 28 8 3 4 26 21 4 3 6 15 19 42

9th Extremadura 28 9 4 2 27 13 3 2 8 13 21 42

10th Recreativo 28 6 3 4 22 18 5 3 7 21 21 39

11th Córdoba 28 4 7 4 25 23 5 4 4 20 20 38

12th Xerez 28 6 3 4 19 17 5 2 8 19 26 38

13th Valladolid 28 7 3 3 22 13 2 6 7 15 29 36

14th Las Palmas 28 3 7 3 18 18 5 4 6 16 19 35

15th Albacete 28 6 3 6 26 25 4 2 7 15 25 35

16th Badajoz 28 5 4 4 11 11 3 4 8 16 28 32

17th Lleida 28 5 3 7 21 25 3 5 5 12 16 32

18th Pájara Playas 28 4 5 5 18 22 4 3 7 17 22 32

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19th Cartagonova 28 7 2 5 27 23 1 3 10 14 27 29

20th Novelda 28 6 2 5 31 25 2 2 11 23 44 28

21st Murcia 28 5 1 8 26 29 1 5 8 13 26 24

22nd MOTRIL 28 3 5 6 18 23 2 4 8 12 28 24</pre>

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March 2004

Sunday 7th

I am finding the pressure of our situation increasingly difficult to deal with as we lurch from one poor result to the next and my mood is becoming more and more sombre. The visit of 6th place Salamanca offers little hope for improvement. I am increasingly desperate to find someone who can score goals for us so I decide to play Orife and Javier Guerra up front to see if that will improve matters. This fails to have a direct impact but we do score first as Jorginho gets his first goal since his arrival. Typically we can’t hold on to the lead and the visitors equalise before half time. But with no further scoring I have to be satisfied with the point that our 1-1 draw brings.

Sunday 14th

Our trip to Lleida means yet another “must win†match as they are just above the drop zone themselves and if we don’t start winning these types of matches then we have no hope of redemption. I do a little more tinkering with the team selection as Luis Miguel Carrión comes in on the left and Diego Martin is back up front. As the game unfolds I can scarcely believe my eyes as within 20 minutes Diego Martin and Jorginho score two goals each to give us a 4-0 lead. The home side pull a goal back before half time but that does nothing to dampen the excitement in the dressing room. In the second half Diego Martin completes his hat trick and Orife adds another in stoppage time to give us an extraordinary 6-1 win.

Sunday 21st

We have an unchanged team for the visit of Extremadura as I anxiously await to see if we have reached a turning point in our season or if last week’s amazing win was merely a flash in the pan. Any luck that we have had this season had tended to be bad and this trend continues as the visitors take the lead and then Diego Martin hobbles off with an injury to be replaced by Juan Ugarte. Then 5 minutes before the break we concede a second goal but two minutes later Ugarte pulls on back to give us some hope. We have by far the better of the second half and with 10 minutes remaining Ugarte scores his second to complete an excellent recovery.

Wednesday 31st

The mood in the camp as we travel some 400 kilometres along the coast to Valencia for our final game of the month against Levante is as positive as I have seen in months. Our opponents lie 12th in the table and we feel that we have a chance of taking something from this game as their form has been quite inconsistent recently. We more than hold our own in the early exchanges and, as our confidence grows, we start to put some decent moves together. We are rewarded with the opening goal from Jorginho 10 minutes before half time. Our defence is looking solid as Levante try to get back into the game and we continue to threaten them on the break but at 1-0 I cannot relax. But with less than 5 minutes remaining Orife calms everyone’s nerves when he scores our second and we can celebrate a 2-0 win.

This ends up being possibly our best month of the season and the league table makes slightly better reading now as we have clawed our way up to 19th place and are now just 3 points away from escaping from the drop zone.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Wednesday 31st March 2004

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Málaga 32 11 3 1 35 13 7 7 3 28 24 64

2nd Oviedo 32 10 3 3 27 12 6 4 6 31 32 55

3rd Sporting Gijón 32 9 3 4 30 17 7 3 6 28 25 54

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Alavés 32 11 4 1 36 16 4 3 9 27 30 52

5th Elche 32 10 4 2 31 14 4 5 7 19 29 51

6th Salamanca 32 8 6 2 27 14 4 7 5 18 21 49

7th Extremadura 32 10 4 3 31 18 4 3 8 17 23 49

8th Xerez 32 9 3 4 29 20 5 3 8 21 28 48

9th Córdoba 32 6 7 4 30 23 6 4 5 26 25 47

10th Burgos 32 8 6 3 31 17 5 2 8 20 29 47

11th Recreativo 32 8 3 4 28 19 5 4 8 26 27 46

12th Valladolid 32 8 4 3 28 16 3 7 7 19 31 44

13th Levante 32 8 3 6 27 26 4 5 6 18 22 44

14th Las Palmas 32 5 7 3 25 18 5 4 8 19 26 41

15th Lleida 32 6 3 8 27 33 4 6 5 18 21 39

16th Albacete 32 7 3 6 27 25 4 2 10 17 34 38

17th Badajoz 32 6 5 4 13 12 3 6 8 16 28 38

18th Pájara Playas 32 4 7 5 22 26 4 4 8 18 25 35

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19th MOTRIL 32 3 7 6 21 26 4 4 8 20 29 32

20th Cartagonova 32 7 4 5 30 26 1 3 12 15 32 31

21st Murcia 32 6 2 8 31 33 1 6 9 13 31 29

22nd Novelda 32 6 3 7 34 33 2 2 12 23 48 29</pre>

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Thanks for your support gentlemen. Terk - there's only one story whore - I don't even come close icon_smile.gif

April 2004

Sunday 4th

I am most anxious that we do our very best to keep our momentum going as 10th place Burgos visit to open our April league programme. Even though Diego Martin is now fit I decide that we won’t change a winning team so he is forced to sit on the bench. I am glad that I made that decision as Orife scores the opener after 4 minutes and Zurita adds a second 10 minutes later. It seems like our luck is definitely on the up as Orife scores twice more in the second half to complete his hat trick but right at the end of the game he pulls up injured. It turns out that he has a calf strain and will be out for 4 weeks. The terrific 4-0 win takes us out of the bottom four as we go above Pájara Playas on goal difference.

Wednesday 7th

It is a relatively short journey to Jerez for our next match against Xerez. They are 7th in the table and I suspect that we will be very lucky to take even a point from this encounter. Diego Martin replaces the unfortunate Orife and Kévin Jacmot comes in for a tired looking Luis Miguel Carrión but apart from that we field an unchanged team. It now seems that something extraordinary is happening to Motril and I watch in disbelief as Jorginho scores three goals in 7 amazing minutes to put us 3-0 ahead with 20 minutes on the clock. When Pablo Box makes it 4-0 after 25 minutes I have to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming. We face sustained pressure from the home side in the second half but, apart from a dubious penalty, we hold firm and Pablo Box scores his second of the match two minutes from time and gives us a 5-1 win. Either our luck has turned around completely or our new formation is working far better than I could have dreamt. Whatever it is I am grateful for it.

Saturday 10th

We feature in a rare televised Saturday game at promotion challengers Oviedo and with such a short period between games I have to make a few changes to the playing personnel. Jesús, Pablo Box, Zurita and Jorginho are all rested and replaced by Abraham, Carlos Rivera, Olivares and Rodri respectively. We also have an injury problem with Luis Miguel Carrión out for a month with a calf strain picked up in training so Kévin Jacmot retains his place. We more than hold our own and create a number of excellent chances and the home side have their keeper to thank for keeping them in the game. But right at the death our luck runs out as Oviedo score the winner in stoppage time. The 1-0 defeat is by no means just reward for our efforts but I am still very encouraged by our performance. We also suffer another injury setback as Carlos Rivera suffers a leg injury that will keep him out for 3 weeks. Worse news is to follow after Sunday’s games as other results send us back into the bottom four.

Sunday 18th

The visit of bottom club Murcia offers us the perfect opportunity to get back on track. I have said this many times before this season, but this is a game that we absolutely must win. We are back to close to a full strength team and I am optimistic that we will take full points. My confidence takes a knock when we make a very lethargic start and the visitors take the lead after quarter of an hour. We buck up our ideas though and goals from Pablo Box and Juan Ugarte take us into the break 2-1 ahead. We spend most of the second half pounding the Murcia goal but can’t find a way past an inspired keeper. The visitors occasionally threaten on the break but José Luis and the back three stay alert and deal with their attacks well. The game ends with no further scoring and the win shoots us up to 17th place on goal difference over Pájara Playas

Sunday 25th

Our final game of the month involves a fairly short trip along the coast to Elche, between Murcia and Alicante. They had a comfortable 4-1 win in Motril earlier in the season and still have an outside chance of promotion. Even though we don’t create too many scoring opportunities we have the better of the first half. I sense that our recent luck may be holding as our hosts have a goal disallowed for offside. Then just before half time Juan Ugarte is brought down in the area and Kévin Jacmot converts the penalty to send us into the break with a narrow lead. Ugarte scores a second after an hour and we make the game safe when a shot from Pablo Box is deflected past the Elche keeper. The 3-0 win gives us our 4th win this month and we are now out of the bottom four with a little breathing space between us and the relegation places. The only bad news is an injury to Sergio that will sideline him for a couple of weeks.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">*******************************************************************************************

Spanish Second Division - Saturday 1st May 2004

*******************************************************************************************

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

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1st Málaga 37 13 3 1 40 15 8 7 5 34 30 73

2nd Oviedo 37 13 3 3 33 15 7 4 7 33 35 67

3rd Sporting Gijón 37 11 3 4 36 17 8 4 7 32 28 64

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4th Salamanca 37 10 6 2 32 15 6 8 5 23 23 62

5th Alavés 37 12 5 1 41 19 5 4 10 34 36 60

6th Elche 37 11 5 3 33 18 4 5 9 19 33 55

7th Córdoba 37 7 9 4 35 26 6 6 5 32 31 54

8th Extremadura 37 10 5 3 33 20 5 4 10 22 30 54

9th Valladolid 37 9 7 3 41 27 4 7 7 21 32 53

10th Recreativo 37 9 3 6 31 22 6 5 8 31 30 53

11th Burgos 37 8 8 4 36 24 6 2 9 23 35 52

12th Xerez 37 9 3 7 31 29 6 3 9 24 31 51

13th Levante 37 9 3 7 31 28 4 7 7 21 27 49

14th Las Palmas 37 7 8 4 34 27 5 4 9 22 31 48

15th Badajoz 37 8 5 4 19 13 4 7 9 20 33 48

16th MOTRIL 37 5 7 6 27 27 6 4 9 28 31 44

17th Pájara Playas 37 7 7 5 29 29 4 4 10 18 28 44

18th Lleida 37 6 3 9 28 35 5 7 7 24 29 43

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19th Albacete 37 8 3 7 31 29 4 3 12 20 41 42

20th Cartagonova 37 8 4 6 32 27 1 5 13 19 38 36

21st Novelda 37 6 5 8 37 38 2 2 14 25 55 31

22nd Murcia 37 6 3 10 34 39 1 6 11 14 37 30</pre>

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May 2004

Sunday 2nd

Our opening game of the month is another one of those “must-win†encounters as Pájara Playas visit the Escribano Castilla. We have crept above them on goal difference and a win here would really give our relegation battle a huge boost. Óscar Jornet replaces the injured Sergio but apart from that the team is unchanged. The game is quite evenly contested with both sides creating openings and we both suffer from the same problem – we can’t seem to hit the target. However, we have a bit more success than the visitors and first half goals from Jorginho and Diego Martín are enough to seal a crucial 2-0 win. Other results mean that Novelda and Murcia both have their relegation confirmed. It seems only a matter of time before they are joined by Cartagonova but any one of half a dozen teams could take the final relegation place.

Wednesday 5th

We have accepted a bid from Bembibre in D2B for transfer-listed striker Sergio Larreina, he has agreed terms and the transfer will go ahead in June when the window reopens.

Sunday 16th

Our recent turnaround has the entire team buzzing and we were in no mood for a two-week layoff as we are itching to get back into action. The visit of relegated Novelda is the perfect opportunity to pick up three more points that would go an awful long way towards securing our survival in the Second Division. Sergio is restored to the team after his injury and we have what I feel is pretty much our strongest lineup available. As seems to be the case these days all goes to plan and two goals from Jesús and another from Pablo Box takes us into the break with a 3-0 lead. The visitors score a late consolation but we get a good 3-1 win to take us a step closer to safety. Our only negative was a season-ending injury to Kévin Jacmot who will be out for a month with strained ankle ligaments. The relegation of Cartagonova was confirmed and runaway leaders and near-neighbours Málaga have secure promotion to the Primera Liga.

Wednesday 19th

Barcelona triumphed over Mallorca in the all-Spanish UEFA Cup Final with a comprehensive 4-0 win at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.

Sunday 23rd

For our visit to Valladolid, some 200 kilometres north of Madrid, Orife comes in to replace the injured Jacmot with the rest of the team unchanged. The match turns into one of the most exciting of the season as the advantage swung first one way and then the other. Valladolid took the lead after 22 minutes but Diego Martín equalised 6 minutes later. We went into the break tied at 1-1 but the home side re-took the lead shortly after the restart. Another 6 minutes passed before Zurita scored another equaliser. With 20 minutes remaining Jorginho gave us a deserved lead. However, Valladolid were not finished yet as they gained their own equaliser after 75 minutes. Then to my joy Jorginho scored his second of the game virtually straight from the restart. We were able to hang on to the lead for a fantastic 4-3 win that takes up us to 14th, 5 places and 7 points away from relegation. With just two games remaining we have ensured our survival in the Second Division.

Saturday 29th

Real Madrid have won the Primera Liga title, finishing just a point ahead of Barcelona with the rest lost in the distance. Barcelona also lost out in the Spanish Cup Final suffering a 3-0 defeat by Valencia.

Sunday 30th

For the visit of Las Palmas there was almost a carnival atmosphere at the Escribano Castilla as we can now relax and enjoy our last couple of games. We field an unchanged team from the fine win last weekend and are hopeful of continuing our good run of form. We were perhaps a bit too relaxed in the first half as we created very few chances and were a little fortunate to go into the break with the game scoreless. However, in the second half we really turned on the style and put the visitors under sustained pressure but the visiting keeper was in inspired form and repelled our every effort. With 4 minutes remaining on the clock Las Palmas caught us on the break and scored a goal totally against the run of play. But Jorginho came through for us again, scoring a brilliant solo effort from the restart to give us a 1-1 draw. A win for Málaga has guaranteed them the title but the other two promotion places, and the final relegation place, remain undecided at present.

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Thank you kind Doctor

June 2004

Sunday 6th

Our final game of this roller coaster season involves a trip along the west coast to Huelva, near the Portuguese border, to take on Recreativo. This may well be Diego Martín’s last game for the club as he has refused all of our recent contract offers and his current agreement expires later this month. Once again we looked a little flat in the first half and went into the break two goals behind and seemingly out of it. But after a good deal of encouragement during the break the team went back out in a much more determined mood and with half an hour remaining Jorginho scored to