When I last caught you up, we were in November and sitting in the very respectable position of eighth in the league. It is now mid-March and incredibly we are now third in the league, sitting just 2 points off the leaders Real Valladolid having just beaten them.
It’s been a hectic few months, so let me catch you up. In the Spanish Cup we faced Betis, who we overcame them thanks to wins in both home and away legs. This led us to a the much-needed money-spinning tie with footballing giants Real Madrid, though unfortunately for us, this is where our cup dreams ended for the year. We were comprehensively beaten 5-1 over two legs, and to make things worse, we didn’t even make that much money from the games.
Speaking of money, the situation before the January transfer window arrived had become very perilous indeed, with the board informing me that we now had no money to bring anyone in. To rub things in even more, they also decreed that I’d only be allowed 20% of any transfer fee received to reinvest in the squad. With me not being able to bring anyone in aside from free agents, I set about trimming the squad of unnecessary squad players. This will leave me in a tough situation if – and more likely, when – we suffer injuries and suspensions down the road. I end up selling Pibe, Toche & Hector Verdes for a combined £244,000, but also save a fair chunk of wages which offsets the arrival of Mahatma Otoo.
On a personal level, I seem to be in high demand, as I’m made the bookies’ favourite for both the Everton and Swansea jobs after they dispense with their managers. For someone who always thought the bookies got these things right. neither team decide to offer me the actual job though.
With alternative employment a non-starter, I went back to business and convinced the board to let me stretch the budget to one more player, allowing me to sign the rather-fantastic Javier Matilla. He is a very creative central midfielder, and even better, he was available on a free transfer. With this arrival, I think we’ve finally gotten around to replacing Jon Erice.
Heady days follow, as we hit the top of the table after a win over strugglers Lugo, though it doesn’t last long as the pressure gets to us immediately and results down the stretch start to suffer badly. After a frankly embarrassing 5-1 defeat away at Alegria, the boys get the full hairdryer treatment as our chances to win the league are slipping away with each week.
We pick up just 10 points from our final 10 games and finish the season in fifth place, and I have to say that after hitting the top of the table a month back, I’m disappointed in the final weeks of the season. The board are delighted to have finished in the playoff places though, so I guess I can’t be too upset. First up in the semi-final is Elche, and with the run we are on I’m concerned so I call a team meeting to explain to the guys that we’ve come this far and it’s now time to finish the job.
The home leg sees us get a 2-1 win thanks to two goals from the league’s top scorer Mamadou Kone, and a 1-0 win away in the second leg sees us through to the final, with Mallorca awaiting us in the frankly-odd 2 legged final. The home leg sees us secure a 2-0 win which proves just enough, especially as Mallorca win the second leg 1-0.
And that is that! Two straight promotions, and Real Oviedo are back in the big time.
In terms of awards, Jose Fernández won the player of the season award with 37% of the fan vote, Mamadou Kone wins goal of the season and also finishes as the league’s best striker with a superb 28 goals in 39 games.
So there we are; the big-time awaits and the squad is going to need some massive investment. And with all my best players from this season going back to their parent clubs, it’s going to be a long and busy off-season.