The party of 26 guests that resists Oviedo: the pending play-off

One by one, almost all of Oviedo’s rivals in a Second Division that is going to the limit, have been parading down the catwalk that leads to promotion. Two, with the success granted directly; another four, by the long way to the play-off. And in all cases, the Oviedo who stays out of the party, observing the scene with long teeth. Since the long-awaited comeback in 2015, the Blues have seen 26 different teams in the category win the top six places. Almost all of their rivals have had an opportunity that has eluded Oviedo since their return to professional football.

It is the objective that the club has pending and that for Carso is on the way to becoming the stone on which to stumble over and over again. After regaining status in professional football in 2015, the words of Arturo Elías, maximum shareholder, perhaps in an excess of euphoria with references to the immediate presence of Oviedo in the great national stadiums, made them think of the Second as a momentary season. After the first attempt in 2015/16, which was cut short in recent months (the team, already with Generelo, finished ninth), the message dropped a few decibels and Carso began to underline a margin of 5 years like the one indicated for gain promotion to the First Division. Even Fernando Hierro, coach in that course, spoke of the five-year goal.

It was from then on that the curse of Oviedo grew, accustomed to exciting campaigns with a final collapse that eliminated any option for promotion. The Blues were eighth in 2016/17 and seventh in 2017/18, only due to a matter of goals in individual matches against Numancia.

In 2018/19, he was seventh again, before the biggest crisis, that of 2019/20, resolved with 15th place in the final reaction. A 13th in Ziganda’s first complete attempt at the helm of the team preceded the story with a sad ending last year: close, very close, to finally sneaking Oviedo’s name among the six lucky guests invited to dream of something big .

In these seven unsavory years for Oviedoism, 13 different ensembles have tasted the resounding success of direct promotion to First. Only the Huesca has managed to repeat. Along with the Aragonese, Alaves, Leganes, Levante, Girona, Rayo Vallecano, Osasuna, Granada, Cadiz, Espanyol, Mallorca, Almeria and Valladolid.

In the case of the play-off, the list is extended to 22 different teams. Girona has achieved four entries to the promotion, only one, the last one, with a promotion prize. Tenerife, Zaragoza and Almería have stepped on that ground twice since 2015. The list of play-off teams in the last seven years is completed with Nàstic, Córdoba, Osasuna, Getafe, Cádiz, Huesca, Sporting, Valladolid, Numancia, Malaga, Albacete, Mallorca, Deportivo, Elche, Leganés, Rayo, Eibar and Las Palmas.

Not to mention the play-off. Now, Oviedo faces the challenge with new energy, contributed by Tito and Bolo in the offices and on the bench respectively, although under the idea, constantly repeated by the club, of maintaining the project. Some customs are also repeated. Although everyone quietly points to the play-off as the team’s real goal, no one has said so publicly at the moment. Neither Tito, nor Bolo, nor Federico González, the three responsible who have spoken in recent weeks.

From a communication point of view, the strategy is reminiscent of last season, with Ziganda as the club’s spokesperson. So, the play-off was not even mentioned at the beginning, to enter little by little later in the phrases of the protagonists. In the last month, it seemed inevitable, everyone was referring to the objective of the promotion: the team had earned that right to speak openly about a goal that was very close. Now, it is a matter of repeating the marked path, but with an important nuance: to have a better ending.


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