The tribute was directed on two fronts. One, the church of San Francisco de Asís, packed with family and friends. Another, the Carlos Tartiere, reserved for the representatives of Oviedo. In both locations, gestures broken by pain. Pelayo Novo died on Tuesday afternoon at the age of 32, hit by a train in the La Corredoria neighborhood, and no one around him has yet assimilated the departure of a boy “with a huge heart.”
It was his cousin Pedro Fernández, parish priest of Puerto de Vega who had to return from a trip to Rome due to the tragic news, who defined in a few words what Pelayo meant to his people. “We always feel deep pride in someone we have seen overcome every obstacle and whom we saw triumphing like our King Pelayo,” he said with a deep emotional charge in a speech that he had to interrupt several times to catch his breath. Before, he had underlined the “humility and simplicity” of the ex-footballer.
There, in the church of San Francisco de Asís, in the Plaza del Fresno, his parents, Juan Novo and Fini García; his wife, Icíar López; his sister Patricia and in general all the relatives and the most intimate showed the condolences of a guy who has left his mark.
He was especially representing the world of football. For Oviedo, of course, with César Martín, director of institutional relations at the helm, and some footballers. But Sporting was also present with Joaquín Alonso, institutional relations; Albacete, another group in which he left his mark, with Víctor Varela, his vice president; the Asturian Federation, with José Ramón Cuetos Lobos, its president, accompanied by his predecessor, Maximino Martínez.
Many former colleagues from within the region and from outside also joined. His inseparable in his first steps at Oviedo were Jandro, Álvaro Cuello, Néstor Susaeta… They were joined by ex-Oviedo players Michu and Saúl Berjón, as well as the club’s veterans, led by Vicente González Villamil,
Alfredo Canteli, Mayor of Oviedo, was another of those who accompanied the family in the hardest moments. Hours before, in an act in La Corredoria, he had stated that “we Oventenses and Oviedistas are having a hard time, that is why I would like to have a loving memory for his parents, for his wife and for his entire family in general.” Adrián Barbón, president of the Principality of Asturias, added to these words: “I was with Pelayo’s family on Wednesday, I am a friend of his blood cousins, so I have a personal bond with them. It is a sad day for the city of Oviedo “, for a club like Real Oviedo and for the Oviedista fans. I wanted to have a memory for Pelayo, his career, his humanity, and his kindness, which is what those who have had the most contact with him always convey”.
The church was too small to house so many displays of affection. But the gestures did not stop there. After the ceremony, Oviedo celebrated a simple but heartfelt tribute to Pelayo at the Carlos Tartiere.
On the pitch of the stadium, the footballers of the first team and the subsidiary formed a semicircle, as well as the women’s and staff members and managers. César Martín took the floor, accompanied by Santiago Heras, the club’s chaplain. “We will always remember him smiling, just as he was,” explained César, before a video was broadcast with some of his moments in Oviedo.
Later, three representatives stepped forward to place a bouquet of flowers, a personalized shirt and a bracelet on the seat that Pelayo used to occupy in the Carlos Tartiere stands. The three managers had their story. Tomeu, one of the Oviedo captains, had shared a dressing room in Albacete with him and they had a great relationship. Anina, a women’s soccer player, is a relative of the former player. And Fer Álvarez acted as captain of the Genuine, one of the most visible projects of the Foundation of the club that Pelayo captained. Next, Santiago Heras recited the “Our Father” to close the act.
Farewell to Pelayo did not lack emotion and heartfelt words of encouragement. The Asturian leaves a huge gap, impossible to fill for relatives and those closest to him. This is how everyone who has passed through his path has recognized him these days. Real Oviedo won’t forget him either and the squad is already hoping to dedicate a win to him in tomorrow’s game in Anduva.