El Centrocampista

LET BATTLE COMMENCE – Granada CF get ready for the big time

By Alex Bromley

La Liga kicks off not long from now, and so Granada CF have just a fortnight or so to get in the mindset for what is about to hit them.

Let’s not beat about the bush, and I’ll just say it now; Barcelona are the team to beat.

They are the best in the world right now and, despite losing to Manchester United 2-1 in Washington recently, it hardly tarnishes the comprehensive pummeling dished out by the Catalan side to apparently their nearest rivals back in May.

The 3-1 victory in the Champion’s League was simply a masterclass of football and has been stated by many a reporter as the best performance any club side has played… ever.

Granada have to play them twice.

There could be tough times ahead for the Andalusians

But of course, the best league in the world doesn’t stop at Barcelona; La Liga is full of wonderful teams and great players – had Real Madrid been playing in the Premiership last season and got as many points as they did in La Liga, they’d have won the title by 12 points.

Valencia would have been below Chelsea only on goal difference, and the top quality throughout the division continues throughout the top seven at the very least.

Granada also have to play them all twice too.

So with all of this endless Spanish talent, how on earth do the Andalucian side intend to survive?

I recently reported on the background of Granada CF and their battle to stay afloat both financially and in a footballing sense.

Through adversity, and with hard graft and a fair amount of luck, they are back at the top.

How will they fare? Well firstly, they will need to multiply both of those last attributes about 10-fold if they want to keep their heads above water.

Many expected Hercules to go straight back down last season having just got and if you remember, they ended up being one of only two teams to beat Barca.

However the point (and indeed the points) was moot and they indeed went back to the Segunda with that win against the champion’s amounting to almost 10% of their total points for the season.

Barca won’t want to relive that again.

Being the underdog may perhaps give Granada a vague advantage as they essentially have nothing to lose.

The neutrals are likely to get behind them, but in essence they lack the quality of most of the other 19 teams in the league and they do not really have the same ‘bite’ as the other teams who have been highlighted for a relegation battle.

Granada, therefore, are simply running out of time.

They need to add to the dwindling young squad and they need to do so quickly.

Recruiting former Pompey ‘hero’ Noe Pamarot from relegated Hercules is just not enough and if they don’t pucker up their ideas shortly, Granada could be staring long and hard down the barrel of the proverbial gun sooner than Christmas.

I like Granada, and don’t get me wrong I would love them to stay up, but I know a struggle when I see one; even before a ball is kicked.

The old saying goes that “football’s a funny game and that anything can happen” so with that in mind, and while we’re on the subject of hideous cliches, I’ll make El Centrocampista a deal; if Granada CF defeat the odds and stay up then I’ll devour my favourite Panama Hat.


  1. A-la Bernie Slaven, I shall personally bare my backside in the window of El Corte Ingles, if Granada fail to survive in Liga BBVA.

    The club starts on a much better footing than many who will be fighting to avoid the drop this season.

    Whilst they’re not exactly making marquee signings, they’re taking a very sensible approach to things. The base of the existing team they’re building upon will provide a stable platform for progression.

    They’re not going to set the world aflame, but at the same time, I think they’ll surprise a few people.

    • Iain McMullen

      3 August, 2011 at 16:22

      Hi Heath and thanks for taking the time to highlght the situation regarding a club that you obviously hold very close to your heart.
      I for one, know a lot more about the club than I did before reading your comments, and it is always a pleasure to get such passionate comments from fans who live, eat and breath their club.

      I hope to get over to some games down south in the near future and hope, after the promotion, I will be able to get a ticket!

      Anyway, thanks once again for taking the time to post and I hope we can do more articles on the club.


  2. alexjbromley

    3 August, 2011 at 17:16

    Indeed Heath, the club does have a firmer footing than a few of the other clubs in the league. I also totally agree with your recent comments on my other article that they are in a much better financial situation than they were, say, this time last year.

    However, as you have stated yourself, it is a big ask for them to remain in La Liga this season. you also stated that the core of the team remains, which is certainly true, though given a season of potantially struggling in the league, many will transfer to pastures new.

    That being said, I also appreciate your comments, and can tell that you are obviously a passionate fan – probably more so than myself – and as the season is about to kick off, I look forward to the progress that Granada can make and hope to hear more from you over the course of the coming months.

  3. Iain McMullen – It’ll be interesting to see how many tickets are made available for general sale each match (after taking away supporters into consideration), as well as their prices!

    The capacity of Nuevo Los Cármenes has been announced as 22,500 this season. Around 10,000 season tickets have been reserved for existing holders, whilst a further 6,000 were made available for for “new” applicants, of which there’s been over 25,000 applications received so far.

    It’s likely every match will be a capacity crowd. That’ll certainly be good for the very vocal atmosphere!

    alexjbromley – Believe it or not, heading into the play-offs last season, I was positive after the away draw at Celta Vigo, but pessimistic after they were held at home by Elche.

    I think Nuevo Los Cármenes will continue to be a very difficult place for visiting teams to get results this season, but vital for Granada will be their ability to win points away from home. They didn’t have a good away record last year, although it did improve towards the end of the season.

    Speaking as I was about the lack of “marquee” signings, although strongly linked throughout the summer, should Fenerbahçe be demoted from the Turkish Süper Lig due to match fixing allegations, a firm move for Daniel Güiza is looking even more likely.

    Other than that, I certainly recommend keeping an eye on the progress of new signing Yohan Mollo. He’s looking an exciting player in training and after his first outing against Real Jaen.

  4. alexjbromley

    4 August, 2011 at 09:39

    Hi Heath,

    I poked about on the web a couple of days ago and came across some very brief highlights of the Granada-Jaen match and you are damn right – Mollo looks to be a very nifty little player. I don’t really follow French football, so I didn’t see any of him whilst he was bouncing around Monaco, but subsequently I’ve read reports that he was the “Christiano of Monaco” so one can only hope for good times ahead.

    It will be interesting to see what happens in Turkey. Fenerbahce have come under the microscope a few times with UEFA, however should the domestic FA take matters into their own hands then the punishment could be, as you said, along the same lines as Juventus a few years back.
    Daniel Guiza definately knows his Spanish football, and more importantly has a proven scoring record in La Liga, so he would be a super signing – almost in the same way as Van Nistelrooy at Malaga.

    I would hope that Pina can pull in another player or 2 with top flight experience, along the lines of Aiden McGeedy for example. He wants to leave Moscow, but he wants to stay on the continent as he has expressed a love for the anonymity. Don’t read too much into it as I don’t want to be blamed for starting a runour so probably not him, but someone along the same lines who won’t exert themselves as being better than the youthful squad, but someone who is happy to keep the club ticking over and can use his experience to guide the youngsters in their first La Liga campaign. Capdevila would have been perfect, for example, having a plethora of La Liga experience and winning the Euros and WC.

    However, I shall definitely take your points into consideration and keep an eye on proceedings for the next couple of weeks and ,of course, over the season.

  5. Heath Chesters

    4 August, 2011 at 19:19

    I wouldn’t have minded seeing Capdevila at Granada, but his wage demands would have been considerably higher than Granada would have been willing to pay. They’re trying to keep a tight reign on their wage budget, although it will be interesting to see how far that stretches if Güiza does end up moving to Granada, as he’s reportedly on around €60k p/w with Fenerbahçe.

    The main focus of attention at the moment seems to be getting another striker to rotate with Geijo and Ighalo, along with a midfielder or two. The main emphasis being they need a good central playmaker and a “destroyer” type ball-winning midfielder. Fran Rico from RM Castilla seems close to a move, although the clubs can’t seem to agree a fee at the moment. Real Madrid want €1m, whereas Granada want a free transfer, but with assorted clauses (buy-back, sell-on percentages, etc…)

    I think the main influence over who comes and who doesn’t, will be how much Quique Pina is prepared to spend individually on a player. Malaga offered €1.5m and Granada €2m for the very promising young Las Palmas midfielder, Jonathan Viera. Las Palmas weren’t prepared to let him go for anything less than his buyout clause of €6m though.

    Roberto Lago from Celta Vigo had agreed terms, but Celta wanted the €1.5m fee paid in full, whereas Granada wanted a deal involving instalments and clauses. Neither club would bend, so Granada called off the deal and the same day, signed former Mallorca full-back Enrique Corrales on a free transfer instead.

    Some sections of supporters are getting a little anxious to see some bigger names, whilst I and others are confident in the negotiating skills of Pina and Cordero to bring in players who will suit the club economically and fit the profile of the tactical system manager Fabri utilises.

    Should he come through pre-season having suitably impressed Fabri enough, another player to keep an eye on may be Ikechi Anya. Formerly of the Glenn Hoddle Academy, Sevilla Atlético and Celta Vigo “B”, he arrived at Granada on a free transfer. It was expected he would be one of the many signings Granada have made, that will be loaned out to Cádiz CF, but he appears to have impressed enough to be given a chance to prove himself whilst the club enters the final phase of pre-season training at La Manga. Three goals in two pre-season games from midfield won’t do his chances any harm whatsoever.

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