El Centrocampista

NOT WITH MARTINS – Fan mars emotional day for Granada

By Heath Chesters

It was a wet night in Granada for Sunday late 10pm kick-off against Mallorca, but spirits couldn’t be dampened by the weather.

Fans wanted to share their support and sympathy for the plight of Carlos Martins and his son Gustavo, who is suffering from a rare illness and in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant.

A huge cheer rang around the stadium when Martins was announced in the starting eleven.

There was hope that through adversity, Granada might be inspired to winning three points against Mallorca.

In truth, the home side were poor in the first half and deserved to go in at half-time a goal down. Vocal discontent around the stadium was aimed more at the referee however, who has surely had better performances.

On one occasion the ball clearly came off a Mallorca player, crossed the byline by around a metre for a corner, yet when the ball came back into play, he waved play to continue.

Granada rallied in the second-half and quickly grabbed an equaliser, after excellent work by Guilherme Siqueira down the left, dribbling through the Mallorca back line to slot the ball home.

It wasn’t long afterwards, with Granada turning up the pressure, that the ball fell to Carlos Martins outside the box.

The Portuguese midfielder hit a superb shot that whizzed over the Mallorca keeper and into the back of the net.

The whole stadium erupted in joy, shared by the Granada players on the field. They all ran over to the dugout, where Martins held a shirt aloft, printed with his son’s name, Gustavo.

A fantastic moment, which almost felt like part of a pre-prepared script.

What clearly wasn’t part of the script however, was what  followed in the 60th minute of the game.

Following a Mallorca move down the right flank, the linesman in that corner of the ground suddenly held his hand up to his face.

He then bent down to pick up an object that had been thrown to from the crowd. Play was stopped and the referee and security officials ran over to the linesman.

Someone had thrown an umbrella at the linesman, hitting him in the face and cutting him below the eye around the cheekbone. The referee called the other linesman and headed off towards the tunnel.

Bewildered players soon followed.

Several Policia National headed over to the corner of the ground where the incident occured, some speaking with fans within the vicinity.

After several minutes, an employee of Canal Plus (who were broadcasting the game), was called to point out the individual who had thrown the umbrella, as he’d been identified in replays of the incident.

Three policement entered the crowd, manhandled a youth over the barriers and off down the adjacent tunnel in the corner.

Confusion remained around the ground as fans waited for around twenty minutes, hoping play would resume.

Hopes were dashed however, when a PA system announcement confirmed the game had been suspended.

Nobody could quite believe what was happening, as they slowly began to filter out of the stadium. Within a matter of moments of pure magic from Carlos Martins, the game had ended in the worst of circumstances.

During the press conference after the game, Granada manager Fabri González said: “We’re overcome with sadness. It’s is a pity that these things happen. You can not judge a city or the supporters by the acts of one hearless person”.

He then added: “I thought we were going to restart the match after fifteen or twenty minutes. I thought the fourth official would take over”.

Mallorca counterpart Joaquin Caporrós said: “These things should be cut sharply from football. It is unfortunate and a shame because there was a great atmosphere in the stadium”.

Club officials later confirmed police had arrested the young supporter who had thrown the object onto the pitch

When asked about objects such as umbrellas being permitted into the stadium, Granada’s president Quique Pina commented: “An umbrella, when it’s raining, is permitted into the stadium enclosure”, whilst also clarifying that normally other objects such as bottles and cans are prohibited upon entry.

Like many stadiums throughout Spain, much of Nuevo Los Cármenes in Granada is open to the elements, with only one lateral stand under cover.

There will no doubt be much debate over the coming days as to what happens next. Granada CF may be punished for the incident that lead to the suspension of the game.

Whilst there are no early indications regarding the outcome of the game itself, either the remaining 29 minutes, or an entire replay of the game may be played behind closed doors at a future date.

The last time a game was resumed behind closed doors, was a Copa del Rey match between Valencia and Deportivo La Coruña, during the 2005/2006 season.

The great shame of all this, was the sudden end to a match that had burst into life in the second-half. Shame that such an incident will overshadow what was meant to be a show of support for Granada midfielder Carlos Martins, who created a moment of magic with a stunning goal.

Shame for all the fans who’d paid to see a game of football, not least the small contingent who’d made the long journey from Mallorca.

The biggest shame of all though, should be felt by one idiotic youth, who spoiled it for everyone.

Hopefully over the next few days, whatever decisions are made, common sense will prevail.




  1. Heath Chesters

    22 November, 2011 at 15:00

    Just to follow up this story, it’s claimed in the press this morning that the incident was “accidental”.

    The youth was released after two hours, having claimed he was waving the umbrella around, that the body of the umbrella separated from the handle and shot off, unfortunately, towards the linesman.

    Video images have suggested this may indeed be what happened, with images showing the youth still holding the umbrella handle, after the rest of the umbrella had hit the linesman.

    Ultimately it’s looking like a completely freak incident caused the game to be suspended, though the fact the match was suspended is now causing debate in the media.

    Over the same weekend, in Turkey former Arsenal man Emmanuel Eboué was pelted with objects as Galatasaray played Besiktas. The game continued. In Argentina, players and officials were pelted with objects in two matches, yet play was resumed.

    The question many are asking, is that although it can be appreciated the referee felt “nervous” after the incident at the Granada match, why couldn’t the fourth official have substituted the linesman for the remainder of the game?

    Some corners of the media are also suggesting that the game wouldn’t have been suspended were a “big” team like Barcelona or Real Madrid playing, pointing to events during the Spanish Super Cup encounter between the two sides, where knives and glass bottles were thrown onto the pitch.

    This story, the suspension of the match and what decisions the Spanish game’s governing body reaches, looks set to rumble on this week for sure.

  2. Iain McMullen

    22 November, 2011 at 16:51

    Such a shame it is threatening to overshadow the real story here. It also seems the officials were slightly quick in abandoning the game.

    Carlos Martins speaks to BBVA World – http://elcentrocampista.com/?p=4987

  3. Clay

    22 November, 2011 at 19:25

    Am a madridista and what you’re saying about referees on clasico matches is true. You get the feeling that RFEF tend to favour the big two teams. I’ll take you back to Espanyol vs Malaga incident which wasn’t a penalty. The only action taken was to cancel the yellow card.
    Probably the game got cancelled because the refs got nervy and that’s understandable. Will the match ever resume? There’s so many issues in la liga that are tainting its name from the Zaragoza transfer saga, poor officiating, hostile crowds literally. Its not good for the image RFEF are trying to build abroad.

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