Hot dogs and burgers they may be, but the Heliodoro stadium in Santa Cruz now has cooked food to go with the rock hard ham rolls. Also the electronic scoreboard, missing in action for nearly a decade, is pumping out information, even if they missed those 2 momentous events, there are few people on the island that don’t realise that CD Tenerife are back with the big boys in La Liga.
Six games in and despite struggling for goals, only 3 so far, CD Tenerife have clocked up 2 home wins and even held Real Madrid 0-0 at half time in the Bernabeu, before losing 3-0. Tenerife’s pre season outlay of less then 3 million euros was dwarfed by Real’s 250 million spending spree, so the boys from Santa Cruz are relying heavily on their tight knit community of players and their passionate supporters, it’s a formula that worked so well in last seasons promotion campaign.
Realistically, this season will see a lot more defeats, staying up is the target, but British based fan club Armada Sur will as always stick to their mantra of Pride, Passion, Loyalty, and take 2 full coaches up from the south for the home games. The club is very much a family and when injuries strike, the goals dry up and the Canarian media sharpens it’s pens, a siege mentality helps to bind the fans and players closer.
Club president Miquel Concepcion shocked the media a few weeks into the season by stating that in 15 years he wants to see Tenerife clear of debt, 30 million euros at last count, and in Europe. Just for good measure he announced that the club has plans for a 45,000 capacity stadium in the mid to long term. It may sound like madness but he promised promotion and delivered it.
Local talent will play a key part in the future of CDT, Ricardo who wowed Sky TV viewers with a wonder goal against Osasuna, is well established in midfield, and 20 year old Omar has been given a senior contract after impressing with his speed and goal touch in pre season friendlies. Coach Jose Luis Oltra likes to give young players their chance, especially if they fit into his attacking outlook.
Short On Squad Numbers
The latest game, a 1-0 home defeat to Deportivo was typically frustrating, 4 key players missing through injury and CD Tenerife still had the better of the first half chances but squandered them. The old problem of not defending strongly from set pieces let the visitors score from a corner. Free scoring forwards Nino and Alfaro ran rampant through the Second Division last season but are finding the step up a pretty big one. Captain and right back Marc Bertran is out for 4 months after a horrendous tackle from Real’s Drenthe broke his ankle, but new heroes will emerge from the squad as the season goes on. One thing that remains constant is the wall of noise and committed support of the home faithful, a vital ingredient as home form should go a long way to ensuring survival.
Keep The Faith
The 23,000 Heliodoro will be near to bursting all season, and although tickets for Barcelona and Real Madrid are already commanding huge prices on auction sites, there is a trickle of tickets up for grabs for most home games. You can scrum down at the Santa Cruz stadium a few days before each game or in the south go to Libreria Raquel in El Camison. Come the end of season, survival will be greeted with major parties, mission accomplished and the foundations laid for a march up the table.