Diego Martínez, who is the best coach that Granada CF have had in their 91 years of existence, left on May 27th 2021. He joined the club in the summer of 2018 and went up to LaLiga Santander right away in his first season in charge.
A year later and with the second lowest budget of the league, Granada CF accomplished a historical qualifying to the Europa League and made it all the way to the Spanish Cup semifinals (and they were just 10 minutes away from playing the final).
In his last season in charge, Diego Martínez made history again, as Granada CF played in the Europa League quarter finals against Manchester United. Furthermore, they ended up in a meritorious 9th position in LaLiga.
It all seemed to be in its right place and Granada CF finally had a solid project to keep progressing in the long term after such a long time waiting to be in this situation. However, that idyllic scenario faded away too early. A week after finishing the 2020/2021 campaign, the club announced the sack of the coach after not having reached an agreement for his stay.
In his last press conference, Diego Martínez said that this Granada was going to be whatever the ownership wanted the club to be, that is to say that the main reason for his departure was the board of directors.
“The future of Granada will depend on whatever the ownership wants the club to be”
Diego Martínez in his farewell as Granada’s head coach
And he was not wrong at all. Just a few days later, the club introduced Robert Moreno as their new coach. A coach that had been gone through multiple controversies and whose playing style did not match at all with the group of players he would have.
Time proved that all of the people who doubted on the management of the club were right. A disastrous start in the league where Granada CF only earned 3 points after seven games played was not enough to convince the board of directors of the multiple mistakes they had made.
However, and against all odds, the passing of the fixtures and the settle of Robert Moreno’s playing style allowed to see a more compacted Granada that picked up some prestigious wins such as against Sevilla FC and Atlético de Madrid.
The main problem of the team was not the lack of quality, at least until the Christmas break. The real problem was the irregularity. They never dominated the boxes, which is the most important aspect in football. The defensive lacks were never compensated by strikers that would secure a decent quantity of goals and vice versa.
This was the scenario until fixture 27th, with a team that was already situated in a delicate area in the table and who saw that their immediate chasers (Mallorca, Cádiz or Getafe) were starting to earn points more regularly and, overall, had their own playing style. Finally, as a change of course was required, the board of directors fired Robert Moreno and named Rubén Tordecilla provisionally.
Results were not on his side either, as he only won one game out of the five he was in charge. With six pending games and at the edge of relegation, the only viable solution was another change of coach. Yes indeed, it was too late. Aitor Karanka was the chosen one. Six games ahead of him and the goal to stay in LaLiga for an extra year. Who would have thought that on May 2021.
A golden point at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium and two consecutive wins against Mallorca (2-6) and Athletic Club de Bilbao left them just a victory away from the stay. This way, Karanka was very close to accomplished the goal they had hired him for.
However, Granada CF dig their own grave after falling to Real Betis and not being able to beat an Espanyol that had nothing to fight for. The outcome took place at home by depending on themselves and against a rival that in the last minutes provided them with all the facilities to concede the required goal to stay. It did not happen.
They say that calm comes after the storm. However, this relegation has left the entity very unstable both morally and economically. This club needs an urgen restructuring both in their roster and board of directors.
The goal is clear, to return to LaLiga Santander as soon as possible. On the contrary, this Granada CF can suffer the same as any other historial teams such as Sporting de Gijón, Real Zaragoza or Málaga CF. Teams that have gotten stuck in the second division without a solid project.
All in all, on May 27th 2021 was the beginning of the end. Diego Martínez knew it and most of the fans as well. It was the chronicle of a foretold relegation.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: Twitter @GranadaCF.
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