Back in the 1930s the Spanish La Liga was flourishing. Teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona were excelling, but there was one side that was consistently challenging for the top spots every season, yet today they are relatively unknown. That team? Real Oviedo.
The team from the Spanish north were formed in 1926 with the merging of Stadium Ovtense and Real Club Deportivo Oviedo, and just seven years later found themselves in the top tier of the league system. Between 1933 and 1936 top striker Isidro Langaraformed a legendary front three with Gale Herrerita and Emilin and won the Pichini Trophy (the top scorer’s award) three years in a row. Those years were Oviedo’s greatest, as they scored 174 goals in 62 league games, but their run was halted along with the rest of competitive football in the country with the outbreak of WW2, and the side was relegated to the second division due to their pitch not meeting the league’s requirements. For a few decades, the side interchanged between the first and second division, even spending one season in the third division in 1978, before reattaining their second league status at the first try.
After a stadium renovation for the 1982 Spanish World Cup, the side enjoyed a second, shorter, spell of success. In the early 1990s, they finished regularly in the European spots and enjoyed around a decade of domestic success.
However, in the early noughties, the Oviedistas were relegated to the fourth division and fell upon serious financial trouble. Only a promotion playoff final win on penalties against the Mallorca reserves could save them from folding, but even then they were still in serious trouble.
But, recently, the club’s sizable fan base and the rest of football has grouped together to save the club from bankruptcy. Former players Juan Mata, Santa Cazorla and Michu all made large contributions, and Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man at the time, bought $2.5million worth of stakes, and the club was finally saved. Finally, once again the club are challenging for a La Liga spot, sitting third and just a point off of Cadiz in the automatic promotion spot in second.
However, Oviedo’s defence this season has shown signs of leaks so those problems will need to be patched up if they are to retain their spot in the playoffs and challenge for the automatic promotion spots.
Do you think that Real Oviedo will return to their full former success, or will they be locked out of La Liga for the foreseeable future? I think that we will see Oviedo back in the top ten of La Liga within a decade, but it will take work. Leave your opinion in the comments below.