A miracle against the tide

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the last promotion of Unión Deportiva Las Palmas to Second A. AS collects testimonies from 4 key figures of that success.

A-miracle-against-the-tide

In the middle of the first decade of the 20th century, the Unión Deportiva Las Palmas did not disappear by a miracle. A miracle that began to take shape in the summer of 2005 and that became flesh on June 24, 2006, when a goal by Marcos Márquez at the Gran Canaria Stadium burst eardrums of its own and strangers and put the club into professional Spanish football.

In full bankruptcy, the survival of Las Palmas could well have undergone that rise. Had he not succeeded, it will never be known that he would have been one of the most prominent sports entity in the Canary Islands, but there are many clues that invite the fatal outcome that never occurred. Nauzet scored the goal of his life in Anoeta, and Márquez in Siete Palmas that of so many people.

To remember the 15 years of that feat, a sports miracle with so many institutional and economic problems, Diario AS echoes the testimonies of four key protagonists of that feat. Come and read.

Marcos Márquez.

Icon of Las Palmas during the first decade of this century, the testimony of the Sevillian striker seems essential. "I remember that day with great emotion," insists Márquez. The idea that promotion was mandatory continues to permeate him. The club was dying: "It was a difficult and complicated moment due to the situation of the club and we were forced to promote yes or yes. After how everything turned out, the feelings are of pride after having achieved that promotion" .

Márquez also remembers the perfect communion that he had with the fans of Gran Canaria. "We lived in the streets, we were very well supported by the fans, we were one. I remember that we made radio spots to make an appeal and they did not fail us. They took us flying from minute one," he says.

Whoever was more decisive than anyone in that crowd remembers, once again, Nauzet Alemán: "I remember that in the tie against Real Sociedad B we were out, but Nau scored a goal at the last minute and we were in. Then, in the first leg Against Linares, a game that is not talked about much, the tie at two was crucial. I remember the issue of the stone for the UD fan and it was a war that we had to carry out yes or yes ". A few days later the final victory was certified.

Víctor Afonso

The central Gran Canaria, today coach, returned to his "home" on time. A few months before, however, they had been rivals. "I perfectly remember that promotion, the first one for Ramírez at the helm. I returned to the club, which I consider my home, from the Casillo; we had coincided in Second B", recalls Afonso. He recalls how he was presented with Siro Darino, another key player in that promotion, before starting "a season in which we had difficulties to get to the top." So much so that there was a change of coach: "That caused Josip Vijnic to be fired. With Juanito we improved a lot, which led us to promotion."It is impossible to forget, either for Víctor Afonso, that game against Rayo in the final league stretch. "The game against Rayo, with 30,000 people, was very tense, but in the end the penalty from Marcos (Márquez) put us ahead. Then we won in Lanzarote to certify the passage to the qualifying rounds," he evokes excitedly.

In the qualifying rounds, he had to make up when all was lost, especially that afternoon in Anoeta. It was playoff times. "Real Sociedad B was our turn, we won 1-0 at home and, although we had everything under control in Anoeta, they put us first, then second, and we had to score," he says. With the precision of a surgeon, this is how he narrates the miracle: "I remember that I started the play on the wing, I put the ball to David Rodriguez and Nau scored that goal."

"Then we had Linares", third, "a team that had been very strong throughout the year at home." An infernal atmosphere gave wings to Las Palmas: "In the first leg the treatment was very bad; in fact, they slashed the head of one of our fans with a stone and, in the end, we tied at 2." Not that they were the two heroes of that promotion, he again remembers, of course, Márquez and Nauzet Alemán: "In the second leg, with the stadium full, the fans pushed us to victory. We played a very serious game. We started the second half and I remember very well, the play was perfect. Nauzet's ball towards the heart of the area and Marcos scored the goal that put them at a disadvantage because they had to score two goals. The team was promoted ". And so much that was seen.Juanma Marrero

The current Fuenlabrada footballer had a prominent role in the ascent of his hometown team. "We were very happy for all the accumulation of things that we experienced that year. People were very happy because they saw that everyone's effort made the promotion a reality. In addition, achieving it with the team of your life makes it even more special", Counts the defender.

That was a squad of players from Gran Canaria, at least 8 in the starting team on the decisive day: along with Juanma, Ione, David García, Alberto Hernández, Víctor Afonso, Nauzet Alemán, Aythami Artiles and Aday. "The footballers here feel this team from the heart and soul," insists Marrero. "It's that it's what you've lived all your life. That is why, having achieved promotion with so many players on earth makes you feel even more proud of what you've achieved," he adds.

Juanma completed his third season with the team that year, so he was as aware as most of all the financial problems that Las Palmas was going through at that time. "Moving up in these conditions has enormous merit," he confesses. First the box and then the team game. Everything went wrong. This is how he recalls: "We were all season rowing against the current, we faced all possible adversities. The fans, of course, were not comfortable. But we recovered. Despite all that we achieved the great goal; that was more gratifying, you give it more value. "

"Nothing would have been possible without that goal by Nauzet Alemán in Anoeta. There we laid the foundations for promotion against Linares", insists Marrero.

There, in the heart of Jaén, Las Palmas lived a real hell. "But even before that game was played in Linares. There was even an attempt to buy players," he recalls, still amazed. "They tried to destabilize us from all sides, and each one had to row where he could," he insists. In a scenario of "war" the UD finally came out successful: "In Linares they tried everything possible, such as with the stands, with their fans so close to the touchline. That was a war in which everything was worth it. I agree as if it were today. The team had a very good dynamic, we dominated ".

That "war" of Linares crossed with the psychological battle that the team of the Sports Union lived in their day to day. The subsistence of the club, bankruptcy present, was at stake. "In the day we had it in mind, of course. The club was going through very complicated moments, and you end up getting soaked," he justifies. The pressure, in his case, as a Gran Canaria and footballer of that group, multiplied until it is not known where: "You are representing the club of your life, and you know that promotion was the objective to be able to save him economically. That pressure from which I'll talk to you, we talked about it a lot with Nau (German), David García, Aythami… ".

After that promotion, Juanma lasted two seasons at the club before making a career across the Atlantic. Thus, an unfinished history with the UD remained. "I was going through difficult times. I barely played in my last season, and I needed a change," he says with some regret. "I don't regret it," he clarifies. But his wish, already past, could also continue in force: "Of course I would have wanted to go back and be able to play for my hometown team without as much pressure as we suffered that year." Not that it was necessary, on the other side of the phone it is sensed that he betrays a sly smile.Miguel Ángel Ramírez

Sportingly speaking, Miguel Ángel Ramírez, president and largest shareholder of Las Palmas, had life going on that promotion. At least the club. "The promotion that was one of the keys to achieving success in managing the entire economic crisis. It is not the same to face a creditors' agreement in Second Division B than in Second A", clarifies the leader.

The year of its premiere in the presidency, where it remains today, could not have ended better. It is impossible not to coincide, in addition, in the best moments: "The possibilities of the club were different and thanks to the promotion, in my first year as president, I keep a pleasant memory. The goal in Anoeta in the last gasp of the game by Nauzet and That tremendous goal by Marcos Márquez, a pass from Nau, I will never forget ".



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