Club news

TWENTY YEARS WITH LENDOIRO

14 May 2008
Augusto C�sar Lendoiro reached an incredible mark on the past Friday: twenty years as the president of Deportivo La Coru�a. The highest mark in the history of the Galician club. RCDLC.com presents a small review of this last twenty years. An interview made by sportpaper AS is also presented in a separate article.

It was June 13th, 1988. Small Galician club Deportivo La Coru�a was in the middle of a financial and sporting crisis, with a debt valued in 600 millions of pesetas (currently �3.6 million) and also living a dark period of 15 years without playing at Primera Divisi�n. The team was even close to end in Segunda B for the season 1987/1988, but a miraculous last-minute goal of Vicente, against Racing Santander in the last game of the season, saved Deportivo.

After that, it was decided that a drastic change was needed, ex-president Andr�s Garc�a Y��ez left his job and the club started to search for his substitute. In the end, the figure of Augusto C�sar Lendoiro emerged as the new president of Deportivo. This Corcubion-born enthusiastic person decided to take the job after making a good work with Ural and later with Liceo, the successful hockey team based in A Coru�a.

The curious story is that Lendoiro didn't want to be president, he didn't show up for the first two election callings, and it was necessary to convince him that he was the right person for the job. Later he presented the necessary votes. Nobody else presented a candidacy. It wasn't a surprise since nobody was wishing to take this huge responsibility.

But Lendoiro did it, and the results started to arrive very soon, at least in the financial aspect. In only one year, the debt was erased and the club started to earn money. But the results on the pitch weren't arriving. Depor lost the chance to reach Primera Divisi�n for the season 1989/1990 as the team lost the promotion series against Tenerife.

The goal was finally achieved one year later and Deportivo was returning to Primera after almost two decades. The first season at the elite was tough and Depor struggled to survive, but the permanence was achieved after a successful series against Real Betis. The plans of Lendoiro were perfectly working, in  a couple of years, he cleaned the financial situation inside the club and the squad was already playing at Primera Divisi�n.

But Lendoiro wasn't satisfied, he wanted more, it was then when he showed an unknown face to the world: the one of the tough negotiator. For the season 1992/1993, the club's board of directors was decided to present a strong squad and it put its eyes over Brazil, more precisely over Bebeto and Mauro Silva. This 'new stars' were appointed as the main reinforcements for the squad. Bebeto was near to go to Germany and Mauro doesn't even knew where La Coru�a was, but Lendoiro flied to Brazil in order to convince them... and he did it.

Lendoiro even lied to them as he assured the weather in Galicia was the same than in Brazil. All in order to fulfil his dreams and also the ones of Depor's fans. And the efforts of the president had an instant reward: the appearance of the Super Depor. A phenomena that stills impressing all over the Spanish football. The titles started to show up and Deportivo lived its best and most glorious moments.

It was the time of the big money and the Champions League participations. Maybe the biggest error within Lendoiro's twenty-years reign was to not recognise that times were changing. The control over debt was simple inexistent and the club fell into a economic hole that stills menacing Deportivo's future. A thing that calls the attention is that Lendoiro has never faced a strong opposition inside Deportivo, no matter the club still based in a large list of shareholders. One of the explanations is that Lendoiro controls key points inside the club, like the board of directors, the club's assembly and even the sympathy of important shareholders.

Another dark point in these twenty years are the conflicts maintained by Lendoiro with the main institutions in the city of A Coru�a, although this problems are more caused by his political militancy in past years. His main confrontation has been with newspaper La Voz de Galicia and the ex-major of the city, Francisco V�zquez V�zquez. This conflicts have just complicated the delicate financial moment of the club.

No matter the problems with the debt and the political controversy, it's clear that Lendoiro has been the most important president in the history of Deportivo. Because it was him the main responsible for the national and international success of the club (the reader could even speculate about the existence of this website without this success).

But now the challenges are big and different. Deportivo suffered at the beginning of the season 2007/2008 and despite everything ended well, it could be interpreted as a warning for the future. The club needs a economical injection, new investors are desperately wanted, and if this isn't enough, the squad constantly needs new players in order to compete in one of the biggest leagues in Europe. The relegation is not an option and Lendoiro knows it.

A lot has been speculated about the future of Depor, the main inquire is if Lendoiro is the right person to sort all this challenges, the answer to this question still to be a mystery, but the only thing clear is that Lendoiro is ready to battle for another twenty years, as he said in a recent interview in Radio Cadena Ser: "Of the cowards nothing important has been written."

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