Grievous Villarreal still march on

The Tireless Midfielder

It’s late and a match is soon to begin. It’s the 31 August and Osasuna are preparing for their third game of the season. The opposite manager, Marcelino García Toral, is pondering his team selection. More than 12,000 spectators have gathered to Reyno de Navarra in Pamplona, north-east of Spain, to watch Los Rojillos play against the esteemed El Submarino Amarillo. Villarreal, earning promotion back to La Liga after the plight of the season before last, were looking to return to familiar surroundings. Marcelino – for short – had taken over from Julio Velázquez in January of this year tasked with ensuring that they didn’t sink any further than they had. A long way from the season before last.

The previous manager had lasted just six months. Frustration grew inside El Madrigal and attendances dwindled. An encouraging start turned sour quickly, when victory over Córdoba at home 2-0 mustered…

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