Seville Snapshots: el Manque Pierda and the Crónica of a Season to Forget

To say that Betis has had a season to forget – plagued by injuries, three different coaches and bad luck with referees – is an understatement. Before the team even took the field at Estadio Benito Villamarín on Saturday, the 30,000 socios (me and the Novio included), had mathematical confirmation of a suspicion we’ve had since the end of the primera vuelta:

Un Betis en Segunda, relegated to the Liga Adelante four games before the end of the season.

As a first-time season ticket holder, I looked forward to every other Sunday in Gol Norte. Football became my new religion, bocadillos and sunflower seeds, my Sunday dinner, and I learned the words to the chants and hymn. After Betis’s miraculous 2012-13 season, one that saw them finish above Sevilla Fútbol Club and make it to the UEFA Euro League, it was a great moment to be bético.

But our hopes started to fade with the news of sales to make a quick buck and injuries from star players like Jorge Molina and Ruben Castro. Then came Pepe Mel’s firing – a move that polarized fans – and two more coaches who failed to save a flailing team. There were more jeers than cheers.

As we sat once more in Gol Norte on Saturday, I did my best to animar my team, perennial underdog in a city with two teams and two aficiones. The stadium was only half-full and sat in long periods of silence. Real Sociedad was playing for a spot in Europa and did us zero favors.

I’d say we left dejected after 93 minutes of hell, but we made the best of it, sharing snacks and joking about how next season will be different – we’ll probably win most games. I’ve come to see the people who sit around us as allies in a fight against the bad guys (the Dirección). And then there was the other guiri who did his darndest to rally the troops, dressed head-to-toe in green and white.

Despite the bad news, I’m still fiercely bética. As a matter of fact, I went to my first two Betis games when they were still in Segunda in 2010 and was immediately won over by the fan base, the electric feeling of being somewhere between heaven and hell when in the stadium.

Just as the Himno del Betis says, “Aunque última estuvieras simper te ven campeón.” What really makes Real Betis Balompié stand out from other teams in La Liga is its fan base, and I’m proud to have been to 15 home games and a UEFA playoff to cheer with 30,000 others. 

Betis may be in Segunda, but in the words of coach Gabriel Calderón, su afición es de Primera.

Who do you think will join Betis in Segunda, and who will move up into Primera?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. It is always hard to see your team lose. I’m not too into La Liga (basically not at all, only for Mario’s crazy cousins), but I have that feeling you had about Betis last year … about Spain. I feel like La Roja’s not going to be able to pull of El Mundial this year, which will be sad because they’ve been on a winning streak ever since I got to Spain in 2008.
    Kaley recently posted..So You’re Dating a Spaniard—ChelseaMy Profile

  2. Christine says:

    Having followed Malaga and being on the highest of highs (winning season and Champions League) to come crashing back down was quite ummm let’s just say hard but I applaud true fans like yourself who never give up on their team.

  3. Ashley Duncan says:

    Today was rough at school with 1° de la ESO who are mysteriously alllll sevillistas. At least season tickets will be cheaper next season!

  4. i am sorry Cat!…you must be really a football supporter i feel you and hope Betis will return to the top division next season, you know why? because they have got one the best “aficiones”, even fans of other clubs recognise that Beticos are really nice and wit, whereas Sevilla supporters are hooligans and love rioting….

    deep-rooted and famous clubs like Betis don’t deserve to be relegated, but you know that this is football, and clubs get relegated whereas others get to the top division, fair!

    good luck next season Cat!!

  5. Esto es muy injusto, el Betis no se merecía esto. Y mira que yo no soy bético, pero ¡¡¡volveremos!!! de momento me conformaré con animar al Real Madrid, en fin…
    Jesús de María recently posted..Castilla nació en estas tierras.My Profile

    • Lo dicho – su afición es de primera! No le quiero culpar a nadie, pero está claro que varias malas decisiones han acabado con una año de permanencia y otro de Europa. Tengo mucha fé, tanto en la afición como en la plantilla. Ya veremos como cambia la cosa sin Gaby, quizás sin Rubén…pero de animar otro equipo? Nah, paso.

  6. I was living in Granada when Granada CF moved up into Primera. The city was electric and the celebration even better. I instantly became a fan, so I know the feeling you had. Luckily, they haven’t be relegated since, but they’ve been close. As for the other teams being relegated or moved up this year, I can’t really speak to that as I haven’t been following it too closely.

  7. Heartbreaking to be in the Segunda, but you’ll be back the following year. Me, I’m hoping Real Madrid gets relegated some day. In the meantime, I will settle for Atletico Madrid beating them in the Champions final.
    Tom Bartel recently posted..Pieterskirk, Leiden, NetherlandsMy Profile

    • Cat Gaa says:

      I don’t think RM will ever be relegated – too big of a club, and enough money to be able to pay for the good players! Betis’s future is really uncertain since players are getting bought up by bigger clubs… but I’m hopeful!

  8. finally Osasuna and Valladolid will join Betis in hell.

    i hope that at least Betis and Osasuna will return as they are deep-rooted and famous clubs.

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Sadly, I stopped caring about Betis a month ago…I am terrible! But I have the World Cup to look forward to!


  1. […] truth, it was a bendición from the gods: after watching Betis get relegated to Segunda as a card-carrying socio, I had all my cards on Spain’s World Cup […]

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