Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Olé said it's the most politicised club in the world.
They obviously don’t know how things work at Real Madrid, think Celtic wear green because it looks good, and would argue that there is no conflict of interest when a Prime Minister also owns one of the biggest football clubs in Italy.
La Nación were slightly more accurate saying that River Plate is possibly the most, politicised club in Argentina.
And so it proved to be at the weekend, when there were presidential elections.
Rodolfo D’Onofrio is none too happy at losing the race to be the next River Plate chief, but then with over 14,000 members voting, losing by a margin of six votes can’t be all that pleasant.
D’Onofrio thought he was onto a banker with Enzo Francescoli, a legend at River Plate, set to be the general manager under el presidente D’Onofrio.
There was just one problem.
Enzo may have been on all the campaign posters, but come the day of the elections, Francescoli was nowhere to be seen.
He was in Uruguay - and Enzo's appeal was lost somewhere across the river between Buenos Aires and Montevideo when it came to the crunch.
Despite the electoral board being happy with the results, D’Onofrio is still crying foul and intending to appeal, but for now he’s going nowhere.
The man to take over is The Kaiser.
Now, we may have come close to Lothar Matthaus taking over at Racing, but this doesn’t mean that Franz Beckenbauer is taking an intesive course in Spanish.
No, River Plate have their very own World Cup-winning captain to run things: Daniel Passarella.
Passarella is Mr River Plate. He was born on the same day the club was founded.
He won seven trophies at the club, and retired wearing the red stripe, only to then take over in the dugout and win three trophies in four years in his first spell as coach.
Oh, and he lifted the World Cup – appropriately at the Monumental.
It makes you wonder how the opposition tried to convince everybody that he was, and still is, a Boca fan, but that’s what they did. He apparently supported the city rivals as a boy.
Judging by his CV, it's hard to make it stick.
So Mr River Plate now has the Herculean task of dragging his club – it really is his club now – out of a situation which looks like 2012 came early.
When Vélez beat River 3-1 this weekend (River’s goal coming from their ONLY attack of the game), the home fans echoed the sentiment of just about every non-River Plate fan:
"You’re going down! You’re going down to the B!"
The law of averages, which is how relegation is decided in Argentina, declares River Plate the 12th best team in Argentina over the past three years.
If it were decided like most other nations do it, however, they would be going down.
Passarella says he’ll stick with coach Leo Astrada, he hopes Ortega can recover from his problems, he dreams of bringing Crespo, Ayala and Saviola back to the club, and his dream is to win the only trophy missing from his crowded mantelpiece – the Libertadores.
For now though, it's a question of priorities. "The first thing I have to do is a complete audit to see what state the club is in," he said.
It won’t be pretty, much like watching River right now, but for the millonario fans getting rid of the previous president is the first step out of the abyss.
Time for D:Ream.
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Hope he finds the books left in better order than what Newell's president Guillermo Lorente found when he took over from Eduardo Lopez... which is to say that the books are there to look at.
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