Getafe: A team in the image of Jose Bordalas

Colin Millar by Colin Millar / 28 May 2019, 14:05

Jose Bordalas began his management career a quarter of a century ago in the Spanish third division and in September 2016, Getafe became the 11th different club to appoint him.

At that time the club, based in Madrid’s southern suburbs, were in trouble.

They had been relegated from La Liga the previous season - ending their 12-year stay in the top flight - and were second from bottom in the notoriously difficult second tier.

Getafe are not only a small club by La Liga’s standards, but they were also modest within the division below and if they did not find their feet swiftly they could have been facing up to the prospect of successive relegations.

It was at this juncture that they turned to Bordalas, who had guided Alaves back to La Liga in his sole campaign in charge of the club just months earlier before his surprise dismissal.

The Basque club had won the Segunda division and the coach ending their decade-long absence from the top flight was no mean feat. Alaves adapted following his departure, recording a top half finish and appearing in the Copa del Rey final but Bordalas did not have time to feel sorry for himself.

By that stage, he had transformed Getafe - after missing out on automatic promotion by just two points, they defeated Huesca and Tenerife in the playoffs to bounce back to La Liga at the first attempt.

Four seasons earlier, Bordalas had suffered playoff heartache after guiding tiny Alcorcon to within two games of their first ever promotion to Primera but this would have tasted just as sweet.

Getafe’s expectations of their new manager were high from the start, with posters going up around the suburb with his face adorned alongside the message of “take me to the Primera”, following on from his dismissal by Alaves.

Since their promotion, Getafe have gone from strength to strength. Operating on one of the division’s lowest budgets, they missed out on European football in their first season back in the big time by just three points as they finished eighth. Next time round it was even better, finishing fifth and only missing out on a Champions League spot to Valencia on the final day of the season.

 

Under Bordalas, Getafe are not a team for the purists. They are a cynical side, horrible to play against with an emphasis on tactical fouling, intensity and team ethic.

They are not trying to win the hearts of neutrals but they are an incredibly well-drilled, relentless and ferocious outfit. They are a team of journeymen, misfits and free agents, moulded into one of Spain’s most effective teams.

37-year-old captain and striker Jorge Molina is older than the club itself, while fellow potent forward Angel Rodriguez and Jaime Mata were both plucked from the second tier. The three have a combined age of 99, while 30-year-old Mata won his first international cap in March in a season where he netted 16 goals for Los Azulones.

This is a team in the image of Bordalas. A fiery, competitive individual who is driven by intense motivation, occasionally bordering on anger, to prove others wrong. Winning at any cost but always against the odds - only Atletico Madrid have conceded fewer than Getafe in La Liga since their 2017 promotion.

Getafe themselves are an odd club in Spain’s top flight. By any measure they are one of the smallest in the division, but they are not viewed with the same affection as many other minnows. Perhaps it is because they have missed just one La Liga season since 2004, which was their first promotion to La Liga.

Despite their on-field successes, their average attendance is only 10,837 and when you exclude the visits of Real Madrid, Atletico and Barcelona, it dips below 10,000.

The stadium feels somewhat soulless, and there is not the same fervent level as support as the inner-city, working-class Rayo Vallecano.

But Rayo are back down to the second tier as Getafe fly into Europe and should boss Bordalas remain at the club, there is little indication that their success will slow down anytime soon.

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