Monday, December 3, 2007

How the mighty have fallen

Okay, maybe Real Betis doesn't count among the ranks of the "mighty", but the Balompie Blog's favorite La Liga team has certainly taken a tumble from the lofty heights it reached as recently as the 2004/05 season

Sitting next-to-last in the league, having lost another coach and without any marquee players, Betis will have quite a struggle just to stay up for another year.

Slurpo-san thinks it all goes back to the ill-fated 2005/06 Champions League season. While Betis managed to knock off Chelsea in Sevilla (a game Slurpo-san and Scott-o attended!!), Betis never really had a chance to move past a loaded group that also included Liverpool. The strain of UCL football for a squad blessed with little depth proved too much as Betis slumped out of the group stage and struggled for the entire La Liga season. Other "small" clubs have suffered similar fates--recall Everton in the Champs League in 2005. That team didn't even make the group stage and then struggled to finish 11th in the EPL. Further evidence that UCL football can be both a blessing and a curse--yes, it brings additional revenue, but unless you have a large and capable squad, you run the risk of being stretched too thin and failing at both, rather than trying to succeed at one.

Here's hoping legendary Betis owner Lopera brings in a solid coach and opens his wallet in January to give the team an infusion of talent that will save them from the drop.

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