‘Mathematically safe’ as good as it gets this season

Being deemed as ‘mathematically safe’ is about as glamorous as it has been or is going to get this season. The truth is, it hasn’t been one to savour but we are safe and we will be playing La Liga football next year. Despite a bit of money being spent last summer and a couple of big name signings, the possibility of relegation was real (as it usually always is with Betis) so it is mission accomplished from that perspective.

However, as fans we have been left wanting more. This weekend Betis ground out a gritty 1-1 draw against Eibar, which isn’t a bad result considering Eibar’s good form at the Ipurua. For the majority of the season that has been it: ok, alright, not bad, half decent. When it hasn’t been mediocre it has been worse than that. Uninspiring and quite frankly dull.

There have been a few shining lights and one is from a name we are all familiar with – Rubén Castro. On Sunday against Eibar he equalled his best ever La Liga total when he slotted in his 18th goal after a good bit of wing-work from Joaquín. Those two unique players combining has not happened nearly as much as it should have done this season, which is a travesty!

Rubén has scored over 56% of Betis’ total goals this season. 18 out of 32! Great for Rubén when you think of the other fine seasons he has had in green and white but what a poor reflection on an un-vintage Betis team. It has been hard to find motivation this season watching a team who has scored an average of 0.86 goals a game – the worst of any team in La Liga. Not quite as bad as Aston Villa but Bloody rock-bottom Levante have scored have averaged more than that.

Rubén’s other 18 goal total came in the 2012-13 season. A quick look back and the very first game of the season tells me all I need to know as to how we played that season…5-3 away victory at Athletic Bilbao.

The goalscorers that day were Rubén, Beñat, Pozuelo and a brace for Molina. This season there hasn’t been anywhere near that level of excitement. The highest scoring game we’ve been involved in where we have won was a 3-0 away victory at Espanyol, the only time we have scored more than two in a league game.

The 2012-13 season saw us end up 6th, qualifying for European football. We could still end up finishing in the top half of the table this season but it wouldn’t be vindicated. We don’t deserve it from the football we have played. I hope this summer we get rid of some of the dead wood and bring in a bit of quality, a few characters and players who are willing to fight for the team.

There is now just one game of the season left and it’s against Getafe who are fighting for the lives not to be relegated. I can’t see the players being as up for this game as the Getafe players will be, which will probably mean that the season finishes with a whimper, summing it up ironically well.

As fans we want to be entertained. It’s as simple as that. Staying another season in La Liga is absolutely brilliant and it was the season objective but it’s pointless doing that year after year and settling for dullness. We don’t want to be the Espanyol’s, the Getafe’s, the Stoke’s or the West Brom’s of this world. We are Betis!

As Leicester have shown, football relies on teamwork, hard work and determination. Of course you need a sprinkling of skill and quality in there as well but you have got to want it. We need to see that from Betis.

Perhaps we will do a Leicester next season? I’m off to put a fiver on it

Viva er Betis manquepierda!


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