Poyet Slams Fans As Víctor Responds With A Win

Víctor and Real Betis started 2017 in perfect fashion with a controlled 2-0 victory over Leganés on Sunday. Let’s hope this is a benchmark for the rest of the season.

The win, courtesy of two second half goals from the ever-green Rubén Castro and unlikely scorer Cristiano Piccini, take Betis to 21 points from 17 games. This doesn’t sound like an awful lot but it is actually one of Betis’ brightest start in recent reasons. In fact over the last 14 years only Lorenzo Serra (2005) and Pepe Mel (2013) have accumulated more points by match day 17.

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New Manager, New Betis? Update in the Betisphere

It’s not the first time that a new manager arrives and it looks like a miracle has happened in the ranks, but you can add Víctor and Betis to that list.

In his four short days in charge, Víctor Sánchez del Amo did something to produce a vast change on the pitch – exactly what the club had hoped for when they sacked Poyet and hired him. A certified miracle-worker he may not be just yet, but it’s a promising start nonetheless.

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Gus Poyet Sacked, Víctor Sánchez del Amo Hired

After weeks of turbulence, calls from fan groups and general unrest, Gus Poyet has finally been relieved of his duties at Real Betis.

The Uruguayan was brought in to head the start of new era Betis after Pepe Mel was sacked in January and a new administration board was elected. Poyet took over from the very popular caretaker manager Juan Merino and initially optimism was plentiful. However, the initial good vibrations that were flowing through the club fairly quickly turned to slight pessimism and then downright turmoil.

Despite making a few good signings on paper, it just never seemed to fit with Poyet in charge. His style of football was much different from what béticos were used and even the philosophy of the club in truth. Poyet is careful, considered and not really ready to jump into gung-ho mode, unlike say Pepe Mel would. The team always played on the side of caution and just didn’t show excitement or any belief in their abilities; this has to be because of Poyet’s management style.

He only had just over five months in charge at the club, which is no time at all, and no one can realistically expect an immediate change to the style and fortunes at the club; the problem is that there were absolutely no signs of anything positive, which may seem quite harsh, but it is true. The team played exactly the same way last season under an increasingly desperate Mel, but this season they seemed to play with even less spark and with even less ideas. It wasn’t good to watch.

This snapshot of results shows the last seven games. Two wins and five losses, is quite bad but it’s more so the manner of the defeats. Lacklustre screams out to me. Four goals scored and 12 conceded in that time. The best goalscorer with have, Rubén Castro, dropped to the bench and Cejudo captaining the side against Villarreal was the limit for some.

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Fans have been calling for this head with shouts of “Poyet Vete Ya” circulating for a few weeks now. Once you lose the fans there’s no looking back. I’ve held out in hope that we will start to show signs of improvement but none came. For me the scales were tipped last week against Villarreal in another woeful performance. They had tipped long before for many fans.

poyet vete ya real betis

I think Torrecilla and the board wanted didn’t want to act just yet but the fans power was too much. Some sections had said they would boycott the matches until Poyet was fired. I am now glad to see the back of Poyet. I like a few players will be very glad to see the back of him too, namely Dani Ceballos, Charly Musonda and Rubén Castro.

Poyet was a great footballer, full of flair and excitement, but his management style is the polar opposite. He had me bored stiff and resenting watching the team by 10pm on a Friday night, Betis’ ‘favourite’ kick off time.

Víctor Sánchez del Amo – Víctor the Saviour?

And now with have the start of another new era. No doubt this will be the biggest challenge of Víctor’s career – the poison chalice of Betis. We hope he can provide the antidote. The club have made a very considered appointment, after backing Poyet for a number of weeks, many directors were sick of him without announcing it publicly.

Torrecilla has held talks with Míchel, Luis García  and Juan Ignacio Martínez but has opted for Víctor, which has gone down pretty well with fans and journalists.

This is the same legendary Víctor who revelled at Deportivo between 1999 and 2006. Since he retired he’s been building up his coaching and management experience. He’s had spells as assistant at Getafe, Sevilla and Olympiacos before taking over as manager of Deportivo in 2015, his first managerial appointment. His record wasn’t brilliant and he coaxed Depor to a 15th place finish before being sacked. He went to then manage Olympiacos but only last two months there and failed to get the team through Champions League qualification. He now becomes the youngest manager in La Liga at the age of 40.

So far not so good, so what have we to look forward to with Víctor in charge?

victor and pepe mel

He’s started off by saying the right things, “The union between the team and the fans is essential.” Correct. He also wants “to make all béticos feel proud of what they see on the pitch”. Get the players to get there all and the fans will love you. Also manage to do this and the team will probably do quite well. Easier said than done I’m guessing.

In terms of tactics he is fairly flexible opting for 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 generally with the occasional 4-5-1. The difference will be the motivation he gives the players, this is undoubtedly the key. Betis are desperately short of leaders, I hope he can provide the impetus, be the example and get the players believing again.

He has a week to work with the players before the next game against Las Palmas on Friday.

Buena suerte caballero y mucho Betis!

Worst Defeat In La Liga Era

In front of 41,655 people on Saturday night, Real Betis were thoroughly embarrassed as they suffered their worst defeat in La Liga. Ever. In 849 home games Betis have never been beaten more comprehensively.

It was supposed to be a difficult night for under-pressure Madrid; no win since September 18th and an injury crisis to deal with, whereas Betis were pretty much full-strength. It was a case of Zinedine Zidane exacting revenge after Betis halted his winning streak last season when he first took over as manager of Real Madrid.

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Is it too early to judge Gus Poyet?

Firstly I apologise for the lack of updates on the season start, a combination of holidays, new job and weddings have kept me from the laptop.

Two games in, how are we looking?

Well, probably not as well as most people anticipated. In jornada 1 we were on the end of a 6-2 hammering to a great Barcelona performance and the week after we played out a dull 0-0 draw with Deportivo. Not quite the electric start that pre-season had lead us on to believe would materialise, but as ever at Betis, onwards and upwards.

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La Liga 2016/2017 | Barcelona vs Betis Preview

There has been somewhat of a personnel revolution this summer at Betis. Such as the pace and rate of change at many Spanish football clubs, Betis are no different.

In just over 6 months we have seen the election of a new president and new boardroom, the sacking of a not so long since instated sporting director Eduardo Macìa, the appointment of his replacement director Miguel Torrecilla, the appointment of a new manager in Gus Poyet (plus his backroom staff), 10 new player signings by the latter two appointments – David López just confirmed as the 10th – and 15 players gone.

I was recently interviewed by GJ Sports Blog about Betis – how the mood is in camp, pre-season, summer activity, Gus Poyet, this season and young players, amongst a few others. You can read the full Real Betis Season Preview here.

It is hard to keep pace at times, and it certainly does keep me busy, but nonetheless the show does go on, and it starts this weekend!


La Liga – First Challenge Barcelona

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Winning the Supercopa against Sevilla (Image: Marca.com)

Betis have had a particularly good pre-season by there usual rocky standards. We’ve played 10, won 6, drawn 3 and lost just once. Of course, this doesn’t count for anything but Gus Poyet has had plenty of time for experimenting, integrating the new players and finding (hopefully)the winning formula.

All this means that los verdiblancos approach the first game, which could not be any more difficult by the way, in good spirits and plenty of time to set up. Yes, new players wouldn’t have gelled just yet but there is a mix of old and new and it seems like there is a good feeling running through the club.

So, Barcelona. Can Betis really plan to get anything out of this game?

I think so yes. It is unlikely, but I think it is far from impossible.


Betis Team News

real betis vs barcelona

40,000 béticos have bought a season ticket (Image: Sevilla.abc.es)

It’s going to be a very different starting 11 to enter onto the hallowed Camp Nou turf from that of this time last year against Villarreal. Five of the starting 11 from the first game of 2015/16 have now left Betis (Vargas, Xavi Torres, N’Diaye, Portillo & Molina) and a few others are out of favour.

In Gus Poyet’s last pre-season game against Red Bull Leipzig, which gives us a good indication for Saturday, he started with:

Adán – Piccini, Mandi (new), Pezzella, Durmisi (new) – Petros, Jonas Martin (new), Felipe Gutiérrez (new)– Joaquín, Rubén Castro & Musonda (new).

I suggest against Barcelona it will be something similar, perhaps with the Dani Ceballos in the centre and possibly Tonny Sanabria partnering Rubén up front or more likely occupying a wider position in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

Poyet has also played a more defensive 3-5-2 formation on several occasions this pre-season, which would see Bruno, Mandi and Pezzella play the 3 centre back positions and Durmisi and Piccini the wing/full backs.


Barcelona Team News

As for Barca, there aren’t heading into the game in tip-top condition. They will be missing a few key players, including Mascherano, who’s injured along with Iniesta and Mathieu. New signing Andre Gomes is suspended and Neymar and Rafinha are playing Olympic football in Brazil. Their number 1 Claudio Bravo is being heavily linked with Manchester City and they have lost influential full back Dani Alves.

It’s not all bad, however. They do have Messi and Suárez and have just won the Spanish Super Cup by 5-0 on aggregate against that other team from Seville, who look to be much weakened from last season having lost Kevin Gameiro, Ever Banega and Grzegorz Krychowiak.

Arda Turan popped up with two goals for Barca during the second leg with that new guy with blonde hair getting the third (see picture above). Both will play on Saturday against Betis but we hope that Gus Poyet with have masterminded a tactical coup to thwart them.

Kick off comes from the Nou Camp at 5:15pm (UK) and 6:15 (Spain). Feel free to comment below before, during or after the game.

Viva el Betis!

News update – signings, money and Euro 2016

It doesn’t seem like five minutes since the season finished, but Real Betis are already a club on the move. With Gus Poyet at the helm and new Sporting Director Miguel Torrecilla hitting the ground running, things are moving quickly again at the club.

Signings and potentials

First signing of the season was Riza Durmisi. He’s a very promising 22 year old Danish full back who likes to get forward. He’s already played 10 times for the national team including the other day against Bosnia where it’s reported he had a very good game, helping to set up two goals. Last season the left-footer was making a good name for himself and attracting attention all over Europe, including from Everton. In 2015 he won Brondy Player of the Year which inclined Betis to activate his €2m release clause and sign a 5 year deal.

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Podcast – Ben Hardman discusses Real Betis with The Spanish Football Show

I was asked to record a podcast a couple of weeks back for an episode on The Spanish Football Show. It wasn’t anything I had ever done before, but thought I’d give it a go…and below is the result.

The recording is about 30 mins along and I discuss all things Real Betis – from Lopera, the financial crisis, the current presidency, the performance this season back in La Liga, Guy Poyet and future aspirations for the club.  Once I got into it, it was an enjoyable experience!

If your ears are ready, you can listen here or click below.

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Hay Betis!

Yesterday’s match was one of the most enjoyable ones of the season for me. The fans were in jubilant mood, which was buoyed by the team providing some much needed entertainment, especially for the second half.

Getafe started the game with a super intense tempo, knowing full well that their la liga fate was theirs to determine: get a win and they were safe. They pressed high and hard and put Betis under the cosh coming close on a number of occasions. Scepovic really should have scored from a Sarabia cross but his diving header whistled past the post. But Betis resisted and eventually began to get a grip on the game and came close too when Jorge Molina was slipped through gloriously by Dani Ceballos. The man from Alcoy in his last game in green and white saw his name in lights but couldn’t apply the finish. To be fair Guaita stuck out a huge left hand and made a fine save. Betis should have had a penalty with one of the clearest hand balls you’re ever likely to see from Pereira, but protests were ignored by the ref.

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Gus Poyet – new Head Coach of Betis

poyetFormer Chelsea midfielder and Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has been announced as the next manager of Real Betis. He’s signed on a two year contract after recently leaving AEK Athens.

He will be presented in front of the world’s media on Wednesday. He takes over from caretaker manager Juan Merino who was promoted from the B-team.

I will be reflecting on the signing of Poyet once the dust settles, but on the surface of it, I quite like the news.