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Looking back on a great 2012 for Real BetisPosted by Staff Writer on January 3rd, 2013 04:30 PM | Featured, News, Primera Liga
The passing of the year 2012 for Real Betis Balompié in both a sporting sense and institutionally has without doubt been fantastic.
“Por todo, le pongo un 10 de 2012,” declared Pepe Mel. All in all I give 2012 a 10. Mr Mel has hit the nail on the head in terms of the football we have encountered from his team during 2012. The advancement from new team on the block to occupying a European place come Midnight 31st January has been remarkable.
In a hypothetical league across the calendar year, Betis would have official been crowned the 5th best team in Spain – that is quite an accolade to be bestowed. Their record would have read: P39 W16 D8 L15.
This is definitely European form – look at Levante from last season who finished 6th, with the almost identical statistics of P38 W16 D7 L15. For Betis that is a total point accumulation of 56, compare this to Sevilla’s point accumulation of 45…
Instead of hypothetical, fairy-tale leagues and saving Sevilla’s blushes, let’s talk ‘facts’ (as one famous Spaniard once said). The two stand out players have been Rubén Castro and Beñat Extebarria.
They have only built upon their well-earned reputations from last season and are now two of the best performing players we see weekly in the whole of Spain.
Excluding the new Swansea marksman, Michu, no other Spaniard in the top European leagues has scored more goals in 2012 than Castro. Neither player is yet to pick up the phone to the dulcet tones of Vicente del Bosque – 2013 surely must be the year?
I have said this many times over the past 12 months, but in my view the key figure in Betis’s rise has been Pepe Mel. A terrific man-manager and team spirit builder, he knows exactly how to obtain form from key players and how to nurture confidence; ask Rubén Castro and Beñat – nobody gave them a chance until Mel did.
That’s not to say there is no room for improvement. The overall goal difference from the past 12 months is -6 – for 56, against 62). If Betis really are to cement a European place, and even compete in Europe, a fairly solid defence is integral.
Another key area for improvement is the team’s performance against the ‘lesser’ clubs i.e. the bottom half teams. This season alone Betis have lost 2-1 at home to Rayo Vallecano, Granada and Mallorca, who are 8th, 15th and 16th, respectively.
If Betis are to continue to build it is this consistency against all clubs that is important, although there is nothing like the pumped up performance we see against the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, it would also be nice to see that against Osasuna, Espanyol and Valladolid!
The best moment of 2012 for me was the 2-1 away victory in the Sánchez Pizjuán. Two exquisitely precise freekicks from midfield magician Beñat ensured the game went down into Betis folklore.
Closely followed is the victory over Mourinho’s men in November where Betis managed to keep Ronaldo et al at bay to record a famous 1-0 win.
Economically the club is still finely balanced. It was revealed in the summer that former owner and president of 14 years (and now convicted fraudster), Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, siphoned around €17 million out of the club.
The club is now in the process of recovery, thanks to the unrivalled guidance of club legend and president Rafael Gordillo. Slowly the club is completely remodelling the infrastructures and damages left behind during the Lopera era; this is an ambitious project but it is an absolutely necessity for a bright future.
With Gordillo, the club couldn’t be in better hands. His number one, top of the pile objective is ‘permanencia’ – Continuation. Stability. Permanence.
Despite all this, 2012 will be remembered for one reason: Miki Roqué.
At just 23 years of age the Betis defender lost his battle with cancer. Roqué is fondly remembered; alongside his number 26 shirt being retired, on the 26th minute of every match chants of ‘Miki Roquééééééé lolololololololo lolololololo ohhhhhhhhhhhh! Miki Roqué!!’ can be heard from los béticos. Long may that continue.
‘Continue with optimism and tranquility,’ has ordered Pepe Mel. This reverberates the man’s attitude, always optimistic, always tranquil.
The focus for the team now has to be bolstering the European qualifying position. Betis have proved in 2012 that they are the 5th best Spanish side, if they can continue that until the end of the season it will mark an unbelievable ascent for los verdiblancos.
Other related news
- Sevilla: I’m convinced we’ll be in Europa by the end of the season
- Abel: It’s complicated, but we have to try
- Mel: We had to win and we won
- Real Betis 1-0 Celta Vigo: Castro goal puts Celta in real trouble
- Abel Resino: We are desperate to remain in La Liga
- Pepe Mel: We have to fight for seventh
- Redondo: Joselu would be ideal for Real Betis
- Espanyol keen on signing Betis goalkeeper Adrian
- Real Betis to offer €10 tickets to all social media followers
- Hometown tribute to Miki Roqué
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