Racing Club de Fútbol Benidorm has left a 'sheikh' of Langreo. "We have won the lottery," says José Santiago López Pepillo, who when he is not acting as president runs a frozen food company. Not long ago the mayor called him to his office. Toni Pérez, of the PP, had just received a visit from the emissaries of Guaje Villa. They wanted to change their lives. And not because the top scorer in the history of Spain had regretted his retirement, three years ago, and wanted to score goals again in Regional Preferente. I wanted to buy the club.
The Guillermo Amor Municipal Stadium has a capacity for 9,000 people, and this Sunday about 200, almost as many as partners, came to see how Racing escaped the promotion to Third after yielding a draw in the discount against Crevillente. Next to Pepillo, in the box of authorities, the new president premiered, Jordi Bruixola, former director of communication of Valencia, where he met Guaje, then Zaragona, and then general director of Castellón. "We took it from nothing and in two years we took it to Preferente, now we need people who know more than us," summarizes Pepillo. And the first thing to know, apparently, is that "football neither wants nor understands in a hurry," says Bruixola.
The career of the new president could not be more particular. He starts in the Champions League with Valencia, continues in the Second Division with Zaragoza, then in the First Federation with Castellón, and continues now in the Preferente, his most ambitious project, "because it is a blank sheet". Or even less. The club has a budget of 100,000 euros, and its star is an English teacher of almost 40 years who is called Gato, and who plays as a midfielder for 500 euros a month.
Players of Racing Club de Fútbol Benidorm at the Guillermo Amor stadium.
Guillermo Amor remains the greatest football pride of a club founded in the 60s, and refounded in 2017, although he would only play until Infantiles, before Barça took him. Pepe Mel and Bordalás also started here as footballers, and the latter even as a coach. Their greatest historical achievement so far has been a frustrated promotion to the Second Division against Rayo Vallecano in the 2007/08 season.
Hence, David Villa's point to historical fact. Pepillo has already gone to lunch a couple of times with the Spaniard to tell him about his project, and "there was a feeling", he says: "And that I'm from Real Madrid". Nor was he the first to sit at the table with the intention of staying with Benidorm, although no sheikh, American billionaire, investment fund or former footballer of Villa's level. The former Sporting de Gijón, Valencia, Barça and Atlético, among others, took to the meal "photos in which he was seen as a child with his family in apartments in Benidorm", in which he had apparently summered five years in a row, says Pepillo.
Nor was it the first time that Villa was made with a Club. During his time in New York, he founded a team in the neighborhood of Queens, through his company DV7, which he created with another former Valencia, his former marketing director Víctor Oñate. Hence, the logical thing was to look for a team within the Community, and Benidorm looked "at the potential of their brand," says Pepillo. The goal? At the moment "grow without haste", insists Bruixola, and make fans, including the thousands of Britons who reside or visit the city every year, and sit with their pints on the terraces of pubs to watch their club play. "Maybe we will achieve that his second team is Benidorm," says the new president.
Until now the main task of DV7 Group was the creation of soccer academies not only in Spain, but also in the United States and Japan, where Guaje played part of his career, as well as in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Although everything is already signed, the agreement will not be official until this Tuesday, with an act to be held on the 46th floor of the Intempo skyscraper, the tallest residential building in Spain, which means that despite the prudence of its new owners, it is hard to believe that Benidorm does not aim high.
According to The Trust Project criteria