01 October 2007

A trophy is a trophy even when it was won 70 years ago.

Fans of the Valencia club Levante Union Deportiva are probably be a stoic bunch: their team is at the bottom of La Liga (the Spanish Premier division) and may well be back playing second division football again next season. Worse still, the one and only time the team won a major trophy, Franco came along and expunged the result.

In 1937 Spain was of course in the grip of a bloody civil war. Even so football still continued and eight clubs in Republican held territory organised the Mediterranean League. The Top four clubs also competed for the Copa de la Republica Levante finished fifth but the champions, Barcelona, opted to go on a fund raising tour of the US and Mexico. Levante beat local rivals Valencia 1-0 to lift the cup.

Franco's regime rejected the republican league and cup, and removed all mention of Levante's victory from the record books. One fan, Xavier Rius , appealed to the Spanish football federation to reinstate their victory, without success. However an approach to Valencian MP Isaura Navarro bore fruit. He raised the issue in parliament which has approved a call for the football federation to recognise the Republican Cup.

The players are probably all dead as are all but a few of the fans who saw the team beat Valencia 70 years ago. Even so I would imagine the club will be happy that their victory is officially acknowledged. Better late than never, I suppose


Anonymous said...

Some nice comments about Levante,shame about their last game though. Let´s hope they get off the bottom of the table.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Maybe they can still celebrate the victory and throw buckets of congratulatory Gatorade over the player's graves?

Posthumously is better than nothing at all I guess.

jams o donnell said...

Hi Catalunya Spain, welcome to teh Poor Mouth. I hadn't been folloing their fortunes. It was an article in the Guardian newspaper that sparked my interest. Still I hope they do what's nvessary to stay up. I can imagine being in La Liga is pretty lucrative.

Beter late than never I suppose ewbl. That they weren't redognised was political - the league in question being in an area on teh losing side of teh Spanish Civil War.