The southern Spanish city of Jerez has been world famous for centuries due its most famous export, sherry. However last year Jerez was on the lips of people for a different reason, its football team’s historic promotion to the Spanish Primera Division.
Jerez is located in the south west of Spain, somewhere between Cadiz and Seville. With its famous sherry and a beautiful historic centre, Jerez is one of Andalucia’s most beautiful cities. Of course Andalucia also has many football teams who have played in Spain’s top flight but until this season, Xerez CD was not one of them. Xerez’s promotion last year was a great boost for the city and also for Andalusia as region lost both Recreativo de Huelva and Real Betis to relegation. The club’s promotion means Andalusia remains the region with the most number of football clubs in Primera Division.
Gaining promotion is of course challenging but staying up is perhaps even tougher. As one of the new boys, Xerez were among the favourites to go down and unfortunately for them they haven’t disappointed, sitting bottom of the league. Xerez are really suffering because of a terrible start which eventually led to the manager getting the sack. The change of manager has led to an improvement in results but they have a lot of ground to make up if they are to pull off a great escape.
This weekend Xerez faced Getafe at home and with the two teams above them playing each other they had a great chance to get themselves off the bottom of the table and closer to safety. In matches of this importance a large crowd helps and Xerez lowered the prices significantly, with the cheapest ticket costing just 5 Euros, in order to attract as many people as possible. It’s a ploy that clearly worked and one Xerez must be applauded for. As one of those sitting in the 5 Euro section I saw many children there and this can only be good for the future of the club.
With the Chapín stadium pretty near capacity and the Ultras in good voice, all that was needed was for Xerez to do the business on the park. On a side note, the Chapín stadium is one of the most bizarre I have come across in Spain. It not only has a running track but a hotel whose rooms look onto the pitch and is the only stadium I have ever come across with trees inside it. The match programme, the best I have come across so far, went with the Obama like headline “Podemos” (We Can). Unfortunately for Xerez they couldn’t and ended up losing 0-1 to the visitors from Madrid. The result probably typified Xerez’s season, some bad luck but mainly a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal and naivety at the back. In the top league these mistakes are punished more severely.
The defeat makes Xerez’s relegation look even more likely. Whether they can come back up will depend on what the club does next. If the ticket prices stay low then there is definitely some potential for building a good fan base and another challenge at the main league. If not then they will have to go back to just being famous for their sherry.