Last-place Deportivo’s financial struggles during its first incarnation in the 1980s should be a warning to the club, writes Martin Whiteley.
When last season’s Primera Division Femenina was curtailed, Deportivo La Coruna (or Deportivo Abanca, for commercial purposes) — appearing in their first season in the top flight — sat in fourth place. Approaching the midway point this time around, they find themselves propping up the rest of the teams with a measly seven points to their name.
At the weekend, the pressure increased on basement Deportivo after a 3-0 defeat by Valencia. The club from the Galicia region is now facing its first real adversity on its second incarnation.
Deportivo first set up a women’s section in the winter of the 1983-84 season, when they brought then-independent club Karbo C.F. into the fold and renamed the side Karbo Deportivo. In its all-too-brief existence, Karbo was dissolved in 1988, due to financial difficulties that Deportivo La Coruna were experiencing.
In March 2016, Deportivo announced it was to reintroduce its women’s team once again. And just like the first time, an agreement was formed with an established club — on this occasion local side Orzan SD Deportivo. After promotion was quickly attained and a promising opening top-flight campaign was achieved, injuries and departures have hampered their progress this term.
Leading scorer Peke Barea played in all 21 games in their maiden Primera Division Femenina season and netted 14 times. This season, however, the striker has only managed to play in eight matches coming into this weekend, scoring on five occasions.
Another blow came when the new project that Real Madrid is undertaking convinced goalkeeper María Rodriguez and midfielder Teresa Abelleira to leave the team last summer. A run of seven wins in Real’s last eight games leaves them only five points behind leaders Barcelona, who had recorded a 7-0 win at home in midweek against Rayo Vallecano. The champions do still have two games in hand, though.
Both Real and Barca saw their home games — against Logrono and UDG Tenerife — at the weekend postponed after Covid-19 issues in the camps of their opponents. But the fact that the departed Rodriguez and Abelleira have helped Real into second place with 31 points shows the qualities that are now being missed by Deportivo.
Many clubs in different countries have found out to their cost, if you lose your spot in the pecking order it can be extremely hard to regain it. Without the vast investment of some other clubs, you have to think that survival in the top flight this time around is vital to the ongoing stability of Deportivo. If not, it could be another long wait before they visit the top table again.
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