Simplicity is king, especially in a football cup format. Domestic cup competitions owe their mythos to minnows slaying giants, maybe even going on a run through multiple stages. The best formats encourage such runs: no staggered entries, no seeding, no replays. On a given night any team should be able to advance against opposition from a higher flight if luck favours them. An elegant system.
The Copa del Rey in 1978/79 ticks some of those boxes. It seems teams of the same flight would join the competition at different stages. Byes were handed out in the middle of the competition. Return legs reduced the chances for upsets. By the time teams reached the final they could well have played a dozen matches.
Going by their stature and usual level of success, in 1978/79 it had been a while since Real Madrid and Valencia CF had made it that far in the Copa. Whereas Madrid had won back to back editions in ‘74 and ‘75, Valencia had finished runners-up thrice in a row from ‘70 to ‘72.
Not that the road to the final had been all that easy in ‘78/79. Already in the Round of 64 Real went toe to toe with their city rivals. Atlético would go on to finish third in the league that season, and held Real to two draws. The Merengues prevailed on penalties. Valencia’s toughest test came in the Round of 16 going against holders Barcelona. A timely exit looked all but assured after a 1:4 loss at Camp Nou, only for Valencia to win the second leg at home 4:0. Continue reading →
Turns out, when you talk about the biggest club in the world of football, you could spend hours on their history. We tried to keep it to a manageable duration but decided to split the episode into two parts again. So with this part you’ll get the Champions League season 1997/98 (format, qualifying, groups, knock-out stage etc), Juve’s and Real’s domestic season and the lead up to the final. And the largest part of the episode is devoted to the Merengues.
In talking about the history of Real Madrid we track the club’s achievements and evolution through the decades by following a lineage of legends: Santiago Bernabéu Yeste, Francisco Gento, Santillana. We touch on the biggest stories and the important players and teams. It’s an “Incomplete History” as we look through the lense of 1998.
Here’s the show on Soundcloud, the little arrow in the top right let’s you download:
And here are the minutes:
0:00:00 Intro & plugs
0:02:20 Culture re-cap, Affleck vs Damon vs DiCaprio
0:11:50 Champions League format 1997/98, Qualifying rounds
0:18:50 Juve’s season (champions of Italy, out in QF of Coppa)
0:24:20 Juve vs Kiev in the CL Quarters & vs Monaco in the Semis
0:29:40 Real the biggest club in the world?
0:32:30 Foundations of the Madrid Foot Ball Club, Santiago Bernabéu Yeste joins
0:39:10 Construction of the Nuevo Estadio Chamartín
0:45:30 The transfer of Alfredo Di Stefano to Real Madrid
0:56:00 Real’s romp through Europe during the late 50s, Francisco Gento and the Ye-Ye
1:02:00 Santillana, Quintra Del Buitre, drought in the early 90s
1:07:45 Spanish league structure 95/96, Fabio Capello’s season at Real
1:11:15 Jupp Heynckes’ coaching career & arrival in Madrid
1:15:30 Real vs Leverkusen in the CL Quarters & vs Dortmund in the Semis
Let us know what you think about the episode, down below in the comments, over on Facebook or via Twitter.