Real Sociedad reached this Saturday, with its 1-0 victory in the final of the Copa del Rey, the promised shore of a long 34-year journey, the one that separates Zaragoza from Seville.
The 34 years that extend from June 27, 1987, when Luis Miguel Arconada -who else- raised in Zaragoza the last trophy that adorns the Real Sociedad showcases, until this April 3, when a battered Asier Illarramendi has emulated his gesture to return to this centenary club, one of the founders of the Spanish league, the glory already forgotten.
Then, the Real Sociedad, with the help of John Benjamin Toshack, achieved its second Copa del Rey to complete a prodigious decade that had begun with the two consecutive league titles (1980-1981 and 1981-1982).
The following year, the Real was planted again in the final, but fell to Barcelona, which had already signed three of the best players from Txuriurdines, “Txiki” Beguiristain, Luis Mari López Rekarte and José Mari Bakero.
There began the journey of the desert of the Royal Society, which stopped being a champion team to aspire to compete in Europe from time to time.
It took 15 years until the Royal Society managed to put together a team with a champion’s vitola that, however, did not become so. A group led by a very young Xabi Alonso, accompanied by Javi de Pedro’s golden left-hander, the essence of Mikel Aranburu, the caste of Valery Karpin and the murderous instinct of Darko Kovacevic and Nihat Kahveci, to whom a calm Frenchman with an air of Professor, Raynald Denoueix, drove to the gates of glory.
La Real competed at the top of the league in the 2002-2003 season until the last day, but ended up succumbing to the push of Vicente del Bosque’s Real Madrid and, above all, Ronaldo Nazario, who insisted on scoring goals in pairs in the last Championship leg to thwart Blue and White dreams.
The club looked good and beautiful and died of success. An erratic management in the following years ended up condemning him to the Second Division in 2007 and suffered a sporting, economic and institutional crisis that brought it to the brink of collapse.
Precisely the way out of that crisis cemented today’s success, which is personified by President Jokin Aperribay, who replaced the eccentric Iñaki Badiola -the one who promised to sell Real T-shirts in Chinese airports-, to get the club out of the sports pool and out of the competition. creditors where you were.
The new president had the approval and support of the main Gipuzkoan institutions, some of them, such as the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council, one of its main creditors, and he knew how to take advantage of it to re-float the club.
Aperribay, without ever saying a word higher than another, promoted the team in 2010, modernized the club’s structures, established a clear idea of the game that crosses all the categories of the base, managed to reform Anoeta and remove the tracks that kept the heat away of the fans and returned pride and competitiveness to Real Sociedad.
The management of this businessman in the arms sector, the son of a former vice president from Txuriurdin, has led him to inscribe his name in the history of the Real together with that of José Luis Orbegozo, who built the champion team of the 80s.
The commitment to the quarry, the trust in young people and the staging of modern and colorful football has allowed Real Sociedad in recent years to attract young talent, such as Alexander Isak, and also veteran, such as David Silva, who chose to the San Sebastian club to return to LaLiga seduced by his attractive proposal.
All these ingredients, cooked with the passion of Imanol Alguacil, a 100% Zubieta product coach who grows at the same time as the team, has closed the long journey of 34 years without obtaining a title. The long journey from Zaragoza to the Cartuja of Seville.