There was no money to pay for the training referees. They did not have a washing machine. The training sessions ended when the president picked up the clothes to send them to be washed. In the club there were five keys and they started with 13 contracts. That was the harsh reality managers faced when they came to Colonia Square in June 2016.
The situation was distressing, until Carlos Manta heard that there it was customary to sell chickens to raise some mangoes.
The man’s eyes lit up and the lamp went on. But of course, a concern arose: Who made the chickens? When the props at that time, the late Negro Perdomo, told him that they had to do them, Manta shouted to heaven: “You’re crazy!”. You bring the chickens, they told him, and there the manager went out in his truck to get a freezer where to put the merchandise. He then bought 400 chickens and was introduced to the grill. They got firewood and everything was left soon.
Manta gathered all the schools together and told the players, from first to last, that he was going to give each of them five tickets to sell the chickens. On Thursday they had to hand over the money to their coaches.
When the appointed Thursday came, Manta went to ask for the proceeds and it turns out that almost no one had sold what was promised. “They had placed 50 tickets. And what did I do with the 400 chickens? “, Said Manta with his particular style to ESPN.
He got in the truck and went to training. It stopped everything. “No more training until they sell chickens”Was the order and he sent the players home with the exception of those who had placed their tickets.
Some children told him that they lived far away to carry the chickens, so Manta gave them the tickets again and told them to go out and sell them around the field.
The next day Manta’s phone was on fire with calls from outraged parents because they had sent their children to sell chickens. “Madam, I am not making you work, but I want you to have a word. If they want to train here you have to have a word and if they said they were going to sell the chickens, they have to sell them”Replied the manager. Even the captain of the Uruguayan Sub 20 team, Facundo Waller, sold chickens.
It was the beginning of an unsigned but assumed commitment between the players and Plaza Colonia. From that detail, the club walked alone, with small teachings that were transmitted from generation to generation and that today are customary.
For instance, It is strictly forbidden to enter the club with a shirt that is not from Plaza Colonia or the Uruguayan National Team. It is also not allowed to enter the playing field with caravans or flashy hairs.
Manta revealed to ESPN that: “We had big problems, even threats from a parent who were going to sue us for discriminating against children.”
But the manager said that what he was looking for was to generate a sense of belonging.
Another detail: the greeting. From the First Division players to the last of the formations, everyone salutes and shakes hands with you.
WHAT IS PLAZA COLONIA?
In 2016 the club reached an agreement with businessman Roberto García and manager Carlos Manta, for 10 years from June 1, 2016, to become a SAD (Sports Limited Company). This implies that the managers take charge of everything related to football from the institution from First to formative.
“When we arrived we found an institution that was the prototype of a club in the interior, with a lot of shortcomings at the professional level. The biggest problem they had was that there were five places, for example props, a shed, a barbecue, etc, and they all had a different key. What I mean by this? What cost us was to unify, that there was a single person with all the keys. There a path began and the dream was to professionalize the club and the first thing was to be credible. The club was not credible and to be one you had to pay your salaries“Said Manta.
The manager added: “The first day Chiqui (García) appears to me with a washing machine because the training ended when the president arrived with his delivery truck and they had to give him the clothes to send them to be washed for the next day.”
Manta said that there are aspects that are vital. The first, and defined as a great virtue, “is that Plaza has a board where they are all really fans and they have the blood of Plaza Colonia. They were in charge of pushing the cart with all the rest of the sports and we have a good communion and we are one thing. “
And then identify the club with the department. This is how the slogan was born We are Colonia.
Plaza Colonia has a social headquarters, on the main avenue of the city, where it has a basketball gym, boxing gym, weight room, closed pool with official measures, social room and barbecue.
Where the Prandi stadium is located, there are 1,200 meters of synthetic grass, a laundry room and new changing rooms with a waiting room.
At the end of it, they set up the weight room, an idea they took from a talk where they listened to the Argentine Marcelo Bielsa.
In the room there is a phrase that sums it up: “Nothing is left over, nothing is missing”.
Then there is a meeting room for training coaches, a marketing room where the club’s official clothing is sold, a dining room where 25 boys are fed daily, a physiotherapy room, offices and a cafeteria room. The playing field with automatic irrigation and a recently inaugurated lighting network. And in the background the concentration.
And finally three kilometers from there, in the El General neighborhood, is the sports complex where the youth and Primera compete and train.
But since not everything ends in football, the club has a math teacher, who came to play in Plaza, who helps by following the schooling of the boys in training.