La Liga Adelante
The Spanish Second Division, the Segunda División or the Liga Adelante,
is made up of 22 teams.
The quality of the football is at a similar level
to the Championship with a combination of big clubs fallen on hard times and
newcomers all fighting for a lucrative place in the Primera Liga.
As grounds in the Segunda División tend to be smaller, varying from Elche's 38,750 capacity Manual
Martínez Valero to Girona's tiny Montilivi, which only holds 5,000, the atmosphere
will be familiar to stalwarts who attend lower division games in the UK.
You can hear the thud of the ball as it's kicked, smell the sweat on the players
and enjoy (if your Spanish is good enough) the lovingly sarcastic comments that
only supporters of unsuccessful teams are capable of making.
The main difference
is that you don't have to stand in the pouring rain to watch a substandard
performance by the team you love.
How the Mighty Have Fallen
In the 2009-10 season there are a number of clubs in Segunda that have really
fallen on hard times.
Real Sociedad, for example, are a massive club who have
won the Liga as recently as the early eighties and are now in serious financial
Real Betis got relegated this season and are another of the few clubs to have won Primera Liga. Their fans will be particularly irked at having to watch city rivals - Sevilla FC - dispute the Champions League, while they struggle for promotion in this difficult division.
Similarly, Celta de Vigo, certainly in the 20
years I've been in Spain, are a club that one feels just ought to be in Primera.
What Goes Up Must Come Down
Along with Betis, Numancia and Recreativo were relegated from Primera in 2009 and can be grouped
with Albacete, Gimnàstic de Tarragona, Real Murcia and Las Palmas
as clubs that have played in Primera in recent seasons
but haven't really got the resources to compete in the first tier.
Even though they've recently had a spell in Segunda B, I'd also include Rayo Vallecano in this group, as they're traditionally Madrid's third most successful club - a status that's only recently been snatched away from them by Getafe.
Similarly, clubs like Alicante, Castellón, Córdoba, Hércules and Salamanca give the
sensation that Segunda División is where they really belong, and have been joined by Girona FC as more established Segunda sides.
Unfortunately, the same goes
for the once great Elche simply because its so long since they've been in Primera.
Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 2A)
The promoted teams this season are Cartagena, Cádiz, Real Unión and Villarreal B.
Cartagena are a modest side from a major city and Cádiz are famous for their particularly good-humoured fans.
I was particularly pleased to see Real Unión de Irún promoted - they had a particularly good run against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey in 2008-09.
I'm also very impressed that Villarreal can get their B team in Segunda A, although they have no chance of getting promoted as a B Team can't play in the same division as the first team squad.
Last but not Least
Perhaps its my absurd sense of humour but I feel a rush of pleasure every season when Levante
play Las Palmas at home - 'Levante las Palmas' means 'Hold up your hands' in Spanish!
All the Clubs in Segunda A . . .
Albacete | Betis | Cadiz | Cartagena | Castellón | Celta | Córdoba | Elche | Gimnàstic | Girona | Hércules | Huesca | Las Palmas | Levante | Murcia | Numancia |Rayo Vallecano | Real Sociedad | Real Union | Recreativo |Salamanca | Villarreal B
Segunda Division Results, Fixtures and League Table
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