Marcelino García Toral

Remembering Recreativo

In the same week, Marcelino remembered the anniversary of its founding and a tragic victory in Madrid fifteen years later

Recreativo de Huelva was founded on December 18th, 1898, the Dean club in Spanish football. It was in this same club where Marcelino García Toral had his first experience as a coach outside of Asturias. MGT leaded the promotion to La Liga on his first season and achieved an impressive 8th position in the top league of Spanish football. For the club this meant their best ending position in history.

Una etapa inolvidable. “Muchas felicidadesal Decano del fútbol español. Ha sido un honor formar parte de vuestra historia”, expresó Marcelino a través de sus cuentas sociales horas antes de que su Athletic venciese al Betis en San Mamés.

Two days after its foundation, the Andalusian club experienced another moment that is kept in everyone’s memory. December 20, 2021 marked the fifteenth anniversary of Recreativo de Huelva’s historic triumph – coached by Marcelino – at the Santiago Bernabéu (0-3). A day that should have been a party due to the scenario and its magnitude was obscured by a tragedy that occurred at dawn.

“Impossible to forget that day. Always in my memory”. These were the words with which Marcelino accompanied the message published by Recreativo de Huelva’s Twitter account. On December 20, 2006, an accident suffered by a group of fans of the Huelva team – who were heading to Madrid by bus – left four dead (a few months later another of the affected people would die).

Recreativo tried unsuccessfully to suspend the match. After a shocking minute of silence, the ball rolled across Bernabéu grass, and Marcelino’s players, who that day could not sit on the bench due to suspension (Second coach Rubén Uría did), offered the best possible tribute to the victims. Sinama-Pongolle, Uche and Viqueira were the respective authors of the three goals of a team that also featured a young Santi Cazorla.

The three goals, which were spectacular, took their dedication to heaven. In front was a Real Madrid full of stars: Casillas, Roberto Carlos, Ramos, Cannavaro, Beckham, Raúl, Ronaldo, Van Nistelrooy … Future league champion, Capello’s block clearly fell against Marcelino’s, who would finish the tournament in an excellent eighth position. The coach of Careñes received his first Miguel Muñoz Trophy as Best Coach in La Liga (official award granted by the newspaper Marca).