We are the same, but we are better | Soccer | Sports


In addition to being the country to which youtubers They move to avoid taxes, Andorra is also the name of a town in Teruel with a marked mining past. In the 1950s and 1960s, several mines were opened there and since the 1980s, the thermal power plant in which coal was burned was the driving force of the region. There was a time when it provided so much work that expeditions were organized to bring workers from southern Spain to the town. The population multiplied and the identity of the municipality became closely related to this sector.

Two years ago I was in the municipality because there were just a few weeks left before the thermal power plant would be completely dismantled. Not only was it the end of a building, but with the fall of those towers what had defined an entire population for at least the last 70 years disappeared. Nacho, the plant worker and town resident who acted as Cicerone for my colleague David and me, knew where he had to take us to get to know the town’s feelings in depth and in the shortest possible time: to the soccer field. It was derby day, too, and it made no sense to be anywhere other than the Juan Antonio Endeiza stadium.

At half-time, they opened the doors of their most precious treasure to us, a room where they kept dozens of notebooks in which a former club manager had written the chronicles of each day, had drawn the kits and had reflected the lineups for several seasons in the fifties and sixties. A modest football gem. They kept them in the room that for a time hosted the press conferences, the ones they offered in their best moment, when they played in Second B in the eighties and came to cherish the dream of being promoted to the second division.

It is not difficult to intuit the care and patience with which this man left the adventures of his club in writing for posterity. You can also see his evolution, from flatter texts to others in which he uses headlines that make me envious as a journalist. “The best team in the championship and the best slap,” is the title of the review of the match with the strongest team in the league, the Real Zaragoza reserve team, in November 1958. “They weren’t exactly butter, but you had to eat them,” thus sums up an important victory against Numancia. “We are equal, but we are better,” he says about the tie with Barbastro on the ninth day of the league.

The definitions of each player are wonderful and could actually serve to describe different attitudes towards life. Here some examples:

—Ferrer had little work, but he resolved it well.

—Herrera, weak in abilities, but good in manners.

—Pueyo, as always, will and work.

—Conejero was surpassing himself.

The previous president of Andorra CF, Antonio Donoso.David Exposito

The stadium stands are filled every day with everyone who has ever worked at the plant. Now, all early retirees at a young age. Many of them are children of the miners who arrived in Teruel more than half a century ago. At the bend, the youngest chant the name of the stadium, named in tribute to the president under whom the club shone. Lately, the team has been in financial trouble due to its debts. Shortly after our visit, the managers sent out a distress message and began a crowdfunding to try to make payments.

“Football has been lived here since the first days when coal began to be extracted… let the coal disappear and now football hurts,” said the then president, Antonio Donoso, to regional radio. For many years, Endesa subsidized sports in the towns where its headquarters were located, but that ended in the 2000s. Soccer is as important to Andorra as coal. Andorra could not afford to lose everything at the same time. It’s like losing your job and having your boyfriend leave you in the same month.

On that visit, the president, also a former worker at the plant and the son of Extremaduran migrants, told me that they were waiting for a Chinese or Arab investor to fall from the sky. He didn’t know if he meant it jokingly or seriously. Salvation did not come from distant lands, but thanks to the sale of a property, the club managed to significantly reduce its debt with the Treasury last year and obtained almost 200,000 euros from the collective fundraising it launched. Endeiza will continue to roar as it seeks a future beyond coal.

The children go to the Juan Antonio Endeiza stadium and occupy the first rows so as not to miss anything while they eat their loin with cheese sandwich.
The children go to the Juan Antonio Endeiza stadium and occupy the first rows so as not to miss anything while they eat their loin with cheese sandwich.David Exposito

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