just someone with the personality of Arsenio Iglesiaswho died this Friday at the age of 92, could fasten the deep differences between Celta and Deportivo, despite having served the A Coruña team with pride and success. “Whereever you belong to the team, it’s a great loss”, is one of the most repeated phrases after learning about the loss of the ‘SuperDepor’ architect, a team that fell in love with several generations of fans of Galicia and out of it.
“One is full of doubts and I have doubts about everything”
Arsenio’s life could be told through his titles, but the appointments that between victories and defeats he left in a press room that he did not like very much, but where he always fulfilled, are even more important. The most famous was a warning fulfilled. “When with the party, they take it away from the ‘fuciños’ (noses in Galician)”warned days before Djukic missed a penalty that deprived Deportivo of winning their first League.
The sentence has resounded strongly in recent years, a tough time for the A Coruña team, which has even been on the verge of promotion on two occasions. In 2019, after a 2-0 loss in the first leg and with the celebration bus repaired, Mallorca frustrated the promotion in the return of the definitive playoffs.
That was by no means the first step into hell, but all that came after was a black shadow from Rosalia: the relegation to First RFEF and the frustrated escape from the bronze category after losing again last year in the last game of the promotion against Albacete. Arsenio’s health was precarious, but between the lips of the bust that Arsenio has near Riazor was read: “One is full of doubts. I have doubts about everything.”
“To be a coach you have to be crazy”
Another inspiring intervention, such as the lapidary “much to say and little to tell” that shook the press room after the penalty missed by Djukic. A scar that closed with the 1999/2000 League and other feats achieved by the “neniños” (“little boys”), such as the arteixo fox he called the golden generation he cultivated. Before rubbing shoulders with the greats, Arsenio avoided relegation to Second Division in 1992. “How much we suffer, Martín!”, He huffed her after hugging Martín Lasarte.
His, a life enjoyed both on the field and on the bench with deep respect. Arsenio made his debut as a player in the First Division with his Deportivo on November 28, 1951 against FC Barcelona in Les Corts. His debut ended in a win (6-1), although he was able to score. They say that after scoring the mythical Antoni Ramallets he addressed him with a “sorry, sir.” Arsenio was in the A Coruña team in four different stages, adding 538 games on the bench in 14 seasons. He achieved two promotions and the 1995 Copa del Rey.
He also managed Real Zaragoza, Burgos, Elche, Almería, Hércules, Compostela and even Real Madrid, for whom he coached 19 games at the end of the 1995/1996 season. “To be a coach you have to be a little crazy”, recognized, because he got used to placing the weight of an entire city on his back. “I feel great pity for the people in the street, for such a tremendous illusion,” he assured after the failures, which in reality were immense victories, because they cultivated the sportsmanship of the future.
“I don’t want anyone to curse me”
Arsenio, committed, could not bear that people suffered for football, to which he tried to remove the weight of circumstances. “Tranquility and that God distributes luck”, assured a technician who also dealt with criticism, but “If they argue with Sacchi or Parreira, how can they not argue with me?”. Calm and arguments at a time when football was lived without any limit. “I may be a conservative, but I’m not a fool”he insisted.
As with obituaries, today everyone will remember Arsenio’s virtues, but he was always wary of praise. “I’m leaving so that they can give me a hug later and they don’t curse me in August. What I don’t want is for anyone to curse me”, because the sportsman myth diagnosed football better than anyone: “It is so changeable that we always have to be with the fly behind the ear”.
It was never necessary to pull his tongue. A simple “what” was enough to start the lesson of a teacher with titles and class.