La Liga Lowdown
Spain: The Stories Behind The Shirts - 2005/06 Sevilla
Written by Gregor Chappelle
This Sevilla home shirt will go down as one of the most iconic the club has ever had, and the 2005-06 campaign is seen by many as a turning point in the club's fortunes.
Quite frankly, the timing was impeccable, with Sevilla celebrating 100 years as an official club. They had a new coach in Juande Ramos, who had just taken over from Joaquin Caparrós, and there was an impressive pool of players for him choose from. Some of these players would go on to become true greats for Los Rojiblancos – keeper Andrés Palop, Dani Alves at right-back, working in tandem with Jesús Navas just ahead of him…striker Luis Fabiano was at times temperamental but he would be a nuisance for opposition defences, and most of them got nowhere near Fredi Kanouté.
All those forces combined to produce a truly remarkable season as Sevilla lifted their first ever piece of European silverware, the 2006 UEFA Cup. The journey took them from the Sánchez Pizjuán for the first leg of their first-round tie, via Mainz, St. Petersburg, Bolton, Moscow, Lille, back to St. Petersburg, Gelsenkirchen and ultimately to Eindhoven. 15 games, and it was some rollercoaster.
The semi-final will be remembered by many Sevillistas for the goalscorer who took them through. Two goalless draws against Schalke meant the tie went to extra-time, and as the clock ticked past 100 minutes, local boy Antonio Puerta stepped up. Dani Alves’ cross looked like it came from tired legs, going behind the run of Luis Fabiano into the 18-yard box. But there waiting was Puerta, and his perfectly-struck left-footed half-volley simply flew past Frank Rost and just inside the post.
Having had a few tight scrapes en route to the final, notably that night against Schalke and having to come from 1-0 down against Lille, the final was a little more comfortable. Ramos’ men defeated Middlesbrough 4-0, but three of those goals came in the last 12 minutes, two from Enzo Maresca.
This laid the foundation for what was to follow - a two-year spell in which the club picked up a remarkable 5 trophies, including a successful defence of this title, beating Espanyol on penalties after a 2-2 draw in Glasgow, and a 6-3 aggregate win over Real Madrid in the Supercopa.
But just six days after the second leg at the Estadio Bernabéu, Sevilla were struck by one of the cruelest, most tragic blows in their history. As their new LaLiga season got underway with a home fixture against Getafe, Puerta collapsed towards the end of the first half. Despite all the best efforts of the medical staff attending to him, he passed away on 28th August 2007. To this day, the club hold an applause on the 16th minute of every home fixture to pay homage to their number 16.
Another feature of a home game at the Sánchez Pizjuán is the resounding rendition of the “Himno del Sevilla", and it was during the 2005-06 season that it was composed by Sevilla fan Javier Labandón, "El Arrebato", especially for their centenary. It was an instant success throughout Spain.
The shirt itself is quintessentially retro, in classic white with no sponsor and a laced collar which will appeal to the purists. It's a very clean, crisp design - one of those shirts which looks fantastic under the floodlights on a big European night. The detailing on the sleeves celebrate that achievement 14 years ago, with UEFA Cup on one and details of the final of the other – a truly remarkable season.
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You can also check out all of the shirts in this series, on the CFS website: http://www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk