Football fans have short memories, that much is true. And it’s far from unreasonable for many Malaga fans to want to forget Juande Ramos’ ill-fated second spell at the club.
Perhaps it’s fair to say that Malaga have ended the season exactly how many fans would have expected had you asked them before the season began. After significant reinforcement and a 100 per cent win record during preseason, optimism was extremely high. In came Jony, Keko and Sandro - all raw and much-sought-after talents - and in Ramos they had a manager with a proven track record. Seven months and two managers later, that optimism was shattered and the club were, without doubt, facing up to a relegation battle.
When Míchel walked through the door, the feeling that the club was back on track was almost immediate - even if the results weren’t.
With the former Madrid man at the helm, that potential has slowly turned into an exciting brand of football and, much more importantly, there have been results to match.
Rightly so, the fans have taken to the new man and are excited that their team can compete with anyone, as evidenced by the comfortable 2-0 win over Barcelona and a run of six wins out of seven before Sunday’s game.
Given the circumstances, an 11th-place finish is nothing to scoff at. But for a team which had their sights set on challenging for Europe, questions need to be asked.
Juande Ramos was a bizarre choice of boss given his prolonged leave of absence from the top European leagues. At the age of 61, it was clear he wouldn’t be in it for the long-haul - mirrored in the lack of vision for his side which he chopped and changed from week to week. To then appoint Marcelo Romero as his replacement not only showed a lack of vision, but also a lack of ambition.
To be fair, performances did improve under the Uruguayan, but football is a results business, and he was out the door within two months.
Perhaps the most baffling element of this whole saga is that Míchel was available all along, raising the question: why wasn’t he appointed in the first place?
Signings too have been disappointing. While Llorente and Sandro eventually lived up to expectations, some certainly haven’t. Few tears will be shed when Bakary Koné, Michael Santos, Adalberto Peñaranda and Denys Boyko are sent packing.
What’s more, this week we waved goodbye to Duda, Weligton and Demichelis but why players aged 36, 37 and 36, respectively are anywhere near the first team beggars belief.
It is still relatively early days for the inexperienced sporting director, Francesc Arnau. Hopefully he will have learned from his mistakes and the club can make a flying start going into 2017/18.