Vélez Club de Fútbol, who compete in the fourth tier of Spanish football, is undergoing a thorough transformation both on and off the field. One of the peculiarities of the past year has been the arrival of Swedish capital in the form of Jesper Norberg and Magnus Perhsson. Both arrived in the summer with no knowledge of the local game, but both are former players and coaches and have strong links to professional teams in Europe.
Pehrsson began his professional career at Djurgardens in the mid-1990s, where he won the Swedish league and cup. Like so many Swedish players, he ended up in the English Premiership with Bradford City, returning to his homeland to play for FK Göteborg. He retired in 2003 at the age of 27 because of injuries and this led him to start his coaching career at a young age with various clubs such as IK Sirius and Göteborg AIS. He has also coached Danish side Aalborg, as well as the Estonian national team.
His compatriot Jesper Norberg, who has become the Vélez club president, developed his sporting career in the dugout. He was sporting director of Kalmar and former coach of Syrianska, among other teams, as well as an analyst for the Estonian national team.
These two Swedes live in Nerja and Fuengirola, respectively, and have fallen in love with the Malaga coast - so much so that they decided to back a club that will celebrate its centenary in two years.
"We will improve Vélez from an amateur club to a sustainable professional club, one step at a time," Pehrsson explained.
Vélez-Málaga has a great footballing tradition and the club has produced players such as Fernando Hierro, his brothers, Manolo and Antonio, as well as others such as Esteban Vigo, Carlos Tello and Javi Guerra.
The arrival of foreign investors has divided the fanbase, many of whom are disappointed that the completely revamped squad features only two players from the Axarquía. Others, however, are excited at the prospect of the minnows having a chance to climb the divisions.