“My son played there. One day he arrived and told me that the club was going to cancel, so the mothers and fathers met and I took charge. But it is not the same to be sitting at a game as a mother as it is as a president, I assure you that.”
Ana Delia Fernandez He is, together with Aarón González Álvarez, popularizer, composer and researcher of the team’s history, protagonist of a narrative that, in reality, goes back 76 years agowhen, in 1947, after the Spanish Civil War, a group of sailors, fishermen and workers of San Juan Beach (Guía de Isora), founded the Unión Deportiva Playa.
It must be taken into account that in the 1930s, in Spain, and also in this municipality in the South, there was an explosion around football, with the birth of a multitude of teams, shortly after, in 1927, tried to organize the Spanish Football League, as it was called.
Fishermen and factory workers
The civil war would cause a much more serious explosion whose consequences would be felt in the smaller teams, which would re-emerge, little by little, at the end of the 1940s. as explained by Aarón González in a telephone conversation.
“In 1947 normality was resumed – he underlines – and the first match was played with Isora. This is how the first team in the town is born, but it has no economic capacity of any kind, so the land owner Antonio Trujillo Cruz gives them a field. The substrate of the staff was the people of Playa San Juan, families of fishermen and workers from the Lloret y Llinares fish factory and the expenses are covered by the neighbors themselves.”
Playa’s winding path really doesn’t have a bad ending, at least so far.
Although in 2018 he was about to leave the Federation with a name without roots that they gave him in 2011 – the Nast Costa Playa Isora -, he is already registered with the original, the Unión Deportiva Playa, and this is how it will be presented in in the coming weeks, in an event in which the new kit will be announced, with the presence of former presidents and former players, in addition to the families of the more than one hundred young people who play in the ranks of the four teams that make it up. That is, hundreds of fans around some colors, “white and blue, which are the sailor colors,” says González, who emphasizes that “although all its members were not fishermen, they were children of fishermen, from the salt flats or from fish factories. The history of Playa San Juan cannot be understood without the sea.”
A new anthem for the team
UD Playa will have, for the first time in its history, its own anthem, which has been composed by it, with the collaboration of Horacio González, from Guanil, also a researcher and disseminator, and by José Pablo Gallego, from Clipia Estudio. “It is a hymn to sing all together, very popular, like the idiosyncrasy of the team, and that recovers the riquirraca, which has been lost in the stands and in which the fight for the Aguadulce field is explained,” he recalls.
It must be remembered that, like so many things in the Southern Region, Guía de Isora was, after Franco’s rule, under-equipped with basic sports facilities, such as a municipal soccer field.
This would not be built until 1984, when the Aguadulce one was inaugurated on land donated by another owner in the area, Ulrich Ahlers, all with a match against Águilas Atlético. There were 7,000 square meters that Ahlers contributed from his farm with the same place name.
Ana Delia Fernández assures that when she became president in 2018 her goal was for the team not to disappear, in the same way that now the board has managed to recover the group’s original name. Regarding the four Playa teams – two Cadets, one Youth and the Regional -, she would like “one of my goals to be met, which is to have a team of women, but for that we need support from the City Council. Keep in mind that we took the club with zero euros,” she explains.
A neighborhood group of strong women
Eulogia González Taima, who gives her name to a square in Playa San Juan, is also remembered in the team’s new anthem, for the roots that her memory and her fight had among all the neighbors, “in a group that was made up of María Lola, María Esther, Yaya, Fina… who not only drive the battle to have their own field, but also other popular struggles, such as public education or the conservation of our traditions,” explains the researcher.
After the first attempt in the 1940s, Playa would end up disappearing due to the economic inability to move to other places to maintain the competition, although it was refounded in 1976, with the same colors. There began the fight that would lead to the construction of the Aguadulce municipal field. They will progress from Third to Second Regional and, from there, to First, with Lorenzo Rivero being the top scorer of the provincial championship in the 1977-1978 season.
However, maintaining it has a cost and this is unaffordable for the Sports Union. “It is a team that every time it rises, then falls and disappears,” which happened again in 1984, when history repeated itself.
In 2009, the story is the same until the team resumes in 2011, with the well-known name change, which “people took very badly because that was not the name of the town”, an erratic journey that, in 2018, changes Ana’s entry.