This evening Spanish TV's sports channel, Teledeporte, will show the Second Division game between Racing de Santander and Mirandés. TVE (Spain's national television station) has rekindled its interest in Spain's second division, honouring the historical and much-loved Racing Club de Santander, also known as 'el Santander' (the slightly incorrect but familiar name given by fans from outside the province of Cantabria). Santander are a club that have seen better days, but then, who hasn't? It's true to say that the occasion takes place amidst divisions between the fans and the club's board, and it's even truer to say that the club have also had a run of rotten luck in recent years; but they're still there.
This is a club with players like Pagaza, who formed part of Spain's national team at the Antwerp Olympics, or a club that brought Fred Pentland (who was subsequently more associated with Athletic Bilbao) in as coach; a unique character who was the start of the term 'Míster' in Spanish football as a colloquial name for trainer, like the term 'boss' or 'gaffer'. This is also a club that forms part of the ten founders of Spain's First Division, and which, despite their problems over the years, have always strived at the very least to maintain their position in the top league, unlike other more unfortunate clubs such as Europa, Arenas and Real Unión. This is a club that came second in the International Tournament in Paris in 1931, a precursor of the European Cup.
It's a club that supplied Real Madrid during their glory years; Marquitos and Gento, for instance, were first team regulars during Madrid's period of five European Cup victories. Gento was the team captain in the side that won the sixth, while Santillana was a hero at Madrid during the 'inter-war years'. Racing is a club that has always left its mark: the 'team of moustaches' in the 72-72 season, one of the sides that regained the clubs place in the First Division, springs to mind. But our associations with Racing don't come from Piterman, Alí Syed, Pernía or Manuel Saiz, they come from the other names mentioned in this article, or with Nemes, Alsúa, Setién... and so many others. They are the names that are and will be Racing Club.