Granada became the second club to be relegated from the top flight in 2016-17 on Saturday as the Andalusians were beaten 2-1 by Real Sociedad at Anoeta.
Granada down after six seasons in Primera
Tony Adams, Granada’s fourth coach of the season who took over from Lucas Alcaraz at the beginning of April, was unable to revive the side’s fortunes and has now overseen four defeats with a return of a single goal. That strike came in Anoeta, Adrián Ramos’ 64th-minute strike providing Granada with a glimmer of hope, but La Real proved too strong for a side that has won just four games this season and Juanmi hammered the final nail into the coffin of Granada’s Primera status in seven minutes from time to confirm the club’s relegation to Segunda after six seasons in the top flight.
Adams said before the match that he was only interested in the players that would remain at Granada and in that respect the club faces a serious rebuild ahead of the 2017-18 season: of the current first-team squad 16 players belong to other clubs. Adams has intimated that he is in the dugout as a caretaker only and Granada will have to begin their search for a seasoned coach to lead them in Segunda as they attempt to bounce straight back up.
Granada loan players have experience
In some positive news for Granada, several of their army of players out on loan in 2016-17 have been plying their trade in Segunda and three – Tito, Darwin Machís and Rubén Pérez – have been involved in Leganés’ first season in Primera in a campaign that, with Granada’s descent, is odds-on to result in a successful survival bid for the Cucumber Growers.
However, it remains to be seen how committed to Granada’s cause Chinese businessman Jiang Lizhan remains after the club’s relegation. Given the meagre resources of the majority of Segunda clubs sensible investment in playing staff could give Granada an edge as they bid to regain their Primera status at the first time of asking. After a season of loan deals designed to keep the side in Primera has proven futile, Granada need to adjust to the realities of Segunda and build a squad with a core of permanent transfers to lend some stability to a club that has been flirting with relegation ever since their return to the top flight in 2011-12.
Granada will be acutely aware of the need to make a fist of escaping the treacherous sands of the lower tiers as quickly as possible: the last time they were relegated in 1976 ushered in a period of 35 years in the wilderness with the club slumping to the depths of Tercera in 2002.