When Raul Martín Presa became president of Rayo Vallecano, he made an initial mistake after he invited ultra group 'Bukaneros' on an away trip as a means of trying to curry favour with the hardcore fans. Soon after the president realized that paying for away travel for the group was a mistake and looked to address the situation. What ensued subsequently has been a battle of attrition from both factions, with a left leaning supporters group on one side and a president with a polar opposite view when it comes to politics on the other. As a 'show of strength' last year Presa invited leading members of the far-right political party VOX to the VIP section when Rayo faced Albacete. A game that featured Ukrainian striker Roman Zozulya who himself has had his own strenuous relationship with Rayo fans.
Carlos Santiso appointment
This season, despite unprecedented success on the pitch, each Rayo game is characterized by the chant of 'Presa Vete Ya' (Presa leave now) with these chants not only coming from the area behind the goal populated by 'Bukaneros'. Things came to a head recently after Presa hired Carlos Santiso to coach the women's team with the club standing by the coach after audio recordings emerged with Santiso advocating 'gang rape' as a manner of team-building. The coach was previously sacked by the Madrid Football Federation which the content of the recordings became public knowledge with Rayo sidestepping the issue. These were not just 'throw-away' comments but an apology for crime, humiliation and brutality against women.
A club divided
As things stand, the club is divided in two, the president on one side with the bulk of the fanbase on the opposing side. Rayo fans over the years have been instrumental in shaping the direction of the club with their strong political and social values but they only contribute to 15% of the club's turnover with Presa overseeing a side that has enjoyed their best season to date in the top flight. This year Iraola's side have also reached the Copa del Rey semi-final for the first time in 40 years. Rayo fans applaud the team and call for the president to leave when it Presa who has been instrumental in the teams success. Having said that, Martin Presa really does give ammunition to his critics with some of his indefensible attitudes with his general policy at the club towards women's football being a prime example.