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"SD Compostela, an Introduction" - Vaya Con Dios, FM23

January 23rd, 2023




What do Fidel Castro's parents, Padron Peppers, and former Liverpool forward Iago Aspas have in common?

They all come from Galicia.

I must admit, I didn't know a great deal about Galicia until I started doing research for this post, but after learning more I'm intrigued by this corner of Spain.

Galicia has a unique identity, with it's own language, culture and customs. Interestingly, Galician culture stems from Celtic roots, in contrast to the Latin Greco-Roman base of the majority of the country. It's regional language is an outlier too, and is most closely related to Portuguese rather than Castilian Spanish. The Celtic roots are noticeable in music from the region, and I've provided an example below. I'd advise leaving it playing as you read the rest of this post.

While Pimientes de Padron may be one of the best exports the Iberian peninsula has to offer, this part of Spain is perhaps not as prolific in it's production of footballing greats when compared to other autonomous communities such as Catalonia and The Basque Country.

Besides Aspas, other footballers from the region include Lucas Vasquez of Real Madrid, former Spanish national team coach and Balon D'or winner Luis Suárez (Not the Uruguayan one), and Verónica Boquete Giadans, who plays her football for Fiorentina in the Serie A Femminile and in 2013 ran a successful petition on to call upon EA Sports to introduce female players into the FIFA series.

The most notable teams from Galicia are Deportivo de La Coruña and Celta de Vigo, who partake in the Galician derby when the two sides meet.

Our journey in Galicia, however, will not start at one of these clubs. Galicia is also home to the final destination of one of Christianity's great pilgrimages and my inspiration for this series, the 'Camino de Santiago' or 'The Way of St. James' - and like any good story, we start at the end.


Santiago de Compostela

The capital of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, is a UNESCO world heritage site. It has it's origin in the Shrine of Saint James the Great, the destination of the Camino de Santiago.

According to medieval legend, the remains of Saint James were found by a Shepherd, guided by a bright star to their burial site where no clouds covered the sky above. Modern interpreters might say the lack of clouds is due to prevalent seaborne winds, but the discovery was enough in 813 A.D for the Bishop of Iria, Teodomiro to declare the remains to be those of the apostle Saint James. In his honour, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was constructed on the spot where his remains were found, leading to the growth and development of the city.

Since then, millions of pilgrims have travelled the network of routes to the cathedral for a form of spiritual growth and the route is popular with hikers, cyclists, tourists and religious types alike.

By all accounts, Santiago de Compostela is a beautiful place, and I can understand why it earned it's spot as a world heritage site. The traditional gothic architecture is most evident in the Cathedral, a marvel of medieval construction. This is contrasted nicely with some of the more contemporary architecture, heralding Santiago de Compostela's arrival into the 21st Century as a modern city.

Several sports teams find their home here, including prominent Basketball and Futsal clubs, and an emerging Gaelic Football scene. The focus of our attention however is Association Football, and local team SD Compostela.


SD Compostela

In 1962, Sociedad Recreativa Compostela merged with Club Arendal to form a new football team - 'Sociedad Deportivo Compostela', or 'SD Compostela' - also known by their nickname, 'Compos'.

The most successful period for the club was the four years spent in La Liga from 1994 through 1998, with their highest finish being 10th place in the 1995/96 season.

Following this brief high, things quickly turned sour for the club. Financial wrongdoing had been a bit of a theme in Compostela, dating back as far as 1986 when club president Francisco Steppe resigned amid allegations of match-fixing. Economic problems and debt were a consistent issue for the club, highlighted in 2003/4 when the players refused to turn out to a match against UB Conquense in protest of being unpaid for months. These issues culminated in 2006 when the club entered administration, losing their name, titles and place in the league.

Like many clubs who suffer the same fate, hope was not lost for SD Compostela. In 2004, a club named SD Campus Stellae had been formed, and entered competition in the Terceira Autonómica de Galicia - the 9th tier of Spanish football. In 2006, former SD Compostela president José María Caneda purchased the commercial name Sociedad Deportivo Compostela and became president of SD Campus Stella, changing the clubs name at the start of the 2007/8 season to the former club's brand.

Fast forward to 2023, and SD Compostela are currently competing in the Segunda Federación - the Spanish 4th tier.


So, Why SD Compostela in FM23?

Firstly, the aesthetic reasons. I like the club crest, with it's minimal but striking look and nod to the city's history with the emblazoning of the Cross of Saint James. I'm also a fan of the clubs colours and strip - turning out in baby blue and white with a touch of gold, they bear a striking resemblance to the Argentinian national team.

Club captain Alvaro Casas sporting the 22/23 Home strip. The addition of a scallop shell, a symbol of Galicia, is a nice touch.

Their stadium, Estadio Municipal Verónica Boquete de San Lázaro, which was opened in 1993 with a capacity of 16,666 was renamed in 2018 to honour Verónica Boquete. I mentioned she was Galician at the start of this post, but I didn't mention that she was actually born in Santiago de Compostela, and seems to be a local hero. It's design is reminiscent of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, I think. It also features a running track surrounding the perimeter of the pitch - something which is relatively unusual in Spain.

Secondly, the gameplay reasons. This save marks my first FM foray into Spain, and a chance to experience virtual management in a country that I haven't before. As a lower league club with more successful local teams, SD Compostela are ripe for a Road to Glory style save. Their history of economic turmoil will be another problem for me to solve. I intend to use ingame data a lot more than I have previously, in order to pursue a 'Moneyball' style approach to recruitment and club growth.

Furthermore, Spanish football is dominated by 'The Big Three' - Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid. Challenging their hegemony will be a real challenge, and offers a long term objective for the save.

Everybody loves a wonderkid, and I'll be looking to grow the club's youth system as we grow in stature. Some of the best youngsters, however, come from South America. As a smaller club in Spain, I will be fashioning SD Compostela as a 'Stepping-stone club', where young South Americans can come to pick up experience at a higher level before moving on to the bigger clubs across Europe. These players are often available at a good price, and a common language with cultural similarities should see them to adapt to European football better than they might in other leagues. To this end, I will aim to create a 'Wonderkid Factory' by setting up affiliations with South American teams and 'acquiring' their young talent to supplement our own.

Lastly, the cultural and historical reasons. Galicia and Santiago de Compostela offer a chance to manage in a region with an intriguing and unique culture, and a beautiful city with a wealth of history. The region itself is home to a growing independence movement, bolstered by the ultimately failed attempt at securing independence by Catalonia in the light 2010's. The growth of the movement has so far been stunted by a lack of economic development, but perhaps a successful, rich football club in the region's capital could change this. I intend to explore these themes in a coinciding narrative, which will follow the exploits of the club's new ingame manager - Ferdinand De Borja.

Flag of the autonomous region of Galicia.

I've condensed my reasoning down into the 'SD Compostela Manifesto, Part 1' which provides a list of short-term objectives for me to achieve in the first part of this save, up until the club are established in La Liga, at which point we'll update them.

These goals should provide a nice challenge for the start of the save, and a guideline for the trajectory of the club without being too restrictive. Hopefully, we can hit these goals and send the Compos on the path to glory.


For now, vaya con dios, amigo.

Patrick - FM Bhikkhu

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