Sports and economic crisis
The 60’s decade advances and Celta is unable to reach its main goal: return to First Division. Besides its sports crisis, new economic problems emerged. Debt limited the team, which had to be completely restructured in the 64-65 season. Celta had to discard seven players and limit the maximum salary of the new additions. Marketing campaigns were launched again to raise funds to help Real Club Celta survive, getting a spectacular response from a specific sector: the hospitality union.
At that time, a news item altered positively the spirits of the fans, although eventually it would all be a simple rumor. Cesareo Gonzalez, film producer and former President of the Celta, announced the possibility of signing the Argentine Di Stefano. While the star was 38 years old, it was said that he was offered three and a half million pesetas of that time.
A year full of fear
The 67-68 season was marked by the changes introduced by the Spanish Football Federation in the competition. Such changes seriously affected the sporting approach of the teams. The Federation restructured the competition’s categories in a way that First Division was made up of 16 teams, and Second Division by a group of 20, when before it was formed by two groups of 16 teams. Therefore, the last eight clubs in each of those groups were to be relegated to Third Division.
This way, in the 67-68 season the most important objective was not promoting, it was staying in the same division. That Celta was managed by Ignacio Eizaguirre. The team incorporated into its ranks important players such as Gabriel Lezcano, Riveros, Fernando Rey and Antonio Lopez. The first leg of the season went in accordance to the philosophy set by Eizaguirre: avoid relegation before setting higher aims. Celta finished the season according to planned. Abel and Rivera, both with 17 goals, were the Second Division’s top scorers, but the best was yet to come…
Back to the top
The 68-69 season will not be easily forgotten in RC Celta’s history because it was the year in which the team returned to First Division after spending ten years in Second, battling against relegation and the frustration of always being on step away from promotion.
Although the club managed to improve its economic situation, its sporting objectives had not been met. It was about time there was a change for the better.
Despite an uneven start, Celta remained in the top three positions of the leaderboard all season long. As the season advanced, promotion seemed closer, since Celta was adding victories, but halfway through the season an incident occurred that caused a deep discontent in the sky-blue club. After Celta defeated Industrial Jerez 2 – 0, several media echoed an alleged bribe of the opposing goalkeeper on behalf of Celta. In the end everything was clarified. Apparently two players from Jerez Deportivo had visited Industrial Jerez goalkeeper’s house and offered him money in exchange for letting Celta score a goal. After the investigation conducted by a special Spanish Football Federation judge, the name of the Vigo team was clean of any guilt.
Before the season ended, Celta had clinched promotion to First Division. It was a reason of pride and joy for all the fans, and for the executives, which awarded the players and managers a golden badge for such feat.
It is worth highlighting the fact that the promotion season was also the season of the light. At the beginning of October, the then Mayor of Vigo, Rafael J. Portante, decided that Balaidos should have an electrical lighting system in good conditions so that they could play games at night.
It was financed with the money Celta obtained from advertising and operation of bars, a capital which was reimbursed to the city council on the condition that it was invested in enhancing Balaidos. On April 9th, 1969, the system was first used in a friendly match against the Belgian Anderlecht. The result was a 1-1 draw. The first official match played in the Vigo stadium under the new lighting system was Celta-Onteniente, where the home team won 2-0, with goals by Suco and Pocholo