The first European Celta
After barely avoiding relegation in the 69-70 season, the one in which Celta returned to First Division, the squad would accomplish an almost unthinkable feat at the time: qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
Celta staged a brilliant football season, although in other areas problems kept emerging. Before the season, the Board acknowledged a debt of more than 16 million of the old pesetas. In addition, the campaign to attract more season-ticket holders didn’t work well. Celta in those days had around 8.000 season-ticket holders, obtaining only 1.100 new ones.
Disappointment in the UEFA Cup
In September 1971, the first European round for Celta took place against Scottish Aberdeen. The first leg match was played at Balaidos and there was no luck for the home team: Celta lost 2-0. The second leg match meant saying farewell to UEFA Cup. The Vigo squad lost 1 – 0 and all their hopes faded. The great European competition experience had been very short, but certainly historic for the club.
This setback seemed to foretell what would later happen. Celta struggled greatly in the league. After a quite irregular first leg in Liga, Celta began to pick up the pace in the second. The greatest sign of recovery would be against Deportivo Coruña at Balaidos, a 3-0 win. Finally, the Vigo team would finish the season in the middle of the leaderboard.
The ‘elevator team’ era begins
After avoiding relegation in the 72-73 season in a 3-0 win against Real Madrid in the last league match, Celta performed irregularly in the 73-74 season. The team went form leading the standings alongside Granada to the very last position of the leaderboard. In the end the team avoided relegation, but not for long.
The Vigo squad started out the 1974-1975 season in a slump, and after a few league stages many people were doubting the manager’s methods. Later some pacifying results were achieved, but again the shadow of defeat loomed Celta. The team eventually suffered another relegation to Second Division. It happened in the last league match against UD Las Palmas, who was also playing to avoid relegation. Celta went through an ordeal in the Canary Islands. They could not stand the pressure and wound up losing 3-1.
Carmelo sparked a revolution
On its return to the Second Division ‘inferno’, the team reinforced itself signing players like Gonzalo, Fenoy, Pepe ‘Carpintero’ or Igartua. Among those leaving the team, its noteworthy to mention a key player: Fernandez Amado. The league started out without problems, but on the 7th matchday a defeat against Calvo Sotelo enraged Celta supporters. Manager Mariano Moreno resigned and was soon replaced by Carmelo Cedrun, who kept the team undefeated 19 straight matches. The excellent progress made the team reach the top position on the leaderboard, and didn’t finish as Second Division champions because of a loss against Burgos. Nevertheless, Celta achieved promotion to First Division.
Yet another relegation
The joy would last little. Celta had ‘taken the elevator’ and in the following years would constantly promote and relegate. Celta had a poor performance in the league and an unusual circumstance in football happened. The top scorer of the team was, no more no less, Fenoy, the goalkeeper. Besides making spectacular stops, he converted 5 of the 6 penalties he had kicked. In 34 matches, 22 goals were scored, and five of them were, as noted, by Fenoy.
A new promotion in the last minute
In the 77-78 season the club underwent some substantial changes. The team had a new president, Jaime Arbones, and a new manager, Toni Cuervo.
The pre-season was held at Manzaneda mountain and the team incorporated some new players such as Carlos Nani, José Pexegueiro, Gelo or Lucas. It didn’t have a bad start in the league, but after a few losses things changed. The situation became so complicated that manager that Toni Cuervo came to admit that he had no control over the team and that there were several problems in the dressing room. After his resign, Pepe Villar took charge of the team for a short time, since in the following hours, Maguregui was hired. The team achieved a new promotion.
Sports and economic disaster
The season began with the dismantling of the squad. President Arbones recognizes that the recruitment of the Argentine Nani had been a failure and the player is dismissed. Brazilian Ademir Vieira is signed as substitute, but he was sidelined by knee injury after playing only four matches. The club also dispensed Gomez, and signed Paco, Pereira, Lake, Garcia Senra, Vila and Toledo. Besides all these player changes, Celta suffered in the stands as fans abandoned the club. It ended up with only 9.000 season-ticket holders after having 12.000. Even the team’s doctor and member of the Board, Dr. Babé, left the club, Genaro Borras took his place.
The league started out sadly with losses. The club was in a very bad economic situation and, on top of that, many players suffered several and severe injuries. Even the weather turned against Celta that year as many today still remember the devastating floods at Balaidos stadium, destroying part of the facilities. In the end of the 78-79 season Celta would again promote to Second Division.
Relegation to Second Division B
That season was one of the saddest for Celta in history, which was on a complete downfall. The manager left the team and Pedrito was named manager. The team did not manage to get good results from early on and, after some time, everybody lost their patience. In the match against Alaves in Balaidos the stands showed their disapproval, specially towards goalkeeper Fenoy, who confronted the crowd. The board resigned and Jaime Arbones was left alone. Then manager Pedrito was dismissed and substituted by Carmelo.