There were many changes. Fernando Puche left and the Club's Presidency was taken over by Serafín Roldán, who was also the
biggest shareholder. Málaga had to once again learn to become a united team as some of their key players had been sold to
fund the Club. With the continued help of Manager Joaquin Peiró, the team gelled and played some remarkable football. So much
so they earned a place in the Intertoto, and undefeated in this competition, qualified for a place in the UEFA Cup, seeded
2003 - 2004 - Once
more there were changes. The Club did not renew Joaquín Peiró's contract, instead they looked around and came up with
Juan de la Cruz Ramos - Juande Ramos who signed a contracted for one year.
The squad were also under fire and Darío
Silva who was unhappy wanted a transfer to Sevilla, in which Serafín Roldán assisted. Kiki Musampa also left, his new
club was Atlético de Madrid and in exchange Málaga got Luque. Although offered a contract Dely Valdés opted to return
home and spend some time with his twin brother Jorge.
Other members whose contracts weren't renewed
were Sandro, Bravo, Rafa, Roteta, and Contreras.
Málaga had no strike force to speak of
and just prior to the market closing two men were signed up, Diego Alonso and Salva Ballesta.
Málaga once more had to form into a unit
and during the early weeks they struggled reaching the depths in relegation position 19! Thankfully they recovered and
climbed back up the ladder and at one point were in 7th place. Sadly they found it difficult to maintain their position
and finished in 10th place at the end of the season.
The high spot during this season was when
Málaga beat Barcelona 5 - 1 at La Rosaleda.
2004 - 2005
Juande Ramos wasn't happy with his new contract and decided to leave his position. Málaga soon had Gregorio Manzano,
ex Manager of Mallorca and Atlético de Madrid, take up the reins.
Once again the Club went through a clearing
out of players. Salva returned to Valencia and Diego Alonso went to Argentina. Insúa (or his agent) did not
agree with the new contract that they were presented with and also returned home. Also out were Rojas and Canabal
and later in the pre-season Josemi was transferred to Liverpool for a decent fee.
Málaga were now without any real strikers
and once more there were the usual rumours circulating. Eventually Marcio Amoroso and Paulo Wanchope were signed up
for at least two years.
However Gregorio Manzano did not fulfil
Málaga's expectations. In fact the team were hell bent for relegation and indeed occupied a place in the drop zone.
With the future looking extremely bleak, the Club decided to cut their losses and pay off Manzano, an expense which made a
big hole in their meagre coffers.
It did not take them long to promote Málaga
B trainer, Antonio Tapia, a high school Physical Education teacher who had made a career in football. His success with
the young players of Málaga B was encouraging and it was hoped that he would be able to take on the daunting task of lifting
the First Division side back into the competition.
This he managed to do. His first game
as trainer with Málaga was against arch rivals Sevilla and this game was the start of the 'New Málaga'. The blue and
whites managed to beat the 'reds' with a single goal. From then on it was 'win
some - lose some' but the wins were more than the losses and Antonio Tapia managed, what last year was thought impossible,
to finish the season with a total of 51 points and in 10th place.
What will happen next?
2005 – 2006 Although Antonio Tapia enjoyed success last season life was difficult as the
financial noose tightened.
Players began to be unsettled and Duda was
the catalyst that created a rift in the dressing room. He wanted to leave even
though he was offered a renewal and it was reported that he had even signed a secret contract for Portuguese club Porto with
his fees banked until he made the transfer.
But Duda didn’t want to help the club
financially by leaving before the term end. He was ostracised by the management
and not allowed to play which meant that a number of his team mates were not as cooperative as they could have been. This forced Tapia to look to Málaga B for his reinforcements but in the end this wasn’t
enough and the results suffered.
Tapia the ‘Magician’ was axed
and because of the clubs financial situation Manuel Hierro took over. This was
the beginning of the end for Málaga in La Primera. As the second half of the
season progressed it was apparent that Málaga’s adventure in La Primera was at a close and it was a very sad end of
term when the blue and whites were relegated.
2006 – 2007 After
denying all rumours that the club was to be sold Roldán eventually passed over ownership to the Sanz family with Fernando
taking over his job as president. However all was not plain sailing as the club
was riddled with debt. The pre season was spent at the Marpafut outside of Marbella
and the friendly games that Málaga participated in left a lot to be desired. Life
for the ‘Martiricos’ was going to continue to be difficult.
Although several new players were brought
in none were strikers and it was hoped that the new midfielders would be able to feed Salva enough good crosses so that he
could get the goals. Sadly this didn’t happen often enough and Málaga slumped. Marcos Alonso who was a ‘left over’ from the previous regime was dismissed
and in his place stepped Juan Ramón Muñiz, poached from Marbella.
Muñiz had to rebuild his squad’s confidence
and stamina, not to mention instruct them in how to play football! With the first
half of the season completed, Málaga had not yet returned to form and results were irregular.
The club was placed into the hands of official administrators whom, it was hoped, would handle the debts. Another difficult time lay ahead.
With Málaga in the hands of official administrators,
under the Ley de Concursal, expenses were closely scrutinised. Two of the club's highest paid players, Salva and César
Navas were ceded to Levante and Gimnastic de Tarragona, which left the blue and whites rather bereft of strikers, although
the back four were capable. Although everyone expected a guaranteed goal scorer, it was unemployed Iván Rosado who was
the only winter signing.
Málaga's second half of the season was as
irregular as the first and although not losing as many games, drawing wasn't the solution especially when points escaped
like a free flowing leak! Scoring goals, or the lack of, proved to be the club's continuing downfall, however Antonio
Hidalgo rose to the surface as the Costa del Sol Club's top goal scorer, sharing that position with Salva.
It was touch and go for the last quarter
and fortunately the players rallied and managed to get the required number of points to put a halt to the nightmare of
dropping into Segundo B.
However, despite the odds Málaga survived
with 55 points and in 15th position!
2007 - 2008 -
Another year in Second and this campaign was one of consolidation. Muñiz used very conservative tactics, which
did not go down well with some people, however the proof that he was right was when Málaga beat Tenerife in the
last game of the season ending in second place to win promotion along with Champions Numancia and third placed Sporting de
Gijón. Not only that, Málaga had made a new club record insofar as for the entire season it never left the top three
It was tough going, perhaps made even more
so playing so defensively especially as Málaga had, on some weeks, a nine points lead. Antonio Hidalgo and Salva
were injured and lost form as did Nabil Baha; Rossato was out for more than six weeks due to injury which, combined with
suspensions made life difficult. Towards the end of the term the cushion which Málaga had earned in the first part of the
season was slowly eroded leaving the team to prove that it had what it takes to move up into the elite. They
players did so.
Antonio Hidalgo once again earned his place
as hero, scoring 14 goals and was very much instrumental in getting Málaga's end result. It was only fair that he scored
the winning and promotion goal. The rest of it was a team effort, and thanks go to each and every player and members
of staff who made it possible.
After the celebrations Juan Ramón Muñiz said
his goodbyes to the club that was a springboard to his career and moved to Racing Santander. With his position vacant,
Fernando Sanz asked Antonio Tapia if he would return to work his magic. Tapia agreed.
With promotion came the euphoria and celebrations
but not long afterwards some bitter disappointments fell on players who were not counted on by the new trainer.
Valcarce decided to retire from active duty
and went on to accept a position as sports delegate within the club, and later Sandro also hung up his football boots to take
on an administrative position scouting new players.
Financially Málaga had gone through the process
of administratorship and the Judge had 'signed the club off' as being in a position to pay off its debts, which its creditors
had reduced to half but who still had to be paid off over the next five years. This will be strictly monitored
to ensure that it is complied with.
Málaga though is still not out of the woods
as the club will have a very strict budget to follow in order to prevent huge debts from building up. The repercussions
of which are that the club will have to choose whom they sign up and control the wage bill very carefully.
Will Málaga be able to hold on to a First
Division place under Antonio Tapia's guidance? Wait and see!
2008 - 2009 - Well we did see!
After a very shaky start when the blue and whites lost four games on the trot which gave fans serious cause for concern.
Results started to get better from week five when Málaga beat Valladolid at home. Then a resounding victory away at
Recreativo seemed to settle the team down and from then on it looked as if the blue and whites could hold their own.
Especially when on a few occasions 5th and 6th positions were reached. Hopes for European football bubbled and the dream
continued well into the second half of the season.
Málaga was the revelation club of the season.
It wasn't until the last six weeks that the dream started to fade. For Málaga die hards the bubble remained right to
one game from last when the results did not materialise. It was so near and yet so far. All of Málaga's loanees
returned to their home clubs which left the blue and whites deplete. New signings were a must and Albert Luque and Duda
were hopeful of returning, this time as true blue and whites. There was talk of Jesús Gámez going to Seville in a swap
for Duda and Lolo but this fell through.
However on a positive note, the club returns to
fight another season in La Primera and hopefully better prepared for another European Dream. Alberto Luque managed to
extricate himself from his contract with Ajax and Málaga managed to negotiate some interesting contracts. With a new
squad of footballers, most of whom are on permanent contracts, there is hope for something more to fight for.