1st June 2003. Old Condomina Stadium. Real Murcia last played in the top flight of Spanish football in the 88/89 season.....a decade and some ago.
The previous season Real Murcia flirted with relegation, saving themselves with a last day 3 - 0 win over Jaen. Coach David Vidal took over when things were looking really bad, and managed to get the best out of a limited squad. For the start of the 02/03 season, additions to the squad were what seemed to be jorneymen, nothing to inspire. But in the second division Real Murcia are always favorite for promotion (we have 9 second division winners titles - not sure if this can be beaten) so there was some hope of success.
Photo : David Vidal arrives - no grey hair. Leaving he was looking old....What did we do to him?
We started the season well and gained confidence. The german Andreas Reinke was a colossus in goal (even stepping up to score a penalty), Tito ran the midfield, Pedro Largo grew wings in the centre of defence, and Richi looked like a ringer for Dennis Bergkamp. You went to games just knowing the Peppermen were going to dominate and be one nil up after 20 minutes. David Vidal made sure no-one relaxed ever....and so we continued to amass points and keep a distance at the top of the table. We had a decent cup run, only losing in the quarter finals to a fortunate Deportivo La Coruña side on away goals - they fluked an undeserved win at Riazor, then fluked a couple of goals at La Condomina before a fightback saw Murcia win 4 - 3. A loss but it increased the confidence of both players and fans.
With 4 games remaining we needed a home win against Levante, who were also well placed for promotion. La Condomina was packed....I sat in the Grada Alta for this one.
So promotion was ours....but.....as you know Real Murcia is special, and David Vidal was dismissed....and our season back in primera was a complete disaster.