History (3)

The season 1988/1989, the first under Lendoiro, began with local coach Arsenio Iglesias on the bench and with practically the same squad which barely had escaped relegation during the previous season. But the team, with the addition of Brazilian Raudnei, managed to complete a great Copa del Rey campaign yet once again failed to gain promotion to the Primera División. Nevertheless, for the first time in many years the club was able to deal with its financial difficulties and actually to reach a surplus in their balance.

With few new signings, and still wary of any possible monetary dangers to the club, the 1989/1990 season was somewhat of a turning point. The team was more motivated than ever and with the debut of players like Martin Lasarte and Sabí­n Bilbao, and with the eastern-block players Sredojevic, Batrovic and Stojanov, the Galician club managed to reach a preliminary two-leg encounter with Tenerife for a place at the highest level. But despite a draw in the first leg on the Canary Islands, the fans of Deportivo faced another disappointment as in the return leg in Riazor the island club obtained the ticket to the Primera División.

However, Deportivo president Lendoiro insisted that with everyone's support the club would finally ascend to the highest level. The financial management was in safe hands, a surplus in gains still existed and the amount of club members (socios) continued to grow to 17,500. This was how the season 1990/1991 was approached. Josu, Albi­stegui, Stojadinovic, Kanatlarovski, Mijika, Villa, Albis, Uralde and later Djukic were some of the names added to the squad and the target was clear: reaching the Primera División.

Once again the dying seconds of the season would decide the fate of Deportivo. But after having missed 18 years of football in the Primera Divisi??n, Deportivo defeated Murcia in the last match of the regular season and finally achieved the promotion. All of La Coruña and Galicia were soaked in joy and the Blanquiazul world would then start to move beyond its borders, as fans all across the nation were to join the Deportivo cause.

The 1991/1992 season is often considered as one of transition. A mix of veterans and younger players with the likes of Claudio, Ribera, López-Rekarte, Canales, Liaño, Kirov and Kiriakov formed the team and were guided by coach Marco Antonio Boronat. And Deportivo looked on their way to safety after an impressive 5-2 win in March, 1992 against Sporting de Gijón with three goals of Uralde.

But after a disappointing 2-2 home draw in April against Burgos, after leading 2-0 in Riazor, relegation had come so close that Boronat was replaced by Arsenio Iglesias. In the end Deportivo were one point short of reaching a safe place and finishing as number seventeen in the Liga caused playing play-off matches for the third time in a row. In 1990 the club had missed promotion in these matches but in 1991 finally achieved it. In 1992 the status of Primera División was secured against Betis Sevilla and this was celebrated by the fans of Deportivo as if the team had won the Liga.

The players most frequently used that campaign were: Liaño - Sabin Bilbao, Albi­stegui, Djukic, Lasarte, López-Rekarte/Mariano Hoyas - Fran, Kanatlarovski, Kiriakov, José Ramón - Claudio.

When the season 1992/1993 started, Deportivo had become an Anonymous Society (S.A.D.) This is a common factor for all clubs in Spain, as each club is their own independent institution. Fans and shareholders of all kind now own a part of the club and have their own say. This was truly a showing of the earlier message: "a club for all coruñeses".

The sportive consolidation had as its consequence new important signings, as 1992 was the year when internationally recognized figures were introduced at Deportivo. Brazilian players Mauro Silva (24) and Bebeto (28) were the first to arrive. They were joined by Spanish players Aldana, Juanito, Nando, José Ramón and Serna. Lendoiro and his staff made it clear: Avoiding relegation was not the objective anymore. Deportivo were after more...

About 30,000 fans showed up in Riazor to look at the presentation for the new season; a campaign that would become spectacular. The foundations of SuperDepor were put in place and the echoes of "Madrid, Barcelona, here we are!" (words spoken by president Lendoiro after the promotion in 1991) were shouted by all deportivistas. The team won its first five matches, including a sensational 3-2 win against Real Madrid after being 0-2 down. Bebeto scored two goals in this match and continued scoring all season long. 29 was the number on which he finished and with it he became Pichichi of the Primera División.

His team surprised Spain by occupying the first spot during 18 of the first 24 matchdays and were crowned winter champions. But in February and March 1993 the team proved to be too inexperienced to win the Liga after losing at both Real Madrid and Barcelona. At Real Madrid the team had even taken the lead through Claudio but missed a penalty after it. At Barcelona the team didn't had a chance at all.

Nevertheless, Deportivo held on to the third place until the end of the season and for the first time in its history qualified for European football. Goalkeeper Liaño received the honourable Trofeo Zamora while four Spanish players of the club were called for the national team. One of them was captain Fran, who almost was signed by Real Madrid that summer. President Lendoiro made clear though that "Deportivo do not sell, we sign". Things had definitely changed.

The players most frequently used that campaign were: Liaño - Nando, Albistegui, Ribera, Djukic, López-Rekarte - Fran, Mauro Silva, Aldana - Bebeto, Claudio