Goal.commentary: Guadalajara's Revival

With the return of the University of Guadalajara, Chivas' new stadium and Tecos' rebranding, the city of Guadalajara has taken a major step towards becoming a dominant football center in Mexico, says Goal.com's Joel Aceves.
By Joel Aceves

Guadalajara, one of Mexico’s most traditional football cities, is set to receive a makeover that can potentially revive the once-healthy dose of competition stemming from the country's province. One of the Mexican league's earliest rivalries were those that pitted the Province against the Mexico City clubs.

The once-healthy rivalry, however, disappeared as soon as Guadalajara club’s Oro and Leones Negros folded. As the Mexican league decentralized and expanded to cover territory as far as Quintana Roo and even border town Ciudad Juarez the Mexico City teams also suffered. Soon Atlante and Necaxa were relocated and province vs. city clubs became a thing of the past.  

With the exception of Chivas the remaining Guadalajara clubs were not able to garner any interest outside the city. Atlas has not been able to win a league title since the 1951 season, the joke remains that there are no color pictures of Atlas holding any silverware, while Tecos last tasted glory nearly 15 years ago.

Football in Guadalajara had indeed grown stale. That was at least until Jorge Vergara purchased Chivas and had the club competing for top honors. Amongst Vergara’s wishes to transform the club was the need for Chivas to have their very own stadium.

Thus, Vergara deciding that Chivas is too big a club to share custody of Jalisco stadium with the Civil Association of Jalisco United Clubs (which is composed of Atlas, Oro Social and Athletic club, University of Guadalajara, and Chivas) has given rise to a makeover of Guadalajara clubs.

Chivas will be relocating to the outskirts of the city to their very own stadium which is being touted as Latin America's most modern football venue. Taking over Chivas spot at the Jalisco stadium will be Leones Negros who had disappeared 15 years ago. Leones return comes via Vergara’s decision to sell Chivas feeder team and Primera A side Tapatio to a University of Guadalajara patronage headed by Jorge Zambrano Villa.

“We want to acknowledge the signature of an agreement with Chivas, in which the University of Guadalajara acquires club Tapatio which from now on will become Leones Negros,” confirmed U de G general director Marco Antonio Cortes Guardado at a press conference unveiling the agreement.

“First and foremost I want to thank the University of Guadalajara for giving us the confidence to come to an agreement, we are very pleased that Leones Negros can return to Primera A,” added Vergara. “We hope that Leones can soon achieve the desired results so that they can win promotion to first division because in Guadalajara there is room for one more club. Obviously, U of G left a great impression during their years of play and the proof is that there is high interest in the return of the Leones Negros,” concluded the Chivas supremo.

Not to be outdone neighboring Tecos UAG also announced a change in the teams structure.

“Truth is we needed a change in the institution, with refreshing ideas from people that will incorporate to the club, which I am sure will help us shake things up around here and have a better team,” said Tecos president Antonio Leano.

Helping the Tecos face-lift will be Juan Jose Frangie, the former Chivas general director, who along with a group of investors will be sponsoring and managing the club. “We want this project to be open to all the republic, we want that any student of the country  feels the jersey  and has the opportunity to come and try out in our installations,” said Frangie about his idea to turn Tecos from the local Autonomous University of Guadalajara (UAG) club to a side that represents students across the country.

Amongst the new changes set to take place will be the clubs re-branding from Tecos to Estudiantes including a change of team colors, from red and white to burgundy and gold, along with a new crest.

“Let us remember that 35 years ago those were the original team colors, I still have a uniform from when I used to play and those were the colors,” added Leano.

Estudiantes' crest, which will retain the Owl will now feature a shield with the letter E inside another shield. The teams new uniform will be designed by Nike which replaces Tecos previous sports brand Prima.

“We want a brand that is penetrating and makes people feel proud to wear, that you can take to the movies or night club, and have the jersey on because you are proud of it,” concluded Frangie.

Joel Aceves covers Mexican Football for Goal.com.

For more coverage of Mexican football, visit Goal.com's Mexican Football section.