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Happy birthday, Veracruz's last Liga MX win! Tiburones Rojos reach one year without victory

15:00 BST 25/08/2019
Diego Chavez Veracruz
The hapless club won't succeed while Fidel Kuri owns it, but a full year without a victory is a remarkable feat

Happy birthday! Hope you're doing well. 

I bet you never thought you'd get to this milestone. Most victories don't, after all. Well, they do, but they usually get replaced. You're a special one.

One year. 365 days. That's how long it's been since you came along: Veracruz's last Liga MX win. And you're still the most recent one for the Tiburones Rojos. That's 32 matches in which they've failed to pick up three points. They've been outscored 77-24 in the last year.

Eight minutes into the Aug. 25, 2018 contest, with interim manager Hugo Chavez looking on, Bryan Carrasco floated a lovely ball into the box toward three teammates. Diego Chavez jumped and sent a looping header over Tijuana goalkeeper Gibran Lajud. Tijuana pushed and pushed, especially in the last 15 minutes of the contest. Jose Rivas' clearance with the ball in the box and the goalkeeper down with a minute left of stoppage time would be enough. You did it. You won for the first time that season. And, as it turned out, the only time. 

The most memorable part of your big day? Probably not the Chavez goal or the defending but rather the fact that halftime ended up going 10 minutes longer than planned after the lights went out in the stadium and workers scrambled to get them back on so the second half could be played. 

It was all very Veracruz, but still, life seemed full of possibility. Maybe there'd be another couple of wins. Maybe the team could even challenge for the playoffs! Instead, it was more of what had preceded you.  

Three managers have tried to turn things around since then, and three managers have failed. They haven't even been bad managers. The club just isn't set up for success under Fidel Kuri. 

The businessman and politician has neglected to invest in much of anything around the club. Players? Many continue to allege they're not getting paid. Infrastructure? Well, in addition to the whole lights thing, there was also the April 2018 fire that burned the visitors' locker room to ash. Ethics? There was the time in 2016 when Kuri threatened the club would leave the state if his political party, the PRI, didn't win the elections. The party lost, but the team stayed. Fans have to wish Kuri had been a man of his words.

Even in those circumstances, surely nobody thought you'd make it this far as the only win for Veracruz in a whole year. It's actually stunning. Most of the time teams will at least pick up a win by accident - a team taking advantage of the opposition booting in some own goals or earning a penalty after a good defensive effort. Instead, your team has managed to have games that looked like sure victories turn into draws or defeats. 

Just weeks ago, they were winning against Atlas. At home! They had a chance to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot. Instead of converting, Colin Kazim-Richards tweaked his groin in the run-up, shanked the shot and went off injured. Atlas scored in the second half to tie and then got a harsh, but correctly given, penalty to take all three points home from the port city. 

There have been more fitting games to sum up the streak as well. This month's 7-0 loss at home to Necaxa? Yeah. For sure that one. The 9-2 loss to Pachuca in the previous tournament? We'll toss that one in too. 

Last season should've resulted in relegation. In fact, your club was the quickest team ever to hit the mark of being guaranteed to go down. But somehow, they’re back, taking advantage of Liga MX's loophole allowing teams to pay a fee and stay in the first division during the next few years. The squad continues to be poor, lacking investment, lacking leadership, lacking consistency with its roster as a parade of South American imports enter, march in place, see what they've gotten into and leave like the Grampa Simpson gif. 

There are some bright spots. I mean, the club has won Copa MX matches (though two of the three were against second-division teams and the first-division team Veracruz beat no longer exists, but we'll at least give a little credit). Chavez is still around. There’s an up-and-coming goalkeeper, one of the best in Mexico, in Sebastian Jurado. Yet, he's never tasted victory in league play. For his sake, hopefully he's able to get out of town soon and move to a better club. 

It'll be too bad for the fans to watch one of the few homegrown players the club is producing leave, but really everything about the situation is too bad. For some reason, a group of fans still go to see the games! They deserve better.

Was it right when fans started to pelt Kuri's suite with objects in the waning moments of Friday's 2-1 loss to Atletico San Luis? No, but the frustration was understandable.

Was it right when a rogue fan hacked Kuri's Twitter account? No, but it was hard not to laugh. It gave voice to the unheard, the fans in Veracruz who still desperately want to support this club but have little incentive to do so. Almost every football fan has supported a club that has gone through some bad seasons. Not getting a single win? That's as real as fan suffering gets.

"Mr. Kuri, the fans of the Tiburones Rojos of Veracruz are demanding a decent team," the hacker tweeted. "We're fed up with the poor management of the club."

They don't even want it to be great. They're settling for decent!

Life isn't easy for many people living in Veracruz. We've seen first-hand the effects of good teams in Mexico helping lift cities out of the difficult day-to-day many are stuck in. Kuri, his family and his fellow directors instead have made the problem worse with apathy and mismanagement.

It hasn't been all that long since the team was respectable. There are decent alumni sprinkled around the league and around the world. But unless Kuri undergoes a radical change, decides to sell the club, or the league steps in and does something with the nation's most embarrassing franchise, the days of Veracruz success are long behind us. A victory - one win, three points - will come sooner than that, but with this group set up for failure, it's hard to know when it will come.

Hell, you may even make it to two years old. Happy birthday, again. Enjoy your big day.