River's nightmare season goes on and on

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This has been, undoubtedly, River Plate's worst ever season.

Out of 17 of the season's games (leaving three left to play), the Millionarios have won only two. To say it is a crisis is perhaps an understatement.

Diego Simeone left his coaching position after they nose dived out of the continental tournaments and failed to win games in the opening stages of the campaign.

After winning the title the previous season what on earth could have gone so drastically wrong so quickly? There are rumours, of course...

Party boy Ariel Ortega was unceremoniously kicked out of the squad by Simeone who refused to even speak to the player, who had decided he wasn't hungover and turned up to train.

Understandable many would say. And off he went on loan to Primera B team Independiente Rivadavia, under the proviso he underwent treatment for alcoholism.

Ortega: "Drat, I knew I should have brought a brolly!" 

He was a fan favourite, but few could argue for him to stay – on the terraces though, many harbour hopes he will return. Simeone, Argentina's most capped player, walked, leaving the team in the hands of caretaker coach Gabriel Rodríguez.

For many however, the blame lies in the controversial chairman José María Aguilar, elected by mandate, as all chairmen in Argentina are, in 2001.

Since then they have won only four domestic championships, and no continental tournaments. He is known for his interfering hands on approach, something that was probably a factor in Simeone’s departure.

Aguilar: Facing the chop - nice shirt, though... 

Today, it is rumoured that 90 percent of the club's members want him to leave. Yet Argentina's system of members electing the chairman, has unintended consequences. The chairman, like politicians, need voters, and the most powerful group among the fans, is the barra brava.

Of course, there isn't a president, chairman, coach who will ever admit that getting the barra brava on side is part of the election process, but the reality is that the barra brava is often used to make the rest of the fans vote for their candidate - often with heavy handed means and dire consequences.

It seems increasingly clear that not even the barra brava, in disarray though they are, will help out Aguilar. His days must be numbered, and in this bloggers opinion it will not only be good for River, but also for Argentine football as a whole.

---------------------------------------------- More to read...
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