Sevilla need the return of Juande Ramos

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Once upon a time in Spain, the words “Sevilla are on the TV!” would clear the streets in microseconds as footie lovers of all shapes and sizes dashed off to see the most sensational side in the world strut their stuff.

This was especially so down in Andalusia, where the region’s pride and joy rose from being football flops to goal-scoring Goliaths to become as popular as hand-clapping, wailing out of tune and bribing government officials.

Today, those very same words has millions of footie fans across the land groaning and reaching for their remotes to change channel and endure Spain’s six hour version of Strictly Come Dancing instead. The team that was once so, so exciting has become so, so soporific.

Yet just three seasons ago, Sevilla were arguably the greatest club on the continent.

It was a side that challenged Barcelona and Real Madrid for the title, won the UEFA Cup twice, the European Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa de Rey, all in the space of two seasons.

"Hold this a second mate, I've got lunch with Daniel Levy"

With Dani Alves and Antonio Puerta flying down the flanks, Seydou Keita and Christian Poulsen marshalling the midfield and Luis Fabiano and Freddie Kanouté fantastic up front, Sevilla were the most fun football side in the world.

But then the squad began to break apart with the end of days for Sevilla’s superlative side being the acrimonious departure of Juande Ramos to Spurs in October 2007.

Tough-talking second team coach and former full back, Manolo Jiménez, took over and has fulfilled his obligations by leading his team to a 5th and 3rd place finish in his spell at the club.

But it has been a torturous experience to watch for supporters who haven't stopped calling for Jiménez' head to roll since he started.

Although Jiménez has a fine chance to lead Sevilla into the Champions League quarterfinals holding a 1-1 draw and an away goal advantage going into Tuesday night’s clash against CSKA Moscow at the Sánchez Pizjuán, it is time to say ‘gracias’ but ‘adios’ to Manuel at the end of the campaign and make the controversial move to bring Juande Ramos back.

"Man alive, what have I let myself in for...?"

The vast majority of the increasingly stupefied Sevilla support would love to see Jiménez sent packing when his current contract expires, this summer. As club president José Maria del Nido has admitted, the complex relationship between the fans and the coach is worthy of a thesis.

Despite being a ‘colourful’ character, Jesus Gil’s lawyer and someone facing a 14-year prison sentence for corruption, del Nido rules over a tremendously well run side that has a superb youth system and an astute selling policy that sees Sevilla as one of the few top flight clubs in sound financial straits.

And it is this wise unwillingness to really splash the cash which prevents Sevilla from competing for the title in the way they did in 2007 when the sporting stars aligned to pit a team that was so, so good against rivals that were so, so average.

Yet the club should still be doing an awful lot better than they are now.

Sevilla currently stand 21 points off second place and have huffed and puffed against the lowly likes of Valladolid, Getafe and Racing, this season.

There is a nucleus of another fine team in the current Sevilla ranks with Diego Capel, Diego Perotti and Jesús Navas already at the Sánchez Pizjuán and others such as Alvaro Alfaro ready to return home after a promising loan spell at Tenerife.

Might Navas, Fabiano and Capel benefit from the return of Juande?

Whilst time may up for Fredi Kanouté and Luis Fabiano due to age and ambitions to move on, there is talk that next season’s forward line-up will see Spanish international Alvaro Negredo alongside Stuttgart’s Cacua.

What is needed to lead this new generation for Sevilla is the man who lead the way for the first. But that is a big ask.

Juande Ramos remains the sworn enemy of del Nido after his departure to Tottenham and fans welcomed him back to the Sánchez Pizjuán, last season, when he was manager of Real Madrid by waving ‘Juan Dollar’ notes.

But football is nothing but pragmatic.

If Ramos were to return then Sevilla would be putting their future in the safe hands of a coach who knows the club inside out and has shown that the side can be so much more than the sum of its parts.

Most importantly of all, Sevilla would be lead by someone who can make them sexy and sensational again, instead of the current dour, defensive version managed by Manolo Jiménez.

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