Newly promoted Hercules made their mark on La Liga this past weekend by going to the Camp Nou and beating the almighty and all powerful Barcelona 2-0.
Quick note: the promotion/relegation system that they do in the European soccer leagues is the greatest sport invention ever. Here's how it works: In Spain for example, they have various soccer leagues. At the end of each season the bottom three teams in each league are relegated to the league below them and the top three teams are promoted to the league above. So last year the bottom three from the Primera Division - Valladolid, Tenerife and Xerez - were sent down to the Segunda Division while the top three finishers from the Segunda Division - Real Sociedad, Hercules and Levante - were promoted to the Primera Division for the following season. It's just genius. It's an incentive for each team to play hard throughout the season. No more tanking it at the end of the season. No more getting rewarded for losing by getting a high lottery or draft pick. If you lose, then you get relegated which means lower revenue and ticket sales because you are playing lesser competition. Losers don't win and get rewards like they do in the NBA, MLB or other sports.
You know where this system would be great? College Football. I hate the BCS as much as the next guy, but one way to fix it and settle the debate of whether the Boise State's and the TCU's of the world can play a full season in the Big 10 or SEC would be to promote them to the BCS conferences. Each year they should send the top three teams from the WAC, Mountain West, Conf-USA and the other non-BCS conferences to one of the BCS conferences and send the bottom three teams to non-BCS conferences. Those teams deserve to get relegated anyways. Washington State and Vanderbilt didn't even win a conference game last year. Maybe Boise State wouldn't run the table in the Pac-10 or the SEC, but they would at least win a couple games and do a whole lot better than Washington State and Vanderbilt do each year.
Sorry, I digressed a bit there. Just trying to show that Fútbol is once again superior to Football as Fútbol has a better system in place. Back to Hercules.
Some people were already anointing Barcelona as champions after only one week and saying ridiculous things like they shouldn't even play bother to play out the season as Barcelona will clearly win it all. Somebody is eating their cyber words. Not really actually. I don't think this changes anything. I don't want to take anything away from the win. It's impressive. But Barcelona has too many weapons and is still too good and they will run away with the league this year. To reassert their dominance they came out and beat Panathinaikos 5-1 in the Champions League yesterday.
Regardless, a 2-0 win at Barcelona is something Real Madrid can't even do and something only 1 or 2 other clubs will do all season. Is Hercules here to stay? Who knows, but they at least deserve a brief spotlight:
Name: Hercules Club de Fútbol
Location: Alicante, Spain.
Nicknames: Herculanos and Blanquiazules. Herculanos (Herculeans) by the way, is an awesome nickname. Almost as awesome as their club logo.
Although, their logo designer must have been fired or something because check out this year's away jersey:
Mother of Zeus those things are hideous. Even Hades can't stand them (I'm here all night).
Their home jersey is much better. I particularly like that they are sponsored by Ciudad de la Luz. Apparently that is a film studio in Alicante. Pretty awesome sponsor. I also like that their jerseys are made by Kelme. A great soccer brand that you don't see that often. Lots to like about the Herculeans.
Players: Not too many household names on the Herculean squad.
They do have Nelson Valdez. Apparently he's good or something. He scored the two goals against Barcelona. He's got some great hair. I wouldn't expect anything less from a Paraguayan (not sure what that means exactly).
They also have Royston Drenthe. Not exactly a household name but he did play for Real Madrid. Yet another martyr to their system. He played some his first year on the squad, sat the bench the second year and transferred out the third. Vaya Madrid!
So there you have it. Some basics on the Herculanos. Not too much info but probably 100% more than what you already knew. Hopefully they have continued success and maybe even beat Barcelona again later in the season. It's possible, but probably safer to hope they don't lose by more than 5 goals.
Here are the highlights from the game: