This is episode seven of a wider series. To start at episode one, please click here.
It was that time again, as Fernando stared out the apartment window, phone pressed against his temple.
Teixidó Snr was snacking. Teixidó Jnr was struggling with the humidity and altitude. Nothing ever really changes. Or does it?
“Fancy a visitor?”
To the relief of any misophonics within earshot, Teixidó Snr stopped chewing, immediately.
“Really, son?” The Catalonian knew the implication.
“Yeah, it’s time. La Paz is a beautiful place, and this club…” Fernando pauses with a lump in his throat “…this club has been great to me. But it’s time.”
A long silence defines the next ten seconds, both father and son trying to fathom if this was good or bad news.
“It was, well, you know the Copa Liber…”
“Son, you have your reasons. Call me when you get off the plane.”
The receiver lands back on the base with a conclusive click.
El Tigre has roared for the last time.
Oscar Wilde famously said “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
If this is the case, Fernando Teixidó will look back at his experience in Bolivia with a critical eye. The reality is that his record was incredible.
In two and a half seasons, the Peruvian guided Club The Strongest in back to back league and cup doubles. One Copa Libertadores second round and two group stage exits.
Seven defeats in 99 games overall couldn’t provide enough solace for Teixidó to get over a failure to get any further in the Libertadores at the third time of asking.
Despite a historic home victory against Flamengo, three defeats were enough to send the Bolivian champions out, and the manager to seek a new challenge; signalling the end of this journey.
The final game of Teixidó’s reign was quite the send-off. A celebration of domestic dominance embodied in the final match, an emphatic 14-0 destruction of Municipalidad in the Copa Aerosur.
The league was a walk in the park, but the Libertadores was a bridge(stone, whoosh) too far.
Offers from Colombia couldn’t keep the save alive, but I’m glad to have spent the best part of three years managing in Bolivia.
In terms of ‘players of the save,’ I have to mention the iconic strikeforce that led the line, Rolando (Blackburn) and Ronaldo (Sánchez). Although Sánchez didn’t truly live up to his early promise, the early impact of this strikeforce was pivotal.
If this save has taught me anything, it’s that the divide between the smaller leagues in South America (like the Boliviano) and the big boys in Argentina and Brazil is a massive chasm, even more so than I already thought, and more so than in Europe.
I would recommend South America to any FMer, but if you pick a small nation, be prepared for a long journey of domestic joy but continental pain.
I reckon if I had stuck with The Strongest I could’ve built a side in time that could’ve won the Libertadores; but given that the league reputation doesn’t rise dynamically in a custom-added league, it would only serve to increase the domestic divide between my side and our competition, namely Bolívar and Jorge Wilstermann.
Given that I was 62 league games into this save and hadn’t lost a single match, this told me that the domestic walkover couldn’t hold my attention forever.
The story of Teixidó may continue, but where? FM21 of course.
Thanks for reading.