Chivas Look for Another Coach... Again

Ramón Morales and Chivas only have 5 points in 8 games

Before the Mexican Clausura started this season, the consensus was that one of the Ramirez coaches, either Paco (Guadalajara) or Jesus (America) would be gone by mid-season. Neither of them have the pedigree to lead such prestigious teams is what the pundits cried. It’ll only be a matter of time before one, or both, will be gone.

Halfway through the season, one Ramirez resigned in disgrace after his Chivas suffered the ignominy of a goleada at the hands of San Luis. The other Ramirez has his team playing its best footie in the past three years. Club America scores plenty of goals, improved immensely on defense, and is back to where its fans think they belong: on top.

Their good form is made all the sweeter as their arch-rivals are stuck in cellar. And their mercurial owner, Jorge Vergara, only has himself to blame.

The self-made mogul took over Chivas in 2002. Vergara did not even think of altering the team’s principle of fielding a 100% Mexican National squad, but stability has not been his strong point either. Since the producer of Y tu mama también took over Chivas, Vergara has gone through 10 different coaches. Only one of them, Jose Manuel de la Torre, was able to lead Chivas to a title. But even Chivas’ first title in 10 years wasn’t enough to keep de la Torre’s job. He was fired at the first signs of a slump a year later.

Vergara has made a concerted effort and a sizeable investment in the club’s youth system, for which he should be applauded. Youth systems are an afterthought but for only a few teams in Mexico, and that list now includes Guadalajara. Chivas continues to be one of the younger sides in the MFL and several promising players have emerged: Omar Arellano, Javier Hernandez to name a few. But his motives aren’t necessarily rooted in producing top talent as much as it is in avoiding the need to bring in top players through expensive signings. In other words, he’s a cheapskate. And his avarice is reflected in his coaching choices.

Vergara has shown himself to have a very small budget with coaches, and even a shorter fuse. He was the kingpin not only in the Hugo Sanchez sacking, but the SGE hire as well. His last coach, Paco Ramirez, was SGE’s assistant. You know, the guy who showed himself to be the owner of the biggest asshat haberdashery in Mexico when he slapped Frankie Hejduk in Columbus. Vergara hired that guy. Methinks the hire was as much for Vergara to save face after the SGE fiasco as anything. It was a poor decision, but not a surprising one.

I have often wondered why Mexican footie doesn’t have a team that has that one venerable coach. A guy who can stick around for years and years. A Sir Alex. There are plenty of coaching legends in Mexico, but their coaching resume reads like a schedule for the 12 line in the Mexico City Metro. Right now Tuca Ferretti is the coach emeritus, and he’s been at Pumas only since 2006.

One would think that a team as deeply entrenched in their own tradition would want that kind of stability, but Chivas has had more 25 coaches in the past 20 years. Ironically, the guy who lasted the longest in that time was Ferretti as well.

Word has it that Vergara will look from within to promote a coach (yet again). For now, the two assistants will take over as co-coaches (that always works!!). That may be the limit of the search. Vergara has done well to earn his reputation for impatience, so untested assistants may be the only ones willing to take the helm. A proven coach would be wise to stay away from the Rebaño Sagrado, unless, of course, there is a very generous out clause.