Cruz Azul has become the laughing stock of Liga MX -- now, it must rebuild
MEXICO CITY -- Cruz Azul's situation saddens me. I do not like the jokes and ironic memes that are doing the rounds on social networks about a club whose greatness has been built on the nobility of its cooperative members, on a company that is proudly 100 percent Mexican, on a visionary like Alfredo Alvarez Macias, on heroic players like Miguel Marin, Ignacio Trelles, Eladio Vera, Carlos Jara Saguier, Fernando Bustos, Alberto Quintano, Javier "El Kaliman" Guzman, Oscar "El Conejo" Perez and Carlos Hermosillo and, above all, on a passionate, committed and cherished fan base. The time has come for Cruz Azul to rebuild itself, to be reborn from its own ashes.
Speaking of footballing models: A little over 20 years ago, as the project that we see thriving today in Pachuca was in its nascent stages, Cruz Azul set the standard for Grupo Pachuca president Jesus Martinez to follow. In sporting and administrative terms, Cruz Azul offered Los Tuzos an image and a path to replicate. In another twist of fate, the first championship that confirmed Pachuca's arrival as a footballing institution was secured on a magical night at Estadio Azul during the Invierno 1999 tournament when, against all odds, Alejandro Glaria's goal brought the humble team from Hidalgo the first title in its history. Today, Cruz Azul yearns for the model that Pachuca has put in place on the field.
There are some situations in football that can be deceptive. The arrival of Paco Jemez as Cruz Azul manager seemed positive, but this has not been the case. The numbers do not lie, despite the coach defending himself by claiming that the team is playing well and that his players are leaving everything on the pitch. That is not enough.
Jemez needs to understand: Cruz Azul is a team that needed, and continues to need, urgent results. Taking care of the methods and the style of football is fine, but there is no justification for his inability to return Cruz Azul to its rightful place in the Liga MX table. And then, as always, there are the players, some of whom are overrated. They have not performed on the pitch. They have been overawed by the famous blue shirt.
It seems that the time has come for club president Guillermo "Billy" Alvarez to turn things around, with a complete and emphatic transformation of Cruz Azul's sporting model. If the club no longer wishes to be associated with failure and ridicule, it is time to look for new names, new thoughts, projects, ideas and even a different marketing proposal. Cruz Azul has fallen on hard times, especially given what its name, history, tradition, glory and passion mean to Mexican football.
Cruz Azul's only advantage right now is that Alvarez is an intelligent man. He has an opportunity and a responsibility to rebuild a team and an institution that is a part of the legacy and heritage of Mexican football.
The first thing that he will understand is that the people -- call them what you want: advisers, agents and directors -- who contribute ideas and make decisions on the football side have made mistakes. At the end of the day, this has impacted the club's choice of coach, the players and the sporting plans to follow. Cruz Azul must accept that it has failed and, like any company that fails to obtain the desired results, it must first be self-critical and then demonstrate a fervent desire to rebuild through significant changes in its structure and even in its methods and way of doing things.
David Faitelson is based in Los Angeles and co-hosts "Nacion ESPN," ESPN Deportes' version of "SportsNation." Follow him on Twitter @Faitelson_ESPN.