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Alguacil unable to contain passion as Real Sociedad quench trophy thirst | Sid Lowe

The manager made headlines for switching to ‘fan mode’ after winning the Copa del Rey having endured all the lean times

“If you’ll allow me,” Imanol Alguacil said, as if there was anything they wouldn’t allow him any more. He was one of them after all, the communion about to be made very loud and very clear. He had also just done what no one had done for 34 years and only two men had ever done before; what no man had ever done, in fact. It was after midnight on Saturday and Alguacil had just led Real Sociedad to their first major trophy since 1987, back before even he was at the club, and the fourth in their history, securing victory in the cup final against rivals Athletic Club, possibly the biggest moment in Basque football history. Besides, allow it? They were going to love it.

He took off his jacket and pulled on a Real shirt that they had prepared for him. “This,” he said, “is for the whole of Guipúzcoa,” the smallest of the 50 mainland provinces in Spain. “This is for everyone who feels la Real,” he continued. He was handed a scarf, which he held above his head, leaned into the microphone, said “Guipúzcoa, with me, eh,” and then began. “Erreala alé,” he sang, absolutely belting out the words. “Let’s go Real, to victory! We’ll always be with you!”

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