Catalan football has suffered an irreparable loss this week. Agustín Mellado passed away at the age of 75 after a life dedicated body and soul to football. Due to their will and wisdom, the Ferran Martorell Foundation has seen players who have made a career in professional football such as Albert Luque, Unai Vergara, Pedro Nieto, Víctor Ruiz or Damià Abella, among many other children who for 15 years (1990-2005) were able to challenge Barcelona and Espanyol and belong to the third grassroots football club in Catalonia.
“He was a genius. He saw life differently. He was intelligent, brilliant, had temperance and detected the talent in all people “, starts Robert Cuesta, who was a coach in that Ferran. If Barcelona had Oriol Tort (1929-1999), Espanyol grew up with Josep Manel Casanova (1951-2017), Ferran Martorell had Mellado as the great architect. “He did something historic: he created a club and kept it for many years in the elite as an alternative to the two greats in Catalonia.”
“He was a genius. He saw life differently. He was intelligent, brilliant, had temperance and detected the talent in all people “
The importance of Mellado and the fairy tale of Ferran Martorell is explained through three people, both unknown and popular, who fulfilled their dreams through his figure. The “first icon” of the club was a young man from Argentona named Pedro Nieto, who came to the club at the age of 14 after doing a test at Espanyol that was left in the air, and a young Joan Collet, later president of Espanyol, took him to the Ferran Martorell. Pedro landed with his brother Joan.
“He welcomed us like a father. He helped us financially to pay for transportation three days a week from Argentona. He taught us values. He even paid us for our studies, gave us a job at the club running the administration and in his advertising company, ”recalls Nieto, who also owes him everything as a player. “We were always champions. We go up all the categories, from youth from First to Division of Honor. Agustín projected me. Wine Chus Pereda and he called me up for the U-17 and U-18. I was about to go to Real Madrid, then we had a pre-contract with him Barça, but finally we went to the Spanish”, He valued.
All that led Nieto to play in First, Second A and B during several seasons. A promotion not only experienced by players, but also by coaches, such as Lluís Planagumà, now at Imabari in Japan. “He was the person who encouraged me to become a coach. In the 92-93 campaign, my brother signed as a goalkeeper for Ferran. I was 13 years old and passionate about soccer. At 15, Mellado offered me to take the little ones from the School. I did not like it. He told me, ‘You are very competitive, calm down; when I can, I'll give you a team. ' And in November he was already training the youngest of soccer-11. That's how I started ”.
The Barcelona coach began his time at Espanyol in 1999, but not before having soaked up Mellado's ideas: “It was an advanced club. For example, the field was already divided into several parts and the teams shared it; the work methodology was clear: talent, intensity, rhythm and players were already being recruited. And the teams were very competitive. It was done something other than that of that time ”.
There are other more anonymous stories. One of the many players who did not reach professionalism it was Gerard de Palol, goalkeeper, who played in the Catalan team and lived great experiences in the team that played in the field of Rayo Amarillo in Esplugues. “I came from a more modest club, where they barely kicked me at goal. When I arrived I already had a goalkeeping coach and everything was very competitive. It was different”, recalls.
“Nick was the boss. Not a game was lost. He did not care to go to Tarragona on a Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or to Lleida on a Sunday “
Gerard de Palol
“Nick was the boss. Not a game was lost. He did not care to go to Tarragona on a Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or to Lleida on a Sunday. He was always there with his players. When other teams wanted to sign me, he wouldn't let me go. The club was a family. He helped me in everything, ”says De Palol, who even had him as a coach. “The cadet year we were going very badly and the coach was fired. Nicky put on and we were saved. He let the players do it, he hardly spoke, we were comfortable. We hallucinated”, He concludes.
Mellado left behind multiple stories of Catalan and Spanish youth football, he was even manager of the perico club in 1989-90. As he recalled one day with Ferran Martorell, and as an epitaph: “The best thing is when we both sit down to watch, for example, a Sevilla-Barça and we see that three or four players started with us. That is the most gratifying and fills us with pride ”.