José Ignacio Landaluce Calleja (Logroño; 02-03-1959), mayor of Algeciras and senator for the province of Cádiz, speaks with AS in the previous to the final of the playoffs that faces the Algerian team against Real Sociedad B, being the only Andalusian team that is bidding for promotion to LaLiga Smartbank. Landaluce affirms that the victory of Algeciras offers a loudspeaker to Campo de Gibraltar to make its demands. The mayor knows that a lot is at stake in that game and for this reason he has tried to make the game even open so that all Algerian fans who cannot travel can follow him from home. The arrival of Salva Ballesta is key for him.
Algeciras, one step away from returning to Segunda 17 years later. How are they living it in Algeciras?
We are living it with great enthusiasm and enthusiasm. It produces a euphoria that any society needs, but especially us, who need it more than ever. We have lived an environment in Campo de Gibraltar with immigration problems and in La Línea with the insecurity of the streets, even going out in demonstrations. Winning the Algeciras is winning the Campo de Gibraltar. We need that positive projection of what the beautiful sport contributes.
As he says, the promotion to Segunda del Algeciras would be good for the entire Campo de Gibraltar and the province of Cádiz. See a speaker?
It acts as a loudspeaker and makes a projection of our land, which is wonderful. We always go out nationally with negative images when we have a lot of good things to sell. It is true that we have problems to solve, but it is a magnificent land. We have the first efficiency port in all of Europe, said by the World Bank; also the second industrial pole of all Spain; the best residential area that is Sotogrande and powerful brands of wind and sun such as Tarifa. That is why we need the promotion of Algeciras, because the triumph of Algeciras is more than the triumph of the city's soccer team, it is the triumph of effort, sports, team work and they are positive headlines in many national media . It is the Andalusian team that is going to go up.
Are nerves palpable in the city?
A lot of! Yesterday I was in a nursery and all the children were wearing Algeciras shirts and singing; it is a spectacular thing. In addition, everyone wants to improve after these hard months of the pandemic and one of the ways we see here to overcome this crisis may come from the triumph of Algeciras.
And the mayor, is he nervous?
Yes Yes. I get awful! Football makes me hysterical and I end up exhausted as if I were running a marathon. What anxiety it produces!
Will you travel to Extremadura or will you follow it from home?
For health I should not. I am preparing the buses and asking that the media contribute everything they can so that we have information. But being there is a personal matter. Last Sunday I ended up in the ER. As a doctor I know that I should not expose myself so much.
The City Council, as I said, is committed to the team. I understand that there has been an attempt by the City Council for Canal Sur to broadcast the game openly. How have these negotiations been?
Canal Sur has been negotiating, but it has been a complicated negotiation because those with the rights have been very tough.
The fans algecirista always respond.
There is a limit of 2,500 tickets and there are many people who want to follow the game and live the illusion, the anguish and also enjoy the competition. From the very young children, that makes you see that the parents and grandparents have taken the initiatives. They are hanging the flags. We have raised an Algeciras flag at the door of the Town Hall. People are with the scarves, the shirts … you can see the desire.
Have you talked to a member of the team these days?
Yes, I have to make the rice (kidding). I was meeting with the squad and the coach to wish them luck and I already promised that I had to make the rice of triumph. I will seek support, because I am a doctor, but not cooking. I will comply and we will have a magnificent rice.
I understand that the relationship with Salva Ballesta is good.
Is very good. He is a man with drive, enthusiasm, aspirations, healthy desire for success … Apart from being a great professional, he is a man who radiates energy and infects you in his positive spirit.
Has the arrival of Salva been key for the moment Algeciras lives?
Very key. He is a man with a great background, not only professional but also personal, and he puts everything in the same pot. It gives everything. He bets everything for everything, he does not reserve anything, he involves himself in the first person and in a total way.
Finally, what does the ascent of Algeciras contribute to all levels?
It favors the demands that we make in the Campo de Gibraltar, which are infrastructures that allow us to grow in economic activity. The railway that we demand starts and ends in Algeciras, joining the main logistics area, which is Zaragoza, with the main port of Spain, which is Algeciras. That union is the ability to generate economic capacity. The triumph of Algeciras joins these claims.