Fly, the first official ball in the history of the Spanish League
In FUTBOLRETRO.ES we usually dedicate articles and stories to footballers, coaches or even referees. Today, but nevertheless, We will dedicate some lines to first official ball of the Spanish League.
At the end of the decade of the 80 the Professional Football League he was still in diapers. That body made up of the First and Second Division teams had hardly any remarkable power and the resources it had were certainly scarce.. Although it is hard to believe today, he was prevented from profiting from television broadcasting of the competition and had no established fees for using sports equipment of any specific brand.
A visionary businessman envisioned in that precarious environment an opportunity to conduct a round business (never better said) and made the LFP a million dollar offer to use a specific ball, something unusual in a time when each club played with the ball that they wanted individually. Saturnino Merino, illicit furrier, offered 60 millions (the 40% of the LFP budget) to turn your product into the first official ball in the history of the League.
Fly it was not just another ball, that furrier had created the "Most spherical ball in the world" thanks to a patented manufacture of 62 pieces -12 pentagons, 30 squares and 20 triangles-, double the conventional balls of Adidas (the great dominator of the market) and something that gave it a really striking appearance. An authentic technical innovation that was also accompanied by a curious national pride as it was sewn by the prisoners of the Valencia jails, not in china. All were smiles and congratulations in the official presentation of that "Ball excellently finished and adapted to the technical requirements of the king sport".
"Some players have indicated that they miss this new ball, which has created problems for them to adapt. Fernando, Valencia player, He claimed to have missed the penalty against Barcelona, last Saturday, because of the ball. Leo Beenhakker, Real Madrid coach, accused the Professional League of accepting for a handful of millions of pesetas a ball of a certain brand without first checking its quality. ” The country. 23/09/1988
But nevertheless, his own virtues betrayed the ball. Like all specialized furrier, Saturnino Merino I made those balls with real leather, non synthetic, a porous material that favored the absorption of liquid. further, the large number of pieces helped the sphericity, but it greatly increased the seams through which the water seeped.
The ball was soon rejected by footballers who saw it as a real threat when it flew over their heads on a rainy day. On the other hand, if the day was sunny, Fly it lived up to its name and amazed the public with unpredictable flights. The clubs began to avoid him to the point that the LFP had to threaten sanctions, while holding on to Mery sport to fix deficiencies on the go, something that family business could not cope with.
Saturnino Merino he defended himself by pointing out that after the criticism there was a campaign orchestrated by different commercial firms with the intention of discrediting him and removing him from the market. The truth is that in the final stretch of the League the company collapsed and stopped supplying the balls., shortly after Mery sport broke. Merino's dream exploded like one of his beloved balls.