The eighty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod is the last one of 2012, and sees Sam, Dan and Joel analysing Vélez Sarsfield’s 2012 Torneo Inicial title win, which was confirmed on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Unión de Santa Fe whilst nearest challengers Lanús lost 1-0 away to River Plate. The roles of manager Ricardo Gareca and forward Facundo Ferreyra are discussed, as well as some of Vélez’s other crucial players during the campaign. We also talk about Ramón Díaz’s welcome back to River, whether any current Primera managers are future contenders for the national team job, and look back at San Lorenzo’s 2-1 win over Independiente in the weekend’s big relegation clash.
One subject looms large over this week’s (belated) episode of Hand Of Pod, the eighty-seventh since we started. Sam, English Dan and Joel discuss Ramón Díaz’s emotional return to the club he loves and which loves him, River Plate, after Matías Almeyda was fired in the extremely early hours of Wednesday morning/late hours of Tuesday night. What Díaz’s return means for River, whether Almeyda really deserved the sack and more. We also discuss Vélez Sarsfield, who could win the title on Sunday afternoon, and whether their boss Ricardo Gareca is really the Argentine Sir Alex Ferguson, as some in the Argentine media would have us believe. There’s an appreciation of Tigre – who hours after recording reached the Copa Sudamericana final, the first continental final in their history – and listeners’ questions ranging from Sam’s ideal River starting XI to who Julio César Falcioni’s replacement as Boca Juniors manager might be. Enjoy.