With the return of Carlos Bianchi, the club's top scorer and then an unknown coach for Argentine football, Vélez's story changed forever. Also that of the Viceroy. On Tuesday, June 8, 1993, this Thursday marks 30 years, the fortineros lived an intense day, which began in the afternoon at the Estudiantes field, continued at night at the Hotel Conquistador, in downtown Buenos Aires, and continued at the José Amalfitani stadium well into the morning.
Vélez returned to be champion after 25 years and would build from that moment a prominence in local and international football of two decades in which he conquered 15 titles, the last in January 2014, when he won the Supercopa Argentina.
Bianchi, forever become the Viceroy of Liniers, also built his own career, after the six Olympic laps with El Fortín, he achieved another nine in two stages with Boca, becoming the most winning coach with an Argentine club in history.
Toast to the champion: Carlos Bianchi, Carlos Ischia, Julio Santella, Roberto Trotta, Raúl Gámez, the leaders Héctor Gaudio and Miguel Goenaga and the journalists of Sólo Fútbol.
Great stories have small details, which magnify it over time. That first title of Vélez, that first title of Bianchi, they had. Time was witnessing. That June 8 was very cold, in the city of Buenos Aires and in the city of La Plata much more, but the hearts of Velezanos burned. It was the penultimate date of the Apertura tournament, Vélez visited Estudiantes, in the old wooden court, and with a triumph was crowned champion. But it was 1-1, with goals from José Luis Chilavert from a penalty and the Rulo Claudio Paris, with one minute left, postponed the celebration.
Carlos Bianchi signing autographs after the first title with Vélez.
With the draw, Vélez reached 26 points and Independiente, which had 22, received Belgrano de Córdoba at night. If the Red won, everything was defined between them in the last date in Liniers. But it was 0-0 and exactly at 11.30 at night the contained euphoria of the players, the coaching staff and the leaders who awaited the result in the hotel where they concentrated was unleashed.
Most of the new champions were in the lobby of the hotel, the Galician Esteban González was the only one who followed the alternatives of the game on television and officiated as commentator to the rest of the group, while Bianchi and his coaching staff, Carlos Ischia, the teacher Julio Santella, stayed in the dining room and then joined the celebrations.
The Galician Esteban González listens on the radio to the match between Independiente and Belgrano. Mariano Armentano, Christian Bassedas, Omar Asad and José Oscar Flores await news.
In full celebration and before leaving for the José Amalfitani stadium to celebrate with the fans, Bianchi and Ischia reminded all the members of the squad that the next day they would have the day off, that on Thursday they would train in the morning and then they would all go to lunch at La Estancia, invited by the magazine Sólo Fútbol.
Men of their word, no one was missing. The only exception was Paraguayan Chilavert, who traveled to his country because his father was in poor health. That day, Bianchi was one of those who signed the most autographs, inside the restaurant and in the middle of Lavalle Street.
"Dale campeón, dale campeón", the Vélez players celebrate at the lunch organized by the magazine Sólo Fútbol.
In that same place, the first days of January, Carlos Bianchi arrived punctually to the interview agreed with the magazine Sólo Fútbol, he even waited a few minutes for his interviewer. Lavalle Street, between Carlos Pellegrini and Suipacha, was always an anthill of people, but its presence there went almost unnoticed. The harassment and idolatry of the people would come much later.
He had recently returned to the country and on Tuesday, December 29, 1992 he had been officially presented as the club's new coach. That day, with President Ricardo Petracca sitting to his left, the Viceroy anticipated: "The goal can not be other than to be champion with Velez. I was champion at this club exactly 24 years ago and it really makes me very sad that this has not been repeated."
Carlitos Ischia funny: he got in front of the whole squad that posed for the photo.
In his first statements, Bianchi made it clear he was not going to ask for additions beyond the names and positions that had left (Ricardo Gareca and Alejandro Mancuso), who had five good strikers but none were pointers. Almost two months later, Sergio Zárate, right pointer, would join who returned from Europe, where he had played for Nuremberg in Germany and Ancona in Italy. The Mouse, with 24 years, was the great addition of the team.
This Wednesday, June 7, Vélez played with Deportivo Español, currently in the Primera C, fourth category of Argentine football, for the Copa Argentina. The road to that title began just against the same rival, on February 21, at the España stadium, and the Liniers team won 2-0 with two goals from the Turkish Omar Asad.
The match of the fourth date, against Boca in Liniers, was a key first moment. They equalized 1-1, a match that marked the reappearance of Ratón Zárate. Alejandro Giuntini, Xeneize defender, was drawn to do the anti-doping control but arrived late. There was a report to the Disciplinary Tribunal, which finally won the match to Vélez 1-0.
In the seventh round, Vélez lost the undefeated against River, 1-2 in the Amalfitani but still did not resign his status as a pointer. Then began a unbeaten streak that would extend for nine games.
At that point, Zárate, who arrived as a figure, was barely taken into account by Bianchi. Of the 8 games he played, only in three he started. And already in the last four dates he did not even go to the bench of substitutes. "It does not respect the statute of the professional footballer," repeated the Viceroy before the journalistic queries about the player who had arrived as a figure. Making strong decisions without shaking his pulse was one of the characteristics that accompanied the coach for much of his career.
After winning his first title with Vélez, Chilavert became a legend in Liniers. Photo: Carlos Roberto Bairo.
Late in the tournament, the team repeated from memory: Chilavert; Hector Almandoz, Roberto Trotta, Victor Hugo Sotomayor, Raul Cardozo; José Horacio Basualdo, Marcelo Gómez, Christian Bassedas, Walter Pico; Asad and Oscar Flores. Mauricio Pellegrino, Horacio Bidevich, Carlos Compagnucci, Patricio Camps and Esteban González alternated. Only one match played Juan Carlos Docabo, Leonardo Ramos, Fabián Vázquez and Martin Posse. They went to the bank and did not enter: Claudio Husain, Cecilio Galeano and Mariano Armentano.
Of the last four dates, three were for the heart attack. In the 16th, Vélez won 1-0 against Argentinos away in Ferro field with a goal from Asad, three expelled (Bassedas and Gómez in the Fortín; Gancedo in the Bicho), and a goal annulled to Lauría Calvo by referee Francisco Lamolina at the request of the linesman José Méndez, for an alleged advanced position of Carlos Mac Allister, which three decades later is still difficult to understand.
"The merits that Velez accumulated surpass any controversy. He always wanted to win. It had as its goal the arch of Cousillas, "stands out in the chronicle of Clarín.
On the penultimate date, Vélez received Rosario Central. With a win, he became champion two dates earlier. But it lost 2-0 with goals from Omar Palma from a penalty and Gustavo Medina, in a match that had goalkeeper Roberto Bonano as a star figure. That Saturday, June 5, could not be and the people of Vélez had to wait until Tuesday to finally shout champion.
Carlos Bianchi, hero and figure of Vélez, today remains a fan from his box in the Amalfitani. Photo: Marcelo Carroll.
On Thursday, June 10, 1993, in the middle of lunch, Bianchi -always attentive to all the details, absolute leader of the group- reminded his leaders of everything that was coming for the celebrations. On Friday, poster in the stadium for the magazine Sólo Fútbol; on Monday the 14th, dinner at the Quinta de Olivos invited by President Carlos Menem; on Tuesday 15, recording on channel 13 for the program of Jorge Guinzburg, the remembered and recognized fan of Vélez. Keeping his word was another virtue of the driver of that team.
When the Apertura 93 began, Bianchi told his players: "We didn't win anything, we started from scratch, now there are 19 other teams that want to be champions." He fought in all the domestic tournaments he played, except for the Clausura 94, which was dedicated to the Libertadores, the first international title. Then, world champion, and repeated in the 95/96 season (Apertura and Clausura), plus the Interamericana 96.
There were six titles in three and a half years. An unforgettable era that opened the way for new titles for Vélez and also for Bianchi.