Real Oviedo are facing financial ruin. The Spanish third-division club need to raise $2.5 million to avoid liquidation and they're calling on the world's football community to save them.
How can you help? By buying shares, at around $13 each, and becoming a part owner of 86 years of Spanish football history and being quite literally invested in the feel-good story of the season.
Buy four shares and you'll even be eligible to attend Oviedo's annual general meeting. It's all part of a "capital increase" initiative approved in July, which allows a business to issue additional shares in an attempt to raise funds.
If it works, Oviedo will be saved. If it doesn't, they may very well be gone forever.
Why should you care? Let's start with the fact Oviedo are responsible for developing the talents of Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla and Michu.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Swansea fans will be forever grateful. The rest of us can at least appreciate the mercurial talents of all three. But are we thankful enough to invest in an appeal to save Oviedo from going out of business?
Judging by the response on Twitter, you'd have to say yes.
Cazorla, Mata, Michu... Three very good reasons to help save Real Oviedo. #sosrealoviedo Tmrw info on how to help. Gracias!
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) November 1, 2012
The hashtag #SOSRealOviedo has gone viral. And with shares going on sale to the general public on Saturday, you get the sense we could be about to witness the true power of social media for good.
Moreover, with Oviedo's profile soaring, there may even be the chance a big-hitting investor could step in and transform an ailing club into one capable of returning to the heady heights of La Liga—where they last appeared in the 2000-01 season.
Oviedo beat Barcelona 1-0 at Camp Nou and held eventual champions Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw at home that season. They also beat Athletic Bilbao 5-0 on their way to relegation.
Since then, it's been the hard road for Oviedo, who were banished to the fourth tier of Spanish football in 2003 as a result of financial implosion. Players were going unpaid, and the threat of going out of business loomed large.
But still the crowds flocked to the Carlos Tartiere stadium, which hosted a World Cup match in 1982. Oviedo's official website tells of nearly 30,000 turning up to watch their promotion-clincher in 2006, which saw the club return to Segunda B—Spain's third division.
Oviedo dropped back down two seasons later. We're told a story of desperate internal strife and chaos, but once again the carbayones regrouped and won a dramatic promotion in the 2008-09 season, beating Mallorca B in a two-legged playoff that was decided on penalties. In sudden death.
They were back in Segunda B, and it's there the club have stayed for the four seasons since.
— Oviedismo (@oviedismo) November 2, 2012
But Oviedo's relative stability, in football terms at least, belies the worsening financial problems facing the club. Without a rapid injection of cash, it appears they may slip out of existence altogether.
Unless, of course, we can save them.
And with that, it's over to the football community at large to see just how greatly we value Real Oviedo and how much it means to people to salvage a part of Spanish football history.
To conclude, here's an interesting fact courtesy of @RmadridInfo. Only last week Cristiano Ronaldo became just the second player to score more than 10 goals in the first nine La Liga matches for three successive season.
The first was Oviedo legend Isidro Langara.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!