Forget the straw that broke the camel’s back. For Omar De Felippe, the now-former coach of Argentine Superliga side Velez Sarsfield, it was the saliva that ended his career with this team.
The Monday night incident in which a fan spat at De Felippe after Velez Sarsfield lost, 2-0, to Union de Santa Fe resulted in the team slipping to 18th place out of 28 teams in the Superliga rankings. It was the team’s third loss in a row and 11th this season, but De Felippe only cited the team’s failing record as a secondary reason for why he decided to quit following Monday’s loss.
“I’m leaving because of what happened on the pitch. A fan spat at me,” he in a postmatch news conference (via ESPN FC) Monday night. “I can’t stand that. I can’t put up with a stupid person spitting at me. Better to leave now.”
The 55-year-old former pro player who joined the team last season added, “it’s a pity” he couldn’t help the team to more success, and insinuated he had little faith that he could execute a turnaround at this point.
“[The team’s] results dictate and I need to leave in order to defuse the situation,” he said.
Velez, who took over on Sept. 30, 2016, managed only to lead Velez to 19th place last season. Despite fans blaming him for the downward spiral (the team finished in sixth in the 2015-16 season), Velez President Raul Gamez tried to take the blame on Monday, noting he’d try to get De Felippe to reconsider.
“I’m responsible,” he told Argentina’s TyC Sports, referring to the upcoming team elections on Saturday. “I’m going to fight for [De Felippe] to stay.”
That De Felippe might change his mind appears unlikely, however. In his comments Monday night, he noted, “There’s no turning back.”
“This is a fine institution,” he continued (via ESPN FC). “I wish all the best to this club and I thank the players, who are improving. I also thank the club and its executives. Thank you to those that supported us and to those who didn’t, they have to understand that there is a thorny road ahead and in this way they don’t help the players.”