Banquillo de oro
Induction to the Ramón Encinas Coaches' Hall of Fame (Banquillo de Oro Ramón Encinas) is the highest distinction awarded by Sevilla FC to its former coaches. Since it was established in June 2013 under the presidency of José María del Nido, only one coach has been distinguished with such an honour: Manolo Cardo. With this award, Sevilla FC aims to pay tribute to the glorious past of the honorees and to recognise the merits and sporting careers of those who, with their commitment and dedication, brought greatness to the club.
Manuel Cardo Romero (Coria del Río, Sevilla, 16th April 1940) is a living legend of Sevilla FC and was deservedly the first inductee to the Ramón Encinas Coaches' Hall of Fame as a fitting tribute to the services he carried out as first team coach, which he led from persistent mediocrity to sporting strength, participating two years in a row in the UEFA Cup, with a colourful and attractive style of play that delighted the fans. The award that bears the name of the Galician coach who won Sevilla FC's only league title in 45/46 - in addition to the Copa in 1935 - marking a glorious era for the club, could not have gone to anyone other than Manolo Cardo. A man ahead of his time, he marked another emblematic period in charge of the team between December 1981 and June 1986. He provided a platform for the club's fruitful youth academy, gave debuts to players who went on to become internationals and treasures something that not many can say: he enjoyed and suffered at the same time from his passion for Sevilla, with all his footballing honesty and knowledge.
Manolo Cardo coached the team for five seasons, in which he qualified for Europe twice in a row and managed to distinguish and boost the team, based solely on home-grown talent and with hardly any reinforcements, with memorable nights such as the 4-0 win over PAOK Thessaloniki. His calling card - replacing Miguel Muñoz in a Sevilla side in the lower reaches of the Primera Division - was none other than a memorable 4-1 win at La Romareda, with four goals from Pintinho and the stellar and brilliant debut of academy graduate Francisco. The man from Coria also has to his credit the great merit of trusting many home-grown players, among them, the aforementioned Francisco, Rafa Paz, Ramón Vázquez and Manolo Jiménez, all internationals with La Roja.
Historic numbers on the bench
An unforgettable coach for Sevilla fans, he brought innovation and fresh air, giving hope to the youth academy and wiping out Sevilla's mediocrity in one fell swoop. He took the team by surprise at the beginning of the eighties, after the sudden dismissal of Miguel Muñoz. And with that genuine breed of home-grown coach who always looked to the academy, he took the team to Europe, with a style of play with which the fans fully identified. Among Cardo's undeniable merits is that he is the coach who has coached Sevilla FC in more top-flight matches than anyone else (156), followed by Joaquín Caparrós (152) and the renowned Unai Emery (123). The man from Coria, in his 200 games, is second on the list after Caparrós (226), including matches in the Copa de la Liga, Copa del Rey and the aforementioned UEFA Cup, surpassing Emery (187) and Encinas himself (179). There are some who point out that if Cardo had had a squad of greater quality and talent in his hands, he would have won silverware. This is demonstrated by the great performance he got out of his different squads, despite the fact that many of them were home-grown products.
A legacy that remains
This great legacy of the coach is reflected in the memories of former Sevilla players who played under Cardo. Francisco López Alfaro pointed this out about Cardo: "He had the virtue of getting what he wanted the players to do", Pablo Blanco commented that: "He did a magnificent job in a very difficult period". Curro San José emphasised that Cardo was "a home-grown coach" and Ramón Vázquez underlined that Manolo "marked a milestone in the history of Sevilla FC". All of them and many others, who were aware of Cardo's virtues, are the overriding memory of what he meant in the history of Sevilla FC, a first and exciting glimpse of what was to follow.