FULANO JUEGA CON UN BALDE EN LA CABEZA

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La frase que inspiró el título de ésta nota, perteneció a José Gabriel González Peña (1920-1980), por todos conocido como Pepe Peña, un excelente y mordaz periodista deportivo que brilló en los años 50 y 60, del pasado siglo XX. Fue un cercano colaborador del mítico Dante Panzeri en la revista El Gráfico, cuando éste fue director de la misma. Así mismo hacía un programa radial en Radio Belgrano y luego por televisión que fue emblemático en la época, se llamó “Fútbol al centímetro” con la participación del mencionado Panzeri.

Peña fue una persona extrovertida, de gran sentido del humor y sus opiniones siempre buscaban el impacto en sus seguidores, que se contaban por cientos de miles. Se inició a los 35 años en el periodismo deportivo. Previo a esta decisión, fue un hombre de negocios, especializado en las finanzas. Pero su pasión siempre fue el fútbol. Era hincha de Estudiantes de La Plata, pero como su ídolo era Herminio Masantonio, también simpatizaba por Huracán de Parque Patricios. Fue muy amigo del gran Adolfo Pedernera, a quien luego sumó a su programa radial. Amante del buen fútbol, no dudaba en denostar a los equipos o jugadores que no practicaban, a su entender, un bello juego. Algunos de sus dichos fueron célebres, como el que le dedicó a José Sanfilippo, cuando dijo de éste que “jugaba dentro de una cabina de guardabarrera y con una caña de pescar”.
Sus opiniones siempre fueron ásperas, polémicas y sobre todo sinceras, aunque sin ninguna clase de autocrítica. Todo en Pepe era singular. Una vez consultado por la revista Siete Días, sobre el porqué de la negativa de los futbolistas para aceptar la derrota, esto dijo: «Hacen todo ese aspaviento porque después del partido los dirigentes le van a decir, cómo te perdiste ese gol en el primer tiempo. Y el jugador contestará que lo habían lesionado, que todos vieron cuando se caía transido de dolor. Tiene su excusa lista. Se ha salvado. Qué es eso lo que los futbolistas profesionales buscan salvarse. Con ese espíritu, evidentemente, no se le gana a nadie. Pero ellos no tienen la culpa: vienen de un origen social terriblemente bajo, y la fama y la fortuna los atropellan a los 20 años. Quedan deformados.»

De periodista a director técnico

Debido a su cercanía con Huracán, y como el Globo había renovado por completo su equipo, incluso había abonado 8 millones de pesos a River Plate, por el pase del fenomenal Norberto Beto Menéndez; don Luis Seijo, Presidente del club le propuso a González Peña que se hiciese cargo de la dirección técnica del primer equipo. Corría el año 1961, Pepe ya era una estrella en El Gráfico, pero así y todo decidió aceptar la propuesta de Seijo y allí mismo renunció a la revista.
Debutó en la fecha inicial del campeonato ante el rival de toda la vida, San Lorenzo, con una derrota 5–2 en el Gasómetro de Av. La Plata. Y pudo ser peor, ya que a los 10 minutos del segundo tiempo perdía 5-0. De todas maneras los dos goles no sirvieron para evitar el desánimo. Varios años después José Sanfilippo recordaba con humor la frase de Peña: “En una oportunidad, a Pepe Peña le preguntaron cómo me pensaba marcar. ¿Qué cómo lo voy a parar a Sanfilippo? Y… no sé. Si ése siempre está con una caña de pescar, dijo, je, je, je”. La risa del Nene contagia. Y la explica: «Pobre Pepe, tenía razón. Debutó, se comió un 5 a 2 en el Viejo Gasómetro y lo echaron. ¿Quién hizo dos goles? Papá».
Huracán no jugaba como Peña predicaba desde las páginas de El Gráfico. Apenas dirigió 2 partidos más: empató en 2 goles con Vélez y perdió con Atlanta por 4–2. La aventura solo duro un mes y medio. La única herencia de ese breve lapso como entrenador fueron sus frases y algunas de sus extravagancias, como poner sillas en el campo de juego y sus jugadores debían gambetearlas. Tras esta penosa experiencia Peña regresó a la radio, ya sin Panzeri (se habían distanciado por las opiniones de éste sobre el ex DT de Huracán), y también hizo televisión, apareciendo en los primeros programas de Polémica en el Fútbol. Y por un breve lapso fue comentarista de José María Muñoz en Radio Rivadavia. Esto prácticamente fue lo último que hizo en periodismo deportivo, ya que luego fue jefe de Relaciones Públicas de Adidas. Locuaz, sincero, controvertido; halago sin medida para lo que le gustaba y un crítico acérrimo de aquellos a los que él consideraba ineptos en el fútbol, pero José Gabriel González Peña logró lo que pocos: no resultarle indiferente a nadie.
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About Author

56 años, escritor. El fútbol y el rugby, mis pasiones. San Lorenzo de Almagro un sentimiento. Escribir sobre fútbol y sus protagonistas, un oficio que intento aprender día a día.

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