Juan Ramón
Juan Ramón
Juan Ramón
● Juan Ramón, 2004 (SNS)

born in Spain

Juan Alberto Ramón Escalas was born on Thursday, 2nd December, 1976, in Palma de Mallorca.

The 5' 10 (12st 2lbs) forward signed for Derek Whyte & Gerry Britton's Thistle on Thursday, 29th July, 2004 (after a trial game), having most recently been with Talavera.

Aged 27, he made his debut appearance on Wednesday, 28th July, 2004, in a 1-1 friendly draw at home to Fulham.

Juan scored his first two goals for Thistle on Saturday, 31st July, 2004, in a 3-0 win at home to Brechin City in the Challenge Cup.

He scored the last of his 13 goals on Saturday, 9th April, 2005, in a 2-1 defeat away to Raith Rovers in the SFL First Division.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 16th April, 2005, in a 4-0 defeat at home to St Johnstone in the SFL First Division, having appeared as a Jag on 37 occasions.

Juan's club-list included Mallorca B, Atlético de Madrid B, Lleida, Elche, Leganés, Talavera, Partick Thistle, Granada, Sangonera, Atlético Baleares and Collerense.

Bio Extra

Juan spent 4 seasons with his home island team, Mallorca, from his late teens playing with the B-team from 1995-96. He made the big city move to Madrid for season 1999-00, playing with Atlético B. Stints at Lleida, Elche, Leganés and Talavera followed, never settling for more than a season anywhere. In a bid to reverse the fortunes of the recently relegated Partick Thistle, the Gerry Britton / Derek Whyte management duo were spreading their nets far and wide in the summer of 2004 and, on 28th July, a Frenchman (Armand Oné) and two Spaniards (Juan Ramón & Raúl López) appeared at Firhill as trialists in a 1-1 draw with Fulham. The impressive Ramón penned a season-long deal the following day and Armand Oné did likewise a week or so later.

Within a couple of days of signing, Juan scored twice on his competitive debut, delighting everyone, as Thistle comfortably defeated Dick Campbell's Brechin by 3 goals to nil in the Challenge Cup at Firhill. Towards the end only a last-gasp block by John Ritchie denied him a glorious debut hat-trick. Little did we all know that Dick Campbell would become his new gaffer before the season was through! Brilliantly, the Spaniard scored in each of his first five competitive games, including a classic team goal in a 3-2 win over Airdrie which earned the accolade of 'goal of the month' on Scotsport. He took English classes with a personal teacher while in Scotland and seemed fully committed to the Thistle cause. Incredibly, by the end of October, Juan had 11 goals to his credit after just 15 games. He had set 20 goals as his own personal target and at that point he looked like a certainty to pull it off. Things weren't going well for Thistle overall though. Five wins in August had given cause for optimism, but there were only 2 wins in the next 18; Britton & Whyte were sacked before Christmas.

Juan played 3 games under caretaker John Lambie, and immediately ended his run of 7 games without a goal as Lambie's rejuvinated Jags looked more competitive. Dick Campbell was appointed manager on the 4th January and Juan almost repeated his new manager bounce trick, hitting the woodwork against Hearts in a 0-0 Firhill draw in the Scottish Cup. Guts, effort and determination were evident as the players tried to impress the new manager. The defence restricted their Premier League opponents to a 40-yard free-kick 5 minutes from time. At this stage, we were much more hopeful. The arrival of Campbell did tighten up the defence, but the goals for had also dried up. Juan scored only once for his new boss, netting a consolation in a 2-1 defeat at Stark's Park in April. The team fell apart the following week in what was the biggest match of the season, at home to relegation rivals St Johnstone. “Partick heroes have become zeroes. Abysmal, atrocious, deplorable” said the Herald. Thistle were thrashed by an ordinary Saints side. Goals 10, 14, 44 and 85 left the Jags “dismantled without a fight”. They were left 8 points from safety with only a maximum of 9 left. The booing told its own story.

Just days later it was announced that Juan would be returning home to Spain to be with his cancer-stricken mother. Said Dick Campbell: “There are matters far more important than football that Juan has to deal with at the moment. It is possible that he may not be back and all at the club express our best wishes to Juan and his family”. Indeed that was that as far as Ramón and Thistle were concerned. He signed for fourth tier Granada a couple of months later and enjoyed an excellent season there, winning the title and thereby qualifying for the promotion play-offs. In front of 18,000, Juan was the hero of the hour in the final second leg against Guadalajara, scoring twice in the 3-0 home win (3-1 aggregate) which secured promotion for the Nazaríes. Halfway through the following season, Juan stepped back to the fourth tier with a spell at Sangonera. He spent his final few seasons back home in Palma, turning out for Atlético Baleares before winding down at Collerense.

Juan kept himself fit after his retirement as a footballer and took up 'Padbol', a fusion sport created in La Plata in 2008, combining elements of football, tennis, volleyball and squash. With his brain, touch and control he was a natural and rose to become the best-known player in the sport. Together with his partner Juanmi Hernández, he became World champion in 2014 and the pair succesfully defended their title in 2016. Juan is also a six-times Spanish champion in the sport, winning in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021, which was good going for a man in his mid-40s! He also coaches the sport. Recently, he has taken up Teqball, a new sport which has been accepted for the European Games 2023 at Kraków. The sport is vying for inclusion at the Olympics.

(WS/AFK)



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