Seba in 2009
|Full name||Jesús Seba Hernández|
|Date of birth||11 April 1974|
|Place of birth||Zaragoza, Spain|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)|
|1994–1995||→ Villarreal (loan)||21||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Mostly associated to Real Zaragoza, he is also known as one of the 'Three Amigos', the collective name given to the first three Spanish footballers to play in the English Football League as he had signed with Wigan Athletic.
Seba was born in Zaragoza, Aragon. He made his professional – and La Liga – debut at the age of 18 for local Real Zaragoza, in a 1–1 draw against Real Sociedad. He would garner praise for his early performances, ultimately leading to a call-up for the Spain under-21 team – notably scoring twice against Boldklubben Frem for the 1992–93 UEFA Cup (eventually 6–1 aggregate win).
However, in March 1993, Seba suffered a serious ankle tear when attempting a turn in a Copa del Rey match. The injury would stunt his development and later prove a turning point in his career, as he would figure sparingly in top flight football during the following seasons.
Seba came to Wigan as one of the 'Three Amigos', alongside Roberto Martínez – also his teammate at Zaragoza – and Isidro Díaz, drafted in by new Chairman Dave Whelan in the summer of 1995. The signings were a real coup for an English Third Division club, especially considering Football League teams rarely searched for talent abroad in the mid-90s, and that Seba was also an under-21 international. 'Jesus is a Wiganer' was an early joke at the club, and Spanish flags adorned Springfield Park on matchdays, as Spanish fever gripped the town's football supporters.
Seba scored for his new club with his first touch in a pre-season friendly, and played his first official game in the opening match of the league campaign against Gillingham, before grabbing his first goal in his first match at home (also league), a 2–1 defeat of Scunthorpe United.
Following a series of good results, aided by a string of impressive performances from Seba, Wigan were made early favourites for the Third Division championship. Mid-season, however, the player found himself on the fringes of the first team, and with the club's league position only 'satisfactory', manager Graham Barrow was sacked following a 2–6 loss at Mansfield Town. Caretaker manager Frank Lord reinstated Seba to the first team and oversaw a 4–0 win over Exeter City, in which the player scored two goals.
Seba was immediately dropped by new manager John Deehan, however, and would later see his appearances limited to mainly substitute roles, as he struggled to find form in the latter half of the season. He made just two appearances, both from the bench, in the first couple of months of the 1996–97 season, and played his final game for Wigan on 7 September 1996, 30 minutes against Scunthorpe.
Seba then had trials at Burnley and Bristol Rovers, before being allowed to leave the club by Deehan in October 1996, having started 11 games and appearing as a substitute on sixteen further occasions for Wigan. Of the three Spaniards, he found it most difficult to settle, and his struggle to grasp the English language was another contributory factor in his departure.
Return to Spain / Portugal
In the 1996 summer, Seba returned to his country and Zaragoza, but spent almost two years appearing for the reserve team, only playing once for the main squad, during the 1–3 home loss to SD Compostela in the final day of the 1996–97 season. He then had a four-year spell in Portugal, playing for G.D. Chaves and C.F. Os Belenenses, where a heart condition whilst with the latter put his career on hold.
He eventually recovered, but spent his later years in Segunda División B (Orihuela CF, CF Palencia) or lower – during his four-year stint at amateur Andorra CF, he served as club captain and was a highly popular figure.
After considering retirement at the end of the 2008–09 season, Seba decided to return to CD Oliver, the club that gave him his professional break. Upon joining, he expressed his desire to finish his career at the club at which he began more than twenty years earlier.
The latter, a 1–0 victory, was Aragon's first fixture against a FIFA-accredited international team.
- Hayes, Dean, ed. (2004). The Who's Who of Wigan Athletic. Breedon Books. p. 122. ISBN 0-356-17911-7.
- "Un jugador de otra galaxia" [A player from another galaxy] (in Spanish). El Periódico de Aragón. 20 November 2005. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
- Jesús Seba Hernández; at Renaldinhos y Pavones (in Spanish)
- Jesús Seba; at RealZaragozaPedia (in Spanish)
- Wigan finally land boss Martinez; BBC Sport, 15 June 2009
- Slot, Owen (6 August 1995). "Los Tres Amigos de Wigan". The Independent.
- "The Three Amigos". Ultimate Wigan Athletic website. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
- "Josip Skoko: Long road to the top". The Independent. 30 December 2006.
- A history of football in Wigan; at Wigan Athletic
- Wigan Athletic 1995–96 schedule; at Fanbase
- Lahoz, R. (29 July 2009). "Jesús Seba: veinte años no es nada" [Jesús Seba: Twenty years is nothing] (in Spanish). Aragon Herald. Archived from the original on 17 October 2009.