Guillermo Amor was a gifted footballer. Blessed with natural ability, the La Masia academy graduate progressed from the famous Barcelona youth system and became a regular for the Catalan giants, going on to make over 400 appearances for Blaugrana.
The Spaniard was a skilful midfield player, capable of playing in a variety of positions. Even in his early days Amor was a threat, with his forward runs and calmness under pressure proving too much for opponents to handle.
As a teenager Amor was always willing to learn, keen to understand how to play the Barcelona way. In his 10 years at the Camp Nou, the midfielder played 421 times and raked in a whole host of awards. Five La Liga titles, three Copa Del Reys, two European Cup Winners’ Cups and another couple of UEFA Super Cups.
Amor was sensational for Barca and spent the majority of his career there. Only nine players have played more games for the Catalan giants than the versatile midfielder has, a phenomenal record that truly stamps his impact on the game.
He was never quite able to rekindle that type of form anywhere else, except from his stint at Villarreal, where the Spanish international began to show flashes of his former self.
Add on the 37 caps for Spain which include Euro 1996 and World Cup 1998 appearances, it’s hard to question the success Amor had during his career. There is one thing though that can be called into question.
How did he manage to end up at Livingston in 2003?
Amor was winding his career down
The Spaniard’s Villarreal contract was coming to an end in 2002. He turned 35 during the next season and the midfielder was left without a club for the rest of 2002 once his Yellow Submarine contract expired in May of that year.
Then came an offer out of nowhere. A small club in West Lothian called Livingston were interested in him. The Lions had just finished third in the previous season. That came in their maiden top flight experience, coming seven years after changing name from Meadowbank Thistle to what it is today.
The Lions couldn’t match the highs of the previous year, and by the time January 2003 rolled around, they were third bottom with 23 points from 24 games. Amor’s arrival was seen as the boost everyone needed to kick a survival bid into top gear.
Amor had been under the management of Louis Van Gaal and Johan Cruyff. He played alongside Pep Guardiola and many other star studded names. Now the Spaniard was set to help the Lions fight it out for survival in Scotland’s Premiership.
It didn’t work out as everyone hoped
The signing was an ambitious move from the West Lothian club and one they thought would work. It looked that way in Amor’s first game against Partick Thistle. He was a half time substitute and looked a cut above the rest. Even at 35, the midfielder was dictating the play in attacking midfield with ease.
Four days later he would make his first start against Kilmarnock, operating a defensive role this time. In front of the TV cameras, Amor was completely overrun by Killie and was hooked at half-time. One further substitute appearance at Parkhead was to follow and that was the last time Amor appeared for the West Lothian outfit.
He made all of his Livingston appearances in 12 days and the club would have hoped to have seen more of Amor. It was clear that the physical nature of the Scottish game was too much for him at the age of 35.
The Spaniard is now back at Barca, where he is responsible for the youth system. He is also the director of institutional and sporting relations for the first team.
Amor’s stint with a small team from Scotland was brief. The Lions will always have a special place in Amor’s heart though and he’ll have a place in Livingston’s.