Luis Amor Rodriguez (Martin Crewes) 1998-2000
First Regular Appearance: 2.11 (#75)
Temporary Departure: 3.26 (#166)
Returned: 3.43 (#183)
Last Regular Appearance: 4.1 (#203)
Guest Appearance (In V/O): 4.8 (#210)
Duration: EP: 75 - 166, 183 - 203, 210 ½ SE: 2.11 – 3.26, 3.43 – 4.1, 4.8
Squad Number/Position: #9 (Striker) (1998-2000) / Manager (1999-2000)
Last Seen: Scoring an end of season blinder, unknowingly wrecking Prash's relegation bid. Leaves for Boca Juniors right after.
If he hadn't been only ten years his junior, you'd be forgiven for thinking Luis Amor Rodriguez was Diego Maradona's secret son. Born in Argentina in 1970, Luis came from a poor background but his natural talent and skill with a ball would be his way out of the impoverished streets he'd grown up on. After impressing in South American sides, Luis' dream of playing in Europe was realised when he was signed by AS Monaco. He was part of a golden period for the club in the early 1990's, winning the Coupe de France and appearing alongside powerhouses such as Youri Djorkaeff, Emmanuel Petit and his good friend Didier Baptiste. This was followed by a move to Real Betis, where Luis was instrumental in securing the club's promotion to the Primera División of La Liga, followed by Lorenzo Serra Ferrer making Rodriguez the centre of his team.
Luis was ready for a new challenge by 1998, and the chance to play in the English Premier League was high on his priorities, though many would have been surprised by his destination considering the wealth of clubs England had eager to sign him. Harchester United were a club which only escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth at the previous season's close, but Luis is persuaded by Jerry Block of the international reputation he could bring to the team as a world class star. Luis' arrival is met with both a media scrum and protests from fans calling the Argentinean’s signing a betrayal to the Falklands war. At his unveiling to the press, Jerry invites Lynda to be part of the photoshoot, following which she helps Luis settle in by going out to dinner, and there is an immediate attraction between the two.
Even with Luis scoring on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday, Ian Coates sees Jerry's signing of Luis as a publicity stunt, and continues to use Sean as his favoured striker. Luis' reaction to being dropped is to storm out before a game away at Arsenal, drink too much and be put to bed by a turned-on pub landlady. While this could have spelled the end of Luis' time at the club, it is his blossoming friendship with Mrs Block that convinces him to stay. With Luis lonely in a new country and Lynda feeling second to the club with Jerry, the two develop serious feelings for each other, but Lynda feels guilty being the one who's married. With Ian being demoted to Director of Football, Frank Patcham takes over the managerial role, and Luis really thrives under him as the club sales through their FA Cup qualification run. Jerry wants Frank to continue as manager permanently, but Frank's heart lies with the youth team, so the job is passed on to Luis as player manager.
It is not long later that Mica Hocknell accuses Luis of attacking her, and the majority of the team, led by Sean, turn against Luis, with Jerry suspending him. Fletch and Lynda know Mica is lying, and when he is finally cleared, Luis is so disgruntled he announces he is leaving the club. Lynda tells Luis she will go with him to Argentina, but they are both unaware Jerry has discovered their affair. Luis has no idea he is a marked man as he takes to the Wembley pitch for the FA Cup Final against Manchester United. Scoring both goals, Luis is the hero of the team, and as they celebrate their victory on the pitch, Jerry inadvertently places Lynda right in the path of danger. Two shots are fired at Luis, the first grazing Lynda's head while John Black dives in front to stop her being killed outright, being hit himself in the process.
Lynda suffers memory loss because of the injury, and in an already vulnerable state, is perfect for Jerry to manipulate into thinking Luis doesn't love her and had been carrying on with other women back home while she recovered. Thinking he has lost Lynda, Luis negotiates a move to Real Madrid, at the precise time he misses a place on Biloo Kapur's private jet which crashes while travelling home from the Netherlands. It is the discovery that Luis is in fact alive which brings back Lynda's feelings for him. Deciding to carry on as manager while the club recovers, Luis calls on his old Monaco coach Ray Wyatt to join as his assistant manager. This is followed by the proud signing of another of his Monaco connections, old team mate Didier Baptiste, done with the financial help of chief executive Marilyn Harwood. Still thinking Lynda has chosen to stay with Jerry, Luis spends more time with Marilyn, although he isn't in love with her.
When Jerry appoints Gordon Gallagher as Director of Football, his interference results in Luis suffering cartilage damage during the return leg of the UEFA Cup against West Ham. Luis is forced to go to San Diego for the best operation, and recover there for three months. During this time, Lynda works out the truth about Jerry's hitman actions, and escapes the house where she has been held prisoner to meet Luis on his return. The two look for a way of proving Jerry's guilt, but it appears fruitless. That is until Karl Fletcher passes on a video he made with Sean on the day of the FA Cup Final, which captures Jerry making a payment to an unknown man. When showing Jerry this, Lynda tells him she will give it to the police (who already suspect he was involved) unless he signs everything over to her and leaves.
Luis and Lynda are free to be together, and now with the new responsibility of owning the club, Lynda now has second thoughts about going to Argentina with Luis. Now at the beginning of his thirties, Luis has always known he wanted to end his playing career as a hero in his home country, and has signed a pre-contractual agreement with Boca Juniors. Both he and Lynda had not anticipated she would want to stay beyond the end of the season, and when Harchester stay in the Premier League, thanks to a selfless last-second goal from Luis, they realise they both want different things in life. Luis and Lynda part with heavy hearts.
Lynda's first few months without Luis are lonely, and with Prashant Dattani waiting for her to fail running the club, Lynda decides to join Luis. It is here she learns that Luis has gotten back together with his childhood sweetheart, and after a final goodbye and good luck over the phone, Lynda accepts she has lost him even though he would always love her. In 2003 Lynda names her son, fathered by Fletch, after Luis.
Due to the character's popularity, two attempts were made by Jane Hewland and the producers to bring Luis back into the series following Martin Crewes' departure. The first, in 2002 involved Luis returning for the last episode of Season 5 "Forsaking All Others" in order to facilitate Alison King's first departure from the show. The story was Luis and Lynda were set to run away together, which Crewes stated to harchesterunitedfc.com's OneDream "very nearly happened" but didn't go ahead due to events in his personal life at the time. The second attempt came in Season 10 in 2006, where Crewes was working in America at the time and was unavailable to return.