Posts Tagged ‘Atletico Madrid’

Urrutia emerges, Caparros bows out for Bielsa

President Josu Urrutia and coach Joaquin Caparros. Where is the correlation? A new president emerges and a coach bows out. That is the story and outcome of the presidential election at Athletic Club Bilbao. Former player Josu Urrutia promised during his electioneering campaign to appoint ex Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa as the first team coach for Los Leones if he wins.

Last Thursday, Urrutia was voted by the club socios as the new president of the Basque club a result which means erstwhile coach Joaquin Caparros is back in the labor market. It is a sad one for him as he was one of the four managers who have managed to keep their job in the impatient La Liga terrain for more than three seasons.

The respected 55 years was gracious in his exit as he congratulated the new president and his successor (Bielsa) while wishing The Cathedral club the best in the future. Looking back at what he achieved makes it even harder to accept but the politics of football cannot be ruled out too.

Upon taking over at San Mames, he steered the club who were beginning to be perennial relegation candidates away from the dreaded zone. Athletic club getting relegated is equivalent to the Titanic disaster. I’m sure a lot of us are raising our eye brows – YES! They alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona are the only clubs who have not gone a division below since the 1920s when the league was formed.

Caparros, who worked in Bilbao for four years built a strong side with limited financial resources as the club’s supporters believe in only Basque footballers. Losing the Copa del Rey final in 2009 to Barcelona was one of major achievements. His team finished their last two campaigns eight and six position respectively.


With a new regime in place, Marcelo Bielsa takes charge of the Basque side in a one-year deal that was agreed verbally with Urrutia.
The Rosario native has managed Espanyol in the La Liga so it’s not a strange terrain for him. However, managing the San Mames club will pose a different challenge to him considering the club’s philosophy of sticking to only Basque region players donning their sacred jersey.

El Loco as he’s popularly called won the league while he was coach of Newell’s Old boys and Velez Sarsfield. He led Argentina men team to Olympics glory in 2004. He qualified Argentina and Chile to the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and 2010 respectively.
Bielsa is known for not granting exclusive interviews to the press as he believes every media talk should be done during the press conference.
He once said;

Every section of the media should get the same attention from me, from the capital’s most prominent TV channel to the smallest newspaper in the provinces”.

Let’s see how he manages the hard-to-please media of today’s La Liga. Perhaps, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have a word or two of advice for him.

Chile’s away form during the qualifiers must have impressed Urrutia; they had the second best away record.
Bilbao’s undoing in their race for a serious fourth place challenge in the last two seasons has been their poor form on the road as they have made their San Mames home is a fortress no club likes to visit.

El Loco has his hands full as he commences this new challenge.

Athletic Club Bilbao have started a new chapter in their club’s history. Time will tell whether the Socios voted right or not.