Everything smiles for Jon Uriarte, the president of Athletic | Soccer | Sports


In the last days of the electoral campaign for the presidency of Athletic, in 2022, Jon Uriarte (Bilbao, 46 ​​years old) was faced with a huge problem. In 12 hours he went from presenting who he had described as the cornerstone of his program, the Mexican Carlos Aviña, as sports director, to dispensing with him, after a series of homophobic comments from his social networks. He had to react almost in desperation and announce that the coach for his project was going to be Ernesto Valverde, with another added problem: Txingurri was also the one chosen by another of the candidates, Ricardo Barcala, and he also competed with the charisma of Marcelo Bielsa, who appeared in the candidacy of the third candidate, Iñaki Arechabaleta.

Despite the obvious errors of his campaign, voters elected Uriarte. The first year of his mandate was somewhat disappointing for the members: the team did not meet the objective of qualifying for Europe, the reserve team was relegated and its best player, Iñigo Martínez, left for Barcelona amidst the reproaches. mutual.

As it was, the atmosphere in Bilbao was pessimistic. The team had only been reinforced with players from the reserve team, in addition to Ruiz de Galarreta, who at 30 years old returned to Bilbao at zero cost, and the alarms went off after the first league match against Real Madrid in San Mamés in which the Athletic offered a poor impression.

It wouldn’t happen again. As if suddenly, all the pieces came together at once, on the grass and in the offices, the team began to fuel. The Cathedral became a fortress and when the ball goes in, all other considerations take a backseat. In any case, Uriarte’s management from Ibaigane also began to reach cruising speed. Once the inexperience of the first decisions was overcome, from the club, in which spending control is an obsession to prevent the structural deficit from increasing, the president and those around him began, especially at the sporting level, a thorough management.

With the approval of the accounts by the assembly of delegate members, the club launched an aggressive campaign to attract promises. Aside from the signing for next season of Álvaro Djalo, scorer for Portuguese Braga, and the interest in Gorosabel, Alavés full-back, who is free, the club has spent two million euros on Adama Boiro, from Osasuna, and also The youth Iker Quintero arrived from Tajonar. The Uriarte board has also caught Igor Oyono, from Barakaldo, an Under 17 international with Spain, who played for Villarreal. Before, he captured the Liverpool youth player, Elijah Gift, whose mother was from Navarre and was born in Corella. All this, together with the celebrated renewal of Nico Williams, for whom many clubs yearn, and that of Ohian Sancet last season.

The Athletic players at the end of the League match that Athletic played against Deportivo Alavés this Saturday at the San Mamés stadium.
Javier Zorrilla (EFE)

Uriarte has had it easier in recent times, because Valverde’s talent is growing around him. The centre-back pair, formed by Vivian and Paredes, who were behind Martínez and Yeray the previous season, has improved so much that the former is already in the Spanish team. In midfield, the quality that was intuited in Galarreta at 18 years old has finally been revealed at 30, along with that of Beñat Prados, a newcomer who surprises in every game, and that of the fiery Unai Gómez. Up front, apart from Sancet, much more focused, the Williams club, the most decisive of the team, has found a solvent partner in Guruzeta, space creator, piece worker and scorer. With 13 in the League, he is only three behind the Pichichi.

Everything smiles for President Uriarte, unanimously praised for his transparent management in the distribution of Athletic’s tickets for the final. Like everyone in Bilbao, he dreams of going out to the estuary to celebrate a title, this time without wearing the Real shirt, as he did as a child with the one his uncle, Luis Uranga, who was president of the San Sebastian club, gave him. . And furthermore, if the team enters the Champions League, the better to balance the accounts.

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