Josu Urrutia “Athletic Club Is A Way Of Life”
The Josu Urrutia era is officially over at Athletic. The President and his board stepped down a few weeks ago in preparation for December’s Presidential elections and the 50-year-old is now leading the club’s temporary management committee. On Tuesday Urrutia spoke at a conference celebrating 200 years of the Bilbao School of Commerce and praised Athletic’s focus on their unique identity and upholding the values they treasure so dearly.
“Athletic Club is a way of life, a different way of life that starts with a different perspective. There is a philosophical basis to the way we have managed the club over the last eight years which is built on conceptual clarity, coherent behavior, and managing uncertainty. Athletic bets on our own with the conviction that incorporating some inalienable values, some of them intangible, there is a balance. It’s an illusion, a commitment, and a responsibility.”
Urrutia also took a moment to address how the club views players leaving. He gave the examples of Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente, saying that keeping players is always more important than any sum of money that their sales would bring in.
“Heynckes called me and told me that he wanted Javi Martinez at Bayern Munich. I told him that we want him too, more than Bayern. Then he told me that he did not believe the player was worth €40 million which was perfect. Don’t pay the release clause and we will be very happy. Then you have Fernando Llorente, a player who had been with the first team for nine years and was lucky to represent the club who had been with him in the bad times. The club recognized him economically and he was obliged to stay. If not, then we have no future together.”
Since becoming President in 2011 Josu Urrutia has overseen immense success at Athletic Club. From regularly qualifying for European competition and winning the Spanish Super to establishing financial strength his run has been impressive. On 27 December a new President will take over and the hope is that the club will be able to continue competing at the highest level for years to come, but Athletic’s identity will remain the most important aspect of the club.