Alberto Uribe-Echevarría “I Am Not Josu Urrutia, I Am Different Leadership”
Athletic Club Presidential hopeful Alberto Uribe-Echevarría opened his electoral office on Monday and took the opportunity to speak to the public for the first time since announcing his candidacy. He began by sharing the importance of Athletic in his life, as well as the experience he has gained while serving under Josu Urrutia for the last seven and a half years. However, he does not see himself as another Urrutia, but a different leader.
“Where the heart sends the head obeys. Athletic is part of my family, a philosophy of life that I have shared for more than 50 years as a Socio. I made the decision to step forward based on responsibility, enthusiasm, and from knowledge and experience that makes me understand what keys we need to turn and which keys we need to remove. I will have different optics for Athletic. I love Josu a lot and history will judge him and determine him to be what he has been, a great President. But I am not Josu Urrutia, I am different leadership. We are labeled as continuists but we are only continuists in the area of guarantees, endorsements, and economic responsibility which is a great advantage.”
The club has built financial strength since Uribe-Echevarría took over as Athletic’s Accountant since 2011, something he was sure to highlight. Over the past week the club’s economic stability has been brought into question and he took a moment to address those questions, saying that the club is in a fantastic situation.
“All the benefits we have accumulated over these seasons can be used for Athletic. We have a backpack of about €300 million that others do not have and that has influenced my decision. The fact that I have taken this step will mean something about the economic situation, which has been somewhat vilified lately. I want to give you peace of mind in that regard. We know what we are doing. I’ve been leading high-performance teams for 35 years. I know what egos are and comparative grievances and I’m good at leading people. Athletic’s financial situation is good. It’s very powerful and very strong and I don’t know what the reasons are to say otherwise. We know what we are doing.”
Uribe-Echevarría worked mostly in the background under Urrutia, but if he becomes President he knows that he will be in the spotlight. He stated that he will strive to have open ears to the thoughts and feelings of the fans, while also saying that he is open to any potential signings during the upcoming winter transfer window.
“I am of a conciliatory personality. I like to listen to all the people and I like criticism. I accept it, value it, and respond it. I do not have red lines. For everything is Athletic and Athletic is everyone. We have the January transfer window open and I will not rule out anything. There is no red line. This is a new stage and the past should not condition us. We will make the best decisions for Athletic.”
As of right now Uribe-Echevarría’s team consists of 12 members other than himself. Nine of them came from Urrutia’s former Board of Directors and three are new faces. The Presidential hopeful said that he is excited about the group he as assembled and revealed that there will be at least four more additions in the coming days.
“My team is not complete. We have incorporated people with other visions, with different experience, and with new ideas and a desire to contribute to Athletic. These days we are sleeping very little and we aim to get support. We are going to communicate in the coming days some more additions. I don’t know how many we will have, but we are not thinking of less than 17 members.”
When asked about his thoughts on opponent Aitor Elizegi, Uribe-Echevarría admitted that he always thought there could be other candidates step forward after he made his announcement. He has total respect for the famous chef and businessman and hopes to see the campaigns of both sides run with class. He also said that he could never rule out a merger, although that isn’t even a thought at the moment.
“I always thought that there could be other candidates step forward even if I presented myself. As it cannot be otherwise, I have the utmost respect for any Socio that wants to present themselves and, therefore, the utmost respect for Aitor Elizegi. I would like the campaign to be as elegant and low profile as possible because that is the best thing for Athletic. Public debates only generate tension and division, even in families. If I wanted to run a hard campaign I have all the information to talk about things and value all the experience of these years. It would not be very smart for me to discard any possible, but at the moment a merger isn’t being considered.”
In closing, Uribe-Echevarría brought the attention back to the team. He made it clear that the most important thing is for Athletic to win their game against Levante tonight and called on fans to show their support even though it is an away match. The former Accountant is convinced that the Lions are a strong team and is positive that they will bring joy to Athleticzales.
“The important thing is to win tonight at Levante. That is where we have to put all our energy, even at a distance. We believe in Athletic and we believe in the present and future of Athletic. We are convinced that we have a competitive team and the full conviction that we are going to move up the table well directed and well driven. The team will give us many joys just like in the recent past.”
Alberto Uribe-Echevarría is currently working to collect the rest of the signatures needed by 7 December to formalize his candidacy. Both Presidential candidates will be presented to the public on 12 December and voting will take place on 27 December. In the meantime, Aitor Elizegi will be speaking on the radio Monday night immediately following Athletic’s match against Levante.