Javier Clemente Disappointed After Not Being Considered To Replace Eduardo Berizzo

Javier Clemente

“I am a little disappointed because I thought they could count on me.” (AC)

Javier Clemente is a living legend and one of the most successful coaches in Athletic Club history. He took over as the manager in 1981 and would go on to win two league titles before leaving in 1986 after disagreements with striker Manuel Sarabia. He returned for a spell in 1990 and again in 2005 where he would help the team avoid relegation before being terminated over the summer after issues with President Fernando Lamikiz.

While watching Eduardo Berizzo’s Athletic struggle this year Clemente went on record to say that he never likes to see managers get fired. He knows what it feels like and stated that only the club President should be discussing the issue. However, when Berizzo was finally dismissed on Tuesday Clemente admitted that he was disappointed that he wasn’t offered the job which was handed to Bilbao Athletic manager Gaizka Garitano.

I am disappointed because I was convinced that they were going to call me because the last time I did well. They decided to trust a kid like Gaizka Garitano who has no experience in these situations, but I wish him the best. He has been with the reserves and I hope he has a clear understanding of the first team. I don’t like the dismissal of Berizzo. It’s sad, but the team wasn’t responding. You have to understand the characteristics of the club, it’s a special place to work. I still think that Berizzo is a good coach.”

Due to the upcoming Presidential elections it was very unlikely that Athletic would hire a replacement from outside the club. Garitano was the natural choice to take over for Berizzo and will now be tasked with leading the Lions out of the relegation zone. Clemente would go on to say that the players haven’t been the problem at Athletic, but rather the lack of stability at the club.

“The problem comes from the organization and the teamwork. There isn’t a problem with the players being better or worse, you can’t doubt that the team is strong. What we don’t have right now is stability. I would like to return, even if it was to train the children, but they don’t depend on me. Years ago I asked to come back and they said no, then four months later they came calling for me. The coaches are always at the mercy of what the Presidents want.”

There is no denying that Clemente has accomplished a lot for Athletic, but only time will tell if he will ever return to the club. Regardless, Gaizka Garitano is the one who was chosen to try to save the season and fans have already rallied because the new first team manager who will make his coaching debut in Thursday’s Copa del Rey match against Huesca.

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