José María Amorrortu Officially Resigns As Sporting Director Of Athletic Club
José María Amorrortu has served Athletic Club faithfully for many years. From being a player to managing the team, and then holding the role of Sporting Director since 2011 he has done it all while always being loyal to the Athletic identity. Amorrortu recently revealed that he would be retiring when his contract ended in June, but that day has come early for the 65-year-old.
On Wednesday Amorrortu issued a public letter saying goodbye which was followed by an announcement from the club that he and the current Board of Directors had mutually agreed to end his contract with Athletic. In the announcement, the club thanked Amorrortu and wanted to “highlight the knowledge of being, respect and loyalty shown by Jose Mari Amorrortu with our Club and the willingness to share his knowledge and experience. Values of enormous importance that this management team considers essential and is willing to care for and highlight daily.”
The decision to leave his position was mutual as Amorrortu said in his letter that new President Aitor Elizegi treated him respect and understanding. Elizegi had already announced during his campaign that Rafa Alkorta would take over as Sporting Director if he won the election which is now the case. Meanwhile, Amorrortu said that he is proud of the work he has done and never could have imagined being where he is today when he made his debut back in 1973. He will be available to help the new Directors make the transition over the next few months if needed.
Amorrortu has always shown respect and professionalism during his time with Athletic which has spanned more than two decades. He played for Athletic from 1973 until 1978, being a runner-up in the Copa del Rey and UEFA Cup, and featuring in 127 games scoring 10 goals. He returned to the club in 1991 as manager of the U19 team that won the Cup title and became an assistant under Jupp Heynckes in 1992.
In 1994 Amorrortu took over as the manager of Bilbao Athletic and would later become the first team coach in the middle of the 1995 season and again the following year. He would continue to work around the club until eventually leaving to coach Eibar in 2003 before finally returning to Athletic in 2011 to serve as the Sporting Director under former President Josu Urrutia.
Athletic has always been Amorrortu’s life and he has dedicated himself to youth development and protecting the club’s identity. He’s served Athletic with unwavering loyalty and had the following to say in his goodbye letter to the club and fans.
I made my debut in Athletic back in 1973, I could not even imagine that almost half a century later I would be linked to my club, to the team that I am a member of and added to since I was a boy from the neighborhood of Deusto. After reaching a friendly agreement with Aitor Elizegi, who has shown me his closeness and understanding, the time has come to say goodbye and I would like to show my gratitude to all those people who trusted me, and also to those who have shared this experience with me. It has been a real privilege for me to be able to work for Athletic and I feel proud. The goal of nurturing the first team as a player and, on the way, forming people, has been our flag.
My commitment and my enthusiasm have gone hand in hand all these years because I have dedicated myself to doing what I know best in the best possible way, in which I consider my home, Lezama, our school that demonstrates and is the true bulwark of our philosophy and, therefore, of our identity.
To my gratitude I want to add my entire availability to facilitate the transit to the new Directors during these first months of their journey. I wish you the best of luck because your luck will be that of all of us who are part of this family.
El hasta hoy director deportivo del Athletic Club, Jose Mari Amorrortu Prieto, se despide de las personas socias y de la afición del Athletic Club mediante la presente carta adjunta. #AthleticClub pic.twitter.com/eYrYMYKNpN
— Athletic Club (@AthleticClub) January 2, 2019