Self-criticism, ambition and optimism

Self-criticism, ambition and optimism

Jon Uriarte, Athletic Club president, Jon Berasategi, general director, and Mikel González, director of football, review the past season

Athletic Club president Jon Uriarte, accompanied by general director Jon Berasategi and director of football Mikel González, offered a general review of the 2022/23 season, fulfilling the commitment made at the beginning of the season. The three words that sum up president's assessment are "self-criticism, ambition and optimism". 

As the president stated at the beginning of his presentation, "self-criticism because we have not met the objectives set, neither with the men's nor the women's teams". In his analysis, Uriarte reiterated how difficult it is to qualify for Europe, an objective which Athletic have not for the last five seasons. He went on to underline the ambition that forms part of his project and the essence of Athletic Club.

With regards to the men's first team, the president praised the squad, who have come up just short. Their hard work and performance levels were reflected in data presented by Mikel González.

Based on objective data, the outlook is optimistic if the side can improve both offensively and defensively, because the foundations for this to happen are in place. In this sense, Mikel González underlined that "we are in good hands".

Likewise, regarding Ernesto Valverde, the president stressed that he is "our leader, the best coach Athletic can have for next year", reiterating his total and absolute confidence in Ernesto's abilities. Furthermore, speaking about Ernesto's renewal in February, the president said that Valverde "gave us stability and allowed us to prepare better for next season", clarifying that, if for any reason the criteria of the board changed, Ernesto Valverde would step aside at no cost to Athletic.

As far as the women's first team is concerned, after initial self-criticism, the president, again supported by Mikel González's data, highlighted the squad's youth and Lezama's homegrown talent. Although the team has not achieved the objective of finishing in the top third of the standings, there was an upward trajectory that allowed it to play in the semi-finals of the Copa. Mikel González also dedicated a few words of thanks and recognition to the work carried out.

"We have the makings to do great things," concluded the president.

On Iñigo Martínez

Before taking further question, the president wanted to definitively settle the issue of Iñigo Martínez's departure. Together with Jon Berasategi, he gave a chronological account of the negotiation process with the sole objective of conveying essential information to  Members in order to preserve the interests of the Club.

The Club always wanted Iñigo Martínez to stay at Athletic. The defender received an offer from Athletic but the negotiation process was put on hold due to the presidental elections. When Jon Uriarte took office, practically the first thing he did was resume negotiations and meet with the player's agent to express his desire to extend the player's contract.

Four days later, the agent replied that Iñigo had received an offer from an important club and that he wanted to leave. At the end of the summer transfer window, the player told Athletic in no uncertain terms that he was not going to renew his deal and that he would rejects any offer. Despite all this, the Club made several attempts to approach him, which were unsuccessful.

In conclusion, the president declared: "Athletic Club is not lying and we believe it is sufficiently clear what is fundamental: who wanted the player to continue and who wanted to leave."