Fran Garagarza makes his way after fourteen years at Eibar
Cyears later the name of Fran Garagarza does not appear in the organization chart of Eibar. Gone are hours and hours of work at the foot of the field and in the offices. Ten years (seven in First) as a sports director shaping the dream of seeing Eibar in First. “A strange and new feeling after a long time. Now it’s time to invest in the personal and family. I’m still connected to football, with the Second Playoffs, whatever may happen, the Euro, but in another way,” he says while walking through the mount to feed the mind and body.
“It’s been ten years on a 120 highway and now you have to travel at a different speed, but without disconnecting. The de-escalation has difficulty and you have to be active. Some references like Mateu Alemany have told me that”.
The obligation is to look ahead, but know that looking back is inevitable. “The final press conference was very tough. I felt protected and had prepared myself for that moment, but the obstacle of relegation … I felt overwhelmed by the support and backing I received. I keep the message from Jon Errasti, a player from Eibar who is in Logroñés. It got deep inside me because it made me see what we had achieved for the city, for the club. The messages from Adrián, with whom I have continued to have contact despite the fact that at a certain point we saw that the best thing was to each follow his path, the two hugs with Bryan Gil on the day of farewell … he could not resist it. I had to go”.
“Have been 104 operations in seven years in Primera. Talking about one is very complicated. There are those of Jordán, that of Cucurella, Lejeune, although maybe I’ll stick with Rubén Peña’s, who came for 100,000 euros as a forward. He was barely playing and he asked to leave Valladolid B. We made him see that no, he began to play as a winger and then he was transferred to Villarreal for a significant amount. “To frame what was done with Cucurella. “We bet on him, we got a purchase option and then Barcelona bought it back … football“, says Garagarza
In these years there were also operations that fell by the wayside. “One of them was Andone. He was at Córdoba and went to Depor or Diego Llorente with whom I got to speak in Madrid or Alex Berenguer who did not play in Torino and when it seemed that he was coming, he began to play and in the end ended up in the Athetic“.
The descent, the most painful. “We chose to trust and support the squad and the mistar. They tried to do the same as when they won. Normality is a virtue, without conflicts. The 16 games without winning marked everything, but the team always fought.”
Six years with Mendilibar go a long way. “He is very direct, close, honest, in the face to face he beats you. The decisions have been agreed with him, with Mikel. It has been discussed, but from the dialogue. Our relationship has been one of transparency. He has created a style in Eibar. Total respect and gratitude towards Mendi and, of course, towards the club “.
Dani García verified Mendilibar’s work first hand. “He liked to play with a midfielder with mobility and with arrival, Dani was more positional. He did not see it, it was difficult for him. He even asked us to leave. We convinced him and look at what he became. He knew how to convince the footballer.”
In his new stage and before possible calls, he knows that what he has done is worth it, but not one hundred percent. “You have to adapt to everything. It has worked, but things are not the same in Euskadi as in Andalusia for example. You have to know the history of the club, its philosophy. You always have to assess where you are, the Council, the coaching staff. Everything”.
Now touch a time of reflection. “You have to measure everything and analyze. We are open, but without rushing. There is passion and we remain in contact with football. Now we have to improve the brand, courses ahead, go to study the way of working of other clubs, compare what we have done, with what others do … “