El Centrocampista

WILLING AND ABEL – Resino takes charge as fans thank Fabri

Football management can often be seen as a tough business. Ultimately for most managers, it’s results that count, though many things can influence the success or failure of a manager’s.

Bouyed by a healthy points difference from the relegation zone, Granda CF headed into their first fixtures of 2012 with confidence. Whilst nobody really expected anything from the match at Real Madrid, even a 5-1 defeat couldn’t quell the amazing support from the 10,000 travelling supporters.

There was however, much expectation for the next game, a home tie against Rayo Vallecano – a direct rival in the bottom half of the table.

Whilst having a good record against the “bigger” teams in La Liga, against other teams in the bottom half Granada had a pretty poor record so far.

Granada lost 2-1 at home to Rayo, in a very poor performance. In the press conference following the game, Fabri was highly critical of the performance of his players. He pointed towards lack of effort in training, disagreements with players and general disharmony being at fault.

His comments weren’t viewed kindly by Granada director Juan Carlos Cordero, who the following day, criticised the way Fabri had handled things, claiming that such criticism was better dealt with in the changing room, training ground or managers office, rather than in public.

A very disspointing performance by Granada resulted in a 3-0 loss at Espanyol, which in turn was the clubs third consecutive defeat of the new year. In the hours that followed the game, suspicions quickly gathered pace, that the club were about to call time on the reign of Fabri González.

News quickly filtered via social networks and members of the press who’d travelled from Granada to cover the game, that Fabri hadn’t travelled back with the players on Saturday night.

It was also reported that directors Quique Pina and Juan Carlos Cordero were accompanying the players though, which inevitably lead to much speculation.

Very late in the evening, the club announced that Fabri would be back in Granada, taking Sunday morning training, though wouldn’t confirm their manager’s future either way.

Sunday morning and the local press publishes reports of Fabri with the team at the training ground, with everything seeming normal. In the meantime, alternative reports suggested that both Quique Pina and Juan Carlos Cordero had been in contact with potential successors.

By late afternoon on Sunday, the club made an official announcement that Fabri González was to be releived of his duties as manager.

During a radio interview broadcast during the early hours of Monday morning, Granada CF president Quique Pina gave a candid view of events that had lead to the decision of the board.

He spoke about having discussed the the situation with the players and coaching staff. How after the match against Rayo and the scathing press conference from Fabri, “the players did not like anything he said”.

His feeling was although Fabri’s relationship with many players was possibly already strained, that was the point of no return. The manager had lost the support of the players and in the directors opinion, “now was the time for change”.

With the press having already reported the names of several potential candidates, Quique Pina responded that an initial approach for Juan Antonio Anquela had been rejected by his current club, Alcorcón of the Segunda División, but they also had other candidates in mind.

Top of that list was former Atlético Madrid and Real Valladolid boss, Abel Resino.

A manager who had worked successfully with Quique Pina at Ciudad de Murcia, before the the club was sold, to becoming the ill-fated Granada 74 “franchise”, (not dissimilar to the situation with Wimbledon becoming MK Dons), which moved cities and then eventually folded.

Respectful of all that Fabri González had achieved during his time with Granada CF, he announced that there would be a press conference on Monday morning, whereby the club could thank their former manager and say goodby properly.

“The hope I have is that Granada CF is in the Primera next season and the are fans happy”, Fabri opened with at his farewell press conference. “I send a big hug to the fans. I ask that they help the team, people who are in charge, the new coach, the players.” He added that the fans had been the foundation of the success of the team over recent years, whilst hoping that this would long continue to be the case.

Fabri admitted that following the loss against Espanyol, he “didn’t have to guess” at his future. At a tactical level he suggested “I’d done everything I wanted”, but accepted that “the results are important. The team has lost three games. The team was down and the results are decisive”.

When inevitably asked about his relationship with the team, Fabri suggested that he firmly believed that “since I arrived here, all the players have tried to be professional and give their best”.

He continued that in his opinion, “my relationship with the players has always been correct. I tried to squeeze the maximum from the players and have no complaints. I don’t regret anything.

What I have done, I’ve done from the heart. I don’t make statements to annoy anyone or be a star. I don’t want anyone to think that, or the players. I do it to encouraging improvement and always for that end”.

Over his dismissal Fabri stated, “the results are the bosses and lately haven’t been as good as we wanted. They are an accumulation of things. I will not say if the decision is fair or not. It is what it is and nothing more. I hope this decision will be positive for Granada CF and things go well”.

He respectfully stated that he was “eternally gratefull to the club president for giving me the opportunity to come here. I was very happy and remain so”, whilst adding “I’ve made lots of friends, starting with the president. I have devoted much effort to try to develop this team. This is nothing personal. I always said that they are sports team first. I have had the opportunity to be part of that and together, we’ve mad a lot of people happy”.

Granada CF president Quique Pina admitted that the decicion had been “painful”, but that he’d “had reasons which I’ve explained” to Fabri. He added that in any decision like this “the risk is that the outcome could be for the better or the worse”.

“Following the game against Rayo, things have happened that we didn’t like. But I do not think Fabri has had major problems with the players”, which had been widely reported, ”or that he hasn’t intended to get along with everyone”, claimed Pina, before emotionally stating that “Fabri leaves with his head held high. It’s a decision I had to take and what I suffer emotionally hurts, but we have to move on”.

At the end of the press conference, the now former manager Fabri, left to a standing ovation from the press contingent and those present. Upon leaving the ground he was surrounded by fans as he made his way to his car.

Fans hugged him and wished him all the best, as he tried to hold back the tears, with shouts of “Gracias por todo” (thanks for everything) and “Fabri Siempre” (Fabri always).

Rarely do we see a dusmissed manager leave as graciously in the modern game. Though having steered the club to two consecutive promotion and Primera football for the first time in 35 years, he’s aready considered a club legend.

Whilst his tactics and selections have often mystified followers of the club this season, it’s clear that things haven’t been easy for him.

The club signed thirteen players in the summer, some of whom have taken time to settle and integrate, or have yet to. It’s obvious that disharmony in the squad has contributed towards poor results of late.

While Fabri came to Granada with a past reputation of winning promotions with smaller clubs, his only brief experiences in the top-flight of Spanish football had been short lived.

He’ll be fondly remembered by the majority of Granada fans, though ultimately, they too agreed that perhaps it was time for a change.

Whether the next manager will receive the same level of admiration as his predecessor over time, is another matter. One thing is for certain, he’ll have to quickly turn things around and steer the club once more towards safety.


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