El Centrocampista

President Quique Pina set to stay at Los Carmenes

Ahead of the penultimate game of last season against Real Madrid, Granada CF president Quique Pina announced he was worn out by the pressures of running the club and “99% certain” he would leave.

Since then and especially during recent weeks, speculation has been rife as to whether he would stay or go. Fuelling much of the speculation, was a particularly tight-lipped stance by the club. In addition, there were suggestions elsewhere that he would leave to pursue his “other” interest at Cádiz, as they push for promotion to the Segunda via the play-offs.

During the opening moments of the press conference today, Pina spoke about the pressures, that his decision to leave was motivated personal and family reasons. Indeed as he spoke, everything he said suggested his mind was still set, that he was still going to leave the club.

Having initially lead the gathered journalists to believe this was to be his departure and having given his reasons, a pause… before Pina turned proceedings completely about, stating: “I’m staying at the club. I have felt enveloped.”

Re-affirming why he’d considered leaving, Pina continued: “The intention, was not to continue at the club. These three years my strength of mind was not the highest. From the moment the game against Rayo was over, my idea was not to continue, that my cycle was over.”

Explaining the difficulties, which contributed towards his initial decision to quit, Pina added: “We have had a permanent struggle [with local authorities] to get facilities, but we have achieved our goals thanks to professionals [at the club].” A clear indication that the club has achieved it’s success through its own hard work, in spite of obstacles, trying to increase stadium size and arrange a deal for a new training complex.

Regarding suggestions he was going to leave for Cádiz, with whom he is also involved, or another club, Pina said: “When I had decided, I expressed to the board that my decision was final. It wasn’t to leave for another club. There are people who have mentioned the name of Cádiz. This is not true. My decision was personal and not intended to pressure any institution. I wasn’t going to continue in the same line [of work].”

Discussing the reason for his change of heart, Pina pointed at various influences: “Nobody stepped forward. None [of the board] wanted to be my successor. Instead, they believed I should take a break, then decide. The president of CajaGranada told me they would continue [with sponsorship] if I didn’t leave.” In addition, there was “total destabalisation” of negotiations when sporting director Juan Carlos Cordero, was in contact with players, due to uncertainty over the club’s future plans, without him.

Finally, he made it clear that because of support from staff at the club, “support from the fans of Granada, the press and people in football, who never indicated I should leave,” he’d decided to remain at the helm of Granada CF.

A highly influencial figure at the club, who has worked tirelessly over the last three years, it’s understandable that the pressure of such rapid success, might eventually taken its toll personally. But a football man through and through, those around him have encouraged him to stay, with the support of the fans and the press, to reinforce his decision.

In perhaps his most open and transparent press conference to date, with renewed vigour, he praised the virtues of the club: “Granada CF is an example of not having dabts and in a state envied by other clubs. Granada is in a priveliged position. We’ve achieved success by establishing a rigid line and not overstepping our limits. We don’t owe money to anyone”.

Now once more in typically bullish mood, Pina also added that having survived in the Primera, generating good levels of income, managing things safely and due to further investment by the group backing the club, “we don’t need to sell anyone.”

Regarding strong interest in players owned by the club, Pina made it clear: “Orellana, Rico and Siqueira have clauses and that’s what the other clubs will have to pay.” Referring to offers made for Mikel Rico by Athletic Club Bilbao, Pina laughed off their bids: “For €4m,” the reported offer that’s been made, “we wouldn’t sell them one leg of Mikel Rico!” Over interest from Valencia for Guilherme Siqueira, he added: “If Valencia and Siqueira have everything done, they’ve wasted their time.”

Prompted for confirmation and news of new signings, Pina responded with equal vigour: “There are players who shunned Granada before. Now we’re an example in football,” pointing to the fact the club pays wages on time, (unlike many clubs) and can also offer competitive salaries to players. “This year Granada CF will have a team to compete with more ease,” he continued, “it is going to be a much better team.”

With much rumoured interest in a number of reported deals, Pina officially confirmed that the option to buy clause for on-loan defender Borja Gómez “has been completed,” whilst Udinese player Gabriel Torje “has said yes” to a loan deal. He also went on to add that “four or five of the eight or nine” player negotiations under way at the moment, look set to be concluded shortly.

The Granada president wouldn’t be drawn on naming names, when it came to the inevitable questions about the vavant managerial candidacy. Whilst journalists prompted with names such as “Anquela” or “Sandoval” – Pina simply responded that there would be a resulution to that situation “next week.”

Finally over protracted plans for the new training complex in the suburb of Otura, Pina clarified that the situation was ongoing. The project is currently delayed because the local council of Otura cannot meet their half of the joint funding with the club. “We cannot raise the budget for the training complex, without limits in the other direction,” investing in the team, which without “the risk of the club being relegated, increases.” All part of a balancing act for for the club.

The difficulties with training facilities is something coaching staff and players have complained about during the past season. Pina hopes that the situation in Otura can be resolved this season. “We hope that this season we have a sports complex with gym, swimming pool,” with all facilities required on one site. In the meantime, the city council has made additional facilities available in the suburb of Armilla, which is “not everything we need, but makes things easier,” according to Pina.

With stability in leadership, signs that whilst still a “modest” club, Granada CF are in a very healthy state financially, the road ahead looks good for the club. Whilst the urge to step away was strong for Quique Pina, the reasons for staying proved to be stronger. A short break and time to think, seems to have done him good, with him now as ambitious as ever to see the club grow further.

Interesting times ahead and we could be in for one or two surprises.

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