Alberto Uribe-Echevarria was elegant in his farewell to the palace of Ibaigane, when after recognizing his defeat in Athletic elections He faced the microphones: "The fans are not divided. What is divided is the vote. Please, we have to be with the president, who is Aitor Elizegi. We are what we are, because we are what we are. "
It was the accolade to the chef who becomes the new president of Athletic. Josu Urrutia, the previous president, did not show up after the results were officially confirmed. Maybe he felt involved in the defeat, very tight, but defeat, of one of his trusted men in the hard core of the previous directive. Seven and a half years have worn him down a lot, especially the last two where the sporting results have been bad. His constant confrontation with the media has closed doors, and he has closed many others. Athletic, which has traditionally maintained great relationships with almost all clubs, has seen them deteriorate in some cases due to the peculiar vision of the former player who became president. Florentino Pérez -an example- has not yet visited the new San Mamés and promised in private that he would not do it until Urrutia left office. All this has taken its toll on Uribe-Echevarria. Also his almost total disappearance in the last days of the electoral campaign, while Elizegi multiplied.
The president of Bilbao Dendak, the organization that promotes trade and tourism in the Biscayan capital, where he replaced Juan Carlos Erkoreka, who also aspired in his day to the presidency – he lost to García Macua – and who will be responsible of the Athletic Foundation, has had the merit of winning by 85 votes, the most adjusted difference in the electoral history of Athletic, after they voted 19,340 members (46.77%). He took 9,264 (47.90%), for the 9,179 (47.46%) of his opponent. But the most significant data aside from abstention was the number of disgruntled members (781) who voted blank. There were also 116 null votes.
The proclamation of the winner was extended. There was suspense, because the minutes of table number 22, which gave Elizegi the votes necessary to win, did not appear. It had been lost in the tent in which the votes already counted were thrown, and even the other candidature was thought to request the cancellation of that table. In the end, the signed act appeared and the results were definitive.
In the new board of directors of Aitor Elizegi, who wants to develop a new digital strategy, "Athletic 3.0", which will be carried out by José Manuel Mosteiro, president of the Versia group and founder of Panda Software. There is also a doctor, Vice President Mikel Martínez, known for his work in the Vuelta a España; two journalists, Itziar Villamandos and Tomás Ondarra, editor-in-chief of EL PAÍS; and Erkoreka at the head of the Foundation, who, in addition to being an entrepreneur, worked for many years as a policy editor in various media. It is possible that the relationship with the press improves.
Relations with the PNV
Elizegi may also return the balance with the factual powers of Bizkaia. The PNV always has a lot to do with the Athletic leadership. The new president is sympathetic to the nationalist formation. At the time, he signed a letter of support for the candidacy of Iñigo Urkullu as Lehendakari and some people around him questioned, when the president of the formation, Begoña Atutxa, attended the presentation of Uribe-Echevarria, where was the letter of the candidate that his party supported.
In fact, in the campaign there was no nationalist criticism or of the environments abertzales – as it happened in previous occasions with Fernando Garci'a Macua – to that the defeated candidate in the elections did not speak Euskera. Elizegi does dominate it. Like Urrutia.
The president of Athletic – who said that in addition to the projects he has presented the goal is for the team to get the 42 points as soon as possible, "and would give many of the votes I have had for this" – is also conciliatory with the defeated candidacy "Because there are many valid things in your electoral program. The Uribe-Echevarria group was magnificent. " He recognizes the work of Urrutia, "that for me he will always be one of my idols, my captain, even if he has not always agreed on his decisions as president". And he also recognizes his managers: "There are very valid people in the other group who can contribute many things to the club. We ask for your help, respect and support. " In addition, it puts value to Athletic workers. "I have seen things that corroborate me that the people who work here are very valuable, it is enough to see how they have organized something as complicated as these elections".
He does not want to talk yet about signings in the winter market. "We have the wealth of technicians like Garitano and Ferreira and of people who join as Alkorta, Ayarza and Suances. The reinforcements must be decided by capable people like them. " In fact, the new sports managers will have to start working immediately. The situation of the team is almost dramatic, a point above the relegation zone if Real Madrid beat Villarreal the game postponed by the Club Mundialito. That is the priority of the new president.