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· Registered
12,749 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
... for Basque football.

Perhaps I see things too bad, but have a look at the tables.

1 Valencia 20
2 Barcelona 19
3 R. Madrid 19
4 Villarreal 18
5 Sevilla 17
6 Málaga 13
7 Getafe 12
8 Mallorca 11
9 Almería 11
10 Atlético 10
11 Espanyol 9
12 Deportivo 9
13 Sporting 9
14 Betis 8
15 Valladolid 7
16 Numancia 7
17 Racing 6
18 Recreativo 6
19 Athletic 5
20 Osasuna 4

1 Salamanca 20
2 Hércules 17
3 Zaragoza 17
4 Rayo 16
5 Castellón 15
6 Xerez 14
7 Gimnástic 13
8 Tenerife 13
9 Albacete 12
10 Córdoba 12
11 Alavés 12
12 Levante 12
13 Huesca 11
14 Girona 11
15 R.Sociedad 11
16 Eibar 11

17 Las Palmas 10
18 Celta 8
19 Murcia 8
20 Alicante 7
21 Sevilla At 6
22 Elche 4

I know, it's quite early in the season, but still, have things ever looked worse? We've got only two teams in Primera who're both at the bottom, while actually the third team we should have there are 15th in Segunda. Only Eibar and Alaves are performing as expected.
Of course Athletic played versus the best opponents already, but still this is depressing. However, if we should ignore Athletic, still the situation of both Osasuna and Real Sociedad are very bad, I'm really worried about them...

What's going wrong? Where do the mistakes lay?

The only thing what's good on this tables is Rayo being quite high, for the rest it all sucks. :thmbdown:

· Lehendakari
2,026 Posts
The season hasn't started well for any of the clubs but remember last season when we started badly and hit form halfway though the season?

I do think Osasuna will be in a relegation battle and Sociedad may not go up but a lot can change between now and the end of the season.

If it's still like this in March/April then I'll be worried.

· Senior Poster of the year 2007
40,155 Posts
Athletic flirt with relegation since long ago. At this point, the standings may suffer from distorssion since they're facing the Sevilla-Barça-Madrid-Villarreal run of games. Osasuna didn't pass through this yet, nor Recre, nor Valladolid...

In any case, Athletic's problems come since long ago. The lack of talent is evident. Even the top players (the most remarkable from outside), like Yeste and Fernando Llorente, do not reach a great level either. Add that, in recent years, Athletic lost some players that were quite helpful, like Aduriz (I won't ever undestand this), Ezquerro (in his peak moment) or Del Horno (like Ezquerro). You also missed guys who would fit perfectly well in your side, like Joseba Llorente, now in Villarreal. The youth system, your base, do not "produce" talent either.

This last aspect is the most worrying. Athletic used to have one of the best academies in La Liga. Athletic had enough to fill your squad and, besides, it was rare to see other Liga teams without a player that came from your youth system. Now it's the opposite. Athletic do not produce enough talent, the club fish in other Basque clubs, which is a wrong message to your own youth system and don't help the others much.

Osasuna are a selling club. If you make the good decisions during the summer, you can fill the holes. If not, you are going to suffer. It always was the same for them. They can be worried, because they are having terrible results and it's not that they faced any big team yet. They should be very worried.

About Real Sociedad, they're paying the bad management they had since long ago. The club is financially broken, so they depend on a youth system that suffers from many problems too. The Segunda División isn't an easy cathegory, there are some good squads there, some classic Primera clubs that are hosted in big cities with economic power. In that situation, I think it's not that strange to see them in this situation.

At the end, the problem is the evident lack of talent in the current Basque football. Only Xabi Alonso is a usual of the Spanish NT and he's a sub, which is a signal of the weakness of your football. I still remember to see half Spanish team born in Euskadi.

You just have to see your own squad and their procedence. Half the team was raised in Osasuna, Real Sociedad, Aurrera Vitoria or Logroñés. The weakness of the youth system is scary.

Athletic fail in the comparison with some youth systems like Barcelona, Sevilla or Villarreal. Add the fact that these clubs do not depend on their youth system as much as you do.

Since long ago, things are not well done in Lezama. I don't know exactly what, but it's an undeniable fact. The problem is that, in order to solve it, you need a lot of time and a lot of hard work. And do Athletic have time? I hope it never happens, but I think that there are enough reasons to be worried. This is not a bad year, this is yet another bad year, that's the worst.

· Registered
736 Posts
I am still not worried on Athletic's behalf. I see we have more quality in the squad than many of the other teams facing the relegation battle. We are good, but have been out of form. It will change for Athletic this season.

When a team fail promotion at the first chance, it will be difficult to promote the second year. Sociedad is a big team that will come back to the primera division, but it just will take some time. As Leeds will come back to the premiership, and like Fiorentina and Man City has done. I am more worried about Osasuna; if they relegate this year and face the same problems as Sociedad, i don't think they have the history to be sure to get back. And they will lose players more easily than what Sociedad will do.

Even though I am not worried for Athletic this season, I totally share Koeman's thoughts and I am quite worried in a five-ten years perspective. The youth system should have been better.
On the other side, last season was a season where the best players were Amorebieta, Martinez, Llorente and Susaeta, all players under 23 years.

· Registered
1,394 Posts
Well, Koeman4, the fact that Sevilla, Barca and Villarreal has a better (at the moment) production of youth players is that they have an economy that's ten or a hundred times stronger than ours. They also have the whole world to pick from, it depends on if you count Jorquera as a product of the youth system or Giovani Dos Santos, the player that could never be a part of our youth system. They have the economy to scout the whole South American continent out of their best under 16s. In other words these clubs have a range of signing about a billion youngsters, whilst we have 75-100 000 to pick from.

However, it's very true that the system is badly managed, we've seen a lot of players with glorious potential completely fail and join Tercera or Segunda B clubs, some have joined bigger clubs in England for example. We've seen players be promoted to the first team and playing great for 5-20 games, and then totally rot - never reaching the same level. It's very difficult to find a way of how to make a player reach his full potential, specially lately. Perhaps the players are getting lazier, perhaps we're too soft on them, it's a mystery. Another explanation could be that 25 years ago we were one of the best clubs in Spain with almost only players of our own, and there was a great belief in the club, there wasn't any doubt about our policies, and everybody's great dream was of playing for Athletic, the proudest club in the world. Today we have a president who probably wants to sign foreigners and become a regular team, he's already tried stretching the criterias. That tells me alot of the fact that we've lost great confidence in ourselves.

The truth is that our policies has nothing to do with our last two and a half decades of failure, we could have been a top club if we would have had a couple of different presidents and coaches, they, especially the last three have really done what they can to destroy this club. If we could produce a team like the one we had 25 years ago, we sure as hell can do it again, we have good relationships with the smaller clubs in the area and there is a lot of talent in this area.

Another reason that we haven't produced many good players in late is that we hang on to players that we don't need, look back a couple of years ago with Oscar Vales, Felipe Gurendez and Javi Gonzalez, yesterdays Casas, Muñoz and Gabilondo. I understand that these players have been loyal to the club and all, but it's not fair to the fans, the youth players, or even the fringe players themselves to keep them at the club when they're performing at decent Segunda B class as some of these players are. Imagine letting the players that has been performing great in Bilbao Athletic play the games instead of these Oscar Vales-players. I'm sure we could at least integrate a couple of players every two or three years into the first team.

· Registered
12,749 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting to read your views on this, the youth academy is a problem indeed, and actually our only source where we can get players from...

... what's the cause? I don't know, perhaps our policy through which we've got only a small lake to fish in. Perhaps bigger teams copied our glorious system from the past. Perhaps just no talent in the region. Perhaps just a bad organisation. Perhaps bad coaches. I don't know...

I agree with Koeman4 it's yet another bad year, in the end we always escaped untill now, but at some moment it will go wrong...

As for the rest, I really fear Osasuna will go down if things doesn't change soon. At this moment the shit just continues and last week all teams walked away in the standings, both Osasuna and Athletic lost points on the other low competitors.

Anyway, let's hope for a turnaround next weekend.

· Senior Poster of the year 2007
40,155 Posts
Another thing is that sometimes the fact of playing only with Basque guys is seen as a self inflected punishment, when historically it was the opposite, a pride. Sometimes I see people complaining about the limitations you have to find players. First of all, this is a choice (a good choice, IMO), not an obligation. Secondly, I think that Athletic start to live too comfortable not having a real winner mentality. The goal of a Basque player shouldn't be to play with Athletic, but to win a title with Athletic and this is something that seems to disappear.

I don't think the issue is lack of talent. Probably it has something to do with the technical and tactical work in the youth system. Even the most talented kids need to work on the basics of football to develop their talent at 100%.

Perhaps Athletic should take a look at the best youth systems of the moment to improve the results. Perhaps Athletic got comfortable with the old methods and they're not working as they did in the past. IMO, Athletic must review the methods and turn them upside down. Something is done wrong since long ago.
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