TOntonio Jesús López Nieto, the new president of Unicaja since the end of last July, has granted his first personal interview since taking up the post of Carpena’s cadre. He has done it on MARCA and Radio MARCA Málaga from the Los Mellizos Restaurant in Fuengirola, where he has not hidden from any of the current issues of the Los Guindos team. The controversy that has raised his arrival, his aspirations and those of the club, the present and the future of the cajista club subjected to questions that make a perfect X-ray of Unicaja 2021-2022.
Question: Never has the arrival of a president raised such a stir … How do you feel?
Answer: I don’t stop much. One has to know how to discern reality and orchestrated reality. I respect all the positions that some media have taken against me. No one has been given such an orchestrated entrance as mine. I have worked in sports my whole life. I want to work and take my hometown team to the top.
I have never had a party card, if I did I would have it. My predecessors have had it and nothing happens
P. Many of these criticisms have had a political character …
R. I have never had a party card, if I did I would have it. My predecessors have had it and nothing happens. I admit the criticisms, and my obligation is to turn them around.
Q. And those who say that you are a soccer man …
R. I mark the times, but I listen to those who know. We will work together. Without my mechanics I can’t get anywhere. 20 eyes see more than two. I want to communicate to the fans clearly and clearly. I am a basketball fan, a simple fan. I don’t have the ability to decide who plays well or badly. I know enough of the core of the game. I am a fan put president in the sports field.
I was comfortable after my 18 years as a referee. It could have gone on perfectly. I come to contribute the knowledge that I have in professional sports and in management
P. What a challenge you have ahead …
A. I was comfortable after my 18 years as a referee. I could have followed perfectly, and LaLiga was also comfortable with my position. I also think that we had already achieved everything that I could achieve. At 50 I might not have accepted it, but at 62 it is the peak moment for me in terms of management. I come to contribute the knowledge that I have in professional sports and in management, in addition to the public sphere.
P. How is Unicaja today?
R. What I want is to do important things so that Unicaja is at the top of the national ranking. In the long run I hope the results will be seen. The club cannot be said to be in crisis, it has had worse results, but it has been stable and is a very solid entity.
Q. What is the club’s relationship with the institutions?
R. Unicaja has always had a magnificent relationship with the institutions. We are going to maintain the line of the most important club in southern Spain. Unicaja is and will be the Malaga club, as well as the best in Andalusia. We will be a source of pride for all the fans and the peoples of the province. They were very beautiful years, in which basketball flowed in the city. Today we are a unique force. The most important in southern Spain.
The club cannot be said to be in crisis, it has had worse results, but it has been stable and is a very solid entity
Q. And what has to do with the budget?
R. We will be the fifth in the category. We are happy with what we have. We have to maximize and enhance it. From there, those who know basketball will have a good team and a good quarry. You have to be identity. We have people from outside, but they have to grow from the quarry. You have to keep sucking from the roots.
P. A controversial decision was the exit of the Eurocup. How do you explain it?
R. A club has to enhance its strengths, Unicaja has many. Has a stable budget. He has made very toned signings in the market, a squad with strengths … I don’t think it’s an impediment to play the Basketball Champions League. It is not a step back. We cannot play a competition that could generate losses and problems for us in the future. People believe that we have taken a step back, it has been sold like that. The problem of the Euroleague is the subsequent indebtedness. It is for football clubs, with different financing.
P. Your relationship with the fans will be important. He wrote them a letter … Why?
R. I wanted to communicate with the fans in a clear and forceful way. Explain why decisions are made. Many people are not given that explanation and they believe things that they are not. I want a demanding hobby that understands basketball. Here people understand basketball, and love it. We are preparing a campaign to bring them closer together. I have an appointment with several fans. I am at your disposal. I’m going to listen to all of you.
The player who wears the shirt may have a better or worse day, but he has to die in that shirt
P. Today there is a divorce club and fans …
A. The player who wears the shirt may have a better or worse day, but he has to die in that shirt. So the fans can see that our attitude is theirs. The situation may have broken down at some point, but we can fix it.
Q. Will you be traveling with the team?
R. As responsible I have to be in the places where things are decided. In principle my idea is to go to each game, it is my obligation in difficult moments. I want to be, I want to see how the matches are made. Connect with the rest of the clubs, position Unicaja.
If a stratospheric opportunity came for the squad, we would be open. But right now we don’t need anything
Q. Is the template closed?
R. If a stratospheric opportunity came we would be open. But right now we don’t need anything.
Q. How about Juanma Rodríguez and Katsikaris?
R. There is very good tuning. I have already had a meeting with them, separately and together. I think a good job is going to be done. We have a good team. Barreiro was highly valued in the market. We have had other difficult negotiations. We managed to renegotiate the amounts, I think we could have controlled it differently. I am not going to get into the choice of players, but I am going to get into the economic parameters. In these signings there has been an understanding between the coach, the current sports director and the previous one. It has been three triples.