Interviews

Q&A WITH LENDOIRO

18 Jun 2008
Augusto C�sar Lendoiro continues to celebrate his twenty years at Depor's presidency. Lendoiro gave a new interview, this time to newspaper La Opini�n A Coru�a, he talked a lot about the financial situation of the club, also about the possibilities for the future.

Q: It seems difficult to find an investor, isn't?
A: It depends on many circumstances. At the first moment, you're open to talk. In fact, there's one who was there and that still apparently interested, its requirement is that we should stay involved in the project, but as they tell you this, tomorrow they may say otherwise. But maybe the investment won't be made, and we would have to continue with the traditional model.

Q: Was the increase in the capital a disaster?
A: We can not say it was a success, but neither a disaster. With three million Euro recollected with the increase of capital many would be applauding. We are very realistic and this club in order to be feasible, it needs a capital linked to the truth. It makes no sense the capital of Deportivo is around 7 or 8 million when a single player at the squad can assert twelve or fifteen. The appraised value by the LFP for Deportivo's squad is at 131 million Euros.

Q: What went wrong in the increase of capital?
A: First, what failed was the clear and unequivocal way in which we missed the support these things often require. First, from the public institutions. There's nobody more important for the city of Madrid that Real Madrid, nor anyone else important to Barcelona that Barca, and there's no one else more important for La Coru�a that Deportivo, like it or not. If we add to this that the city council not only failed to give from its budget, but it receives that kind of revolutionary tax representing contributions from companies that previously were destined to sports and the culture.

Q: Does the meeting with Tello and Losada (La Coru�a's major) served for something?
A: He has always avoided the issue. I do not know if they will realise what is happening at this moment in Vigo, to realise the importance of Deportivo for the city and Galicia.

Q: Is already discarded the option to see Deportivo subscribing itself to the Bankruptcy Act (Ley Concursal) at Primera Divisi�n?
A: Ley Concursal is not a good business card. It is designed precisely for an extreme situation and to prolong life. For now, if we can, we will avoid the Bankruptcy Act, because we believe in the viability plan of the club. Debt is very important, but it's at a very long term. If we find that investor that can cope with the moments of liquidity that we need, it will be a manageable debt, and if there's a strong investor, we could even keep a team with the same level that has been seeing for so many years.

Q: So, the club can survive at Primera with the current debt?
A: On the economic front, we are living in a complicated situation, one in which we must seek solutions every day. If there's someone to provide economic solutions, whether investors or institutions, Deportivo will give what it has to give, that's the reality.

Q: And at Segunda Divisi�n?
A: No, but depends on the club. It is not the same a Deportivo, who will reach the mark of eighteen straight years at Primera, than a club with only a few years in the category. Not just because budgets are coming from Segunda, that maybe are coming with a deficit, but these are not usually very important, and if they are a year or two at Primera, they don't lose that concept of team that comes from Segunda, with contracts made in Segunda . The problem begins at the fourth or fifth season. It just happened to Celta. When you are at a much higher level, you can't suddenly break everything because the player who has a contract tells you: you have to pay me. In football the difference is that the company number seventeen  is really great and the number eighteen is dead, because it must go down. What it could went wrong to the manager on duty? Yes, but although everybody does a good job, there are three who are going down.

Q: What would happen at Segunda?
A: The first thing that should be seen is how the club is at the time. What is true is that at the end, cities are at the level they can match for the number of its inhabitants.

Q: What can be offered by a club like Deportivo, with a debt of 150 million Euro, to an investor?
A: The solution is the reclassification of the Riazor. People has always talked the reclassification has favoured an individual or a club in particular, but here the great advantage is that it favours the city council in the first place because we are talking about municipal land. We must reach an agreement with the tenant, Deportivo, to say: As you have to leave the land and you have to go the other way and build a stadium, and like me, the municipality, want you to have a way of life as best as possible, because it suits the city, because you are leaving and I will have the economic strength to do this, because you release this, and I, the municipality, will keep some 600 million Euro. And above all, I will completely rebuild the most beautiful part of the city and that at the moment is one of the worst.

Q: According to this way of looking at it, it's a win-win thing.
A: Whoever wins, for sure, is the city council. Logically, Deportivo too, because it's now having a concession and otherwise it would be able to gain a football field and with a new urban envelopes that can help to it. Because here, Deportivo  is not the only one indebted, the city council too and also the rest of the world.

Q: So, the only problem for the reclassification is Augusto Cesar Lendoiro?
A: Yes, I am the problem. It's possible that if I wasn�t the president of Deportivo, the reclassification  would be already made. With president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro, or without him, that area can't be as it is for the city. Depor can�t be at Primera failing to fulfil with certain security measures, such as being unable to have the car of the referee inside the field. It's a �Kafkaesque� situation at these levels that we are moving on.

Q: If an investor comes with the money, is he able to possess Deportivo so easily, without further requirements?
A: It is not exactly true, but it seemed like that. First we will have to know who they are, where the money comes from and find the background to all this, but actually is a situation that is open. We only need to check the provenance of money.

Q: Did you already had real possibilities for investors?
A: There were instances in which it was very close, I would say

Q: National or foreigners?
A: In reality, nationals, but foreigners at the same time. A mixture. It came in a time that was not good in a sporting sense, and that fact slowed the topic.

A: Will there be a tour on this summer?
A: We can do so. It�s what we are studying, because it may be in Mexico, Venezuela or the United States. It would be in late July and early August.

Q: It gives prestige to the club at a international level, isn't?
A: I think so. In this aspect, is very interesting and from an economic point of view we hope it too. If is not in the economic sense, nor in a sporting level, then it would be preferable to make a pre-season more softer, preparing for the possibility of entering into the UEFA Cup and the Spanish League.

Q: The 'third lesson' has been launched because there was no other choice or was something that was already planned?
A: If we would have more resources economically, we could invest in young players but with more projection. It is not the same to sign a youngster that comes from Segunda B to sign Guardado. Those aren't the same 21 years as those of Laure, for example. These are different situations, but the lesson would be the same. If you think today in the striking zone, you could have Adrian, Xisco, Guardado and the average is skirting the 22 years, this situation would be unworkable some years ago.

Q:  Intertoto first, and then the UEFA, is it profitable?
A: No. It's a matter of prestige for the club. For us is to recover the path we had, but from an economic point of view, the competition is not profitable, at least until you get to the finals or semi-finals.

Q: Did you feared to go down to Segunda during this year?
A: I always had confidence in the team. I always said we had one of the best ten or twelve teams, but I think the same of Zaragoza. We had the tranquillity that experience gives you.

Q: Poor languages said you didn't fire Lotina because you didn't had money?
A: Correctly, it was said by poor languages.

Q: How long will you stay?
A: This is a project completely open and it take years to shape it. If the investor or investors, who increasingly are more likely to appear in the Spanish football, either want to lead in person the project or choose a person of their trust or maybe talk to us because they rely on how the things are done.

Q: Do you still looking like the Lendoiro who took the job two decades ago?
A: I resemble that I have the same hope. Now is when we must go back a bit to those origins, precisely because I started with the B squad and modest football. We need to start over again, only that the system must be different.

Q: Do you really not feel tired?
A: Tired, no. There was a time when we were promoted to Primera a moment in which we were about to quit. Our effort wasn't appreciated, not by the deportivista on the street but by the media. Everyone was talking and believing they were part of the success, but the only thing that didn't appear was the board of directors. Later we arrived at the conviction that they were looking precisely for this, to see us leaving, but a project was born and it was important to continue. Since then, we never thought in quitting. Logically, there are difficult moments or very difficult ones, but that is precisely the moment when me meet the real people. People often ask me: but how you support all this? I have a lifetime enduring a constant tension and a lot of criticism. It's not that you give the same, because you're not 'masoca' (masochist), but you're accustomed. It's a fact of life.

Q: What decisions do you regret?
A: Never think of this, neither for better or for worse, but when you make a balance, you find things you would not have done. For example, the signings that did not go well.

Q: Did the club mortgaged its future to rub shoulders with the elite at the Champions League?
A: There are situations that we must live and decide at the time. If they tell you that they will support you financially, and later they don't support you, the economic difficulties come because maybe you committed the error of believing in the word of some people who later didn't fulfil it. But once you took the decision, there is no turning back point, because you can't leave without effect the contracts you signed.

Q: Would have changed the course of Deportivo to win that Champions League on the year 2004?
A: Absolutely. Not just to not win it, only with reaching the final it would have turned the city council and the financial companies. Against something like this, no one risks to miss that time. That would have completely changed the fate of Deportivo because we would not missed the financial or institutional support. That's for sure.

Q: Someday you will leave the office, how would you like to be remembered?
A: As a man of sport who devoted his entire life to sport. Possibly I was born thinking in sport and surely I will die thinking in sport. Sport is my life.

Q: Sport and politics.
A: No. For me, politics was another world entirely different. What do I have always been is a man with a very public life, because I have always been linked with sporting organisations and cultural associations of all kinds. If there is a workable economy, everything is much more smoothly, but in the sporting world, you have to invent the bag. In the bag there is nothing, but we have to fill that bag. I think it is infinitely more difficult the football than politics. Infinitely. There is no politician who dares to go to the Bernabeu or the Riazor at a time of difficulty for him or his political group.

Q: A frustrated signing?
A: Quaresma. We tried when he was starting to shine at Sporting Lisbon, but it couldn't be.

A: And the one that was more difficult to close?
A: The signing of Bebeto was the hardest. They said that there was nothing to do, but we went to Brazil and raised the topic.

Q: Do you consider yourself as a tough negotiator?
A: Absolutely not, but is like the stories of your grandpa. There comes a time when they hang you that fame, but is only a legend. With me is very easy to reach agreements, if I am interested in the operation and whether the other party is also interested.

Q: But who signs is you, isn't?
A: The negotiations are made by me, but the vast majority of the signings have been requested by the coaches, especially in the last seasons. I am much less presidential compared to what people believes.

Q: What can you tell us about the scandal with Porto?
A: Before, I thought a lot of times about it, but these are issues that can't be demonstrated. You will only keep the doubts about what really happened.

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