Interviews

Q&A WITH TINO FERNÁNDEZ

24 Jun 2014
Tino Fernández conceded a long interview to Alberto Torres from Deporte Campeón; Depor’s president talked of signings, renewals, the financial situation of the club and the present of Spanish football. This is a translation of the main issues.

Q: Manuel Pablo has been renewed, it converts him into a reference for Deportivo. Are you satisfied to have him on next season?
A: Obviously happy with everything we've signed. Manuel Pablo brings that seniority, knowledge and leadership of a captain and his place may be on the field, I sincerely believe that Manuel Pablo can play. Maybe not as a fixed starter, but he’s a person that takes care of himself, a great professional that provides a great stabilizing role. We’re talking about a squad that’s going to change a lot and we need references, people that have sucked Deportivismo to prepare these new faces that are coming, which are going to be a lot, quietly nine players depending on what happens with Lux.

Q: And will Lux continue?
A: I hope he will renew, I think the offer is good. We must have a cool head and must know what we will do. We don’t deny things to anyone. I never do it. But we have to clear the accounts. I think the offer is good, much better than in Segunda Division and better than at Primera. Then there’s another set of considerations as tax issues, but I think that in life the emotional wage also plays. Not only money, but the comfort, to feel wanted, important within an organization. That's also money. When you take a gross amount and discount the taxes to obtain the net value then you must also consider the emotional salary. I hope that to feel loved at the club, with the peers and in the city, can also compensate and help to complete an offer that’s economically competitive. We are making that effort. I hope he's with us and if not then there will be another keeper.

Q: What can you tell us about the situation of Juan Dominguez?
A: The picture is different due to the stage of time, because there’s still one more year. I feel a bit the same, a reference in terms of values, what he can mean for the lads at the academy if they see him as a reference. I understand that they are professionals and that they have to look for the best, but I also hope he stays. In this case the solution is not immediate while the case of Lux will be known shortly.

Q: And Sissoko? Because Wolfsburg ask a million Euros.
A: We have to be very rigorous. There is a reality marked by the economic situation. With all the things at stake we have preferences and priorities. There may be interesting things, but you must sort your priorities. In this arrangement we work together with the board of directors and the advisors, with a particular role for Fernando Vidal, plus all the staff at the technical secretariat, Richard (Barral), Ernesto (Bello) and the coach himself; their opinions count... it could be interesting for you, it may be a good option, because we want him, in the end it’s a negotiation. We will see, it can be yes or no, it’s an option.

Q: It cannot be denied the good taste and the profile of good players that are intended to be signed, for example Canella and Jose Carlos.
A: They’re players which whom we spoke, but we only confirm what is closed. We are working in specific cases. That's the idea. We’ll have a very competitive team. I think that what is to be mounted will compete. I’m very sure, very confident that we’ll make a very good season at Primera. The number of players and the potential is tremendous, even depending of other movements of other players at other teams, for example on the subject of important loans. If there’s an exit or release then they won’t loan the player, but if there is nothing then they will give up... Anyway, there are many cases and in the end this is like a puzzle. It’s not only you with a player, but there are the circumstances of another club. In any case I think we’re going to prepare a good team at Primera Division.

Q: We’ve a term in sporting papers 'agent header' we use it when a representative makes most of the transfers and loans for a club. It Looks like Eugenio Botas could fill that role. The fact is that, in the northern side of Spain, without Sporting, Racing and Oviedo, Depor may benefit from the huge portfolio of Eugenio Botas.
A: Deportivo already did it in the past, but the doors are open to all. We’re working with all who want to work with Deportivo. We hear all the offers. Eventually the adjective "header" is more newsworthy. We don’t have that preference, but like everything in life... When you work with a partner, a supplier with whom you are happy in the corporate world, then you want to do it more, obviously, but our movement, from the club, it is clear: we are looking for what we want, we try to see what we want and how we can reach it, not just what they offer to us.

Q: It seems that now you will use investment funds to sign the most expensive players. How do you rate to go hand in hand with this type of entities?
A: There are these possibilities, it is a way. On Monday, during the meeting of La Liga, there was an important chapter as they seek to regulate the relation of the funds with the clubs. It’s a world that’s there; we are open and they are making proposals that we haven’t closed yet. They’re there and possibly can help us for the more expensive signings. We’re going to go with the flow and will seize all the possibilities in the world of football, in this case the financial modernization of the football world brings us possibilities and we must also be innovative. Now, what we don’t want is to be a rental club, it’s something clear to me.

Q: Knowing Tino Fernández, surely he wants to sign players in property, assents that in the future can mean a business potential for the team, but in property.
A: Obviously. We have to see how far we can go with making our own capital, even with the approaches that we are negotiating related to transfers with purchase options. You’ve to start closing these possibilities and in some cases, if possible, to go shopping. I don’t know if this year, but we need to be at Primera on next year. Among other things for the advanced money of the TV contract, a money we have spent and it’s a problem, because if not then we would have to give it back and we need to get out of that contract and enter into a new deal, our contract, not to manage the inheritance, but to say: it has been covered, it has been fulfilled, cut, and make a new one without advanced payments. From there you can already start doing things.

Q: So, things remain complicate in the economic section
A: This year is not a bad year. It’s also true that we’ll keep saving for the future. Let’s say it was important to 'save a bullet' in case of not having a promotion, to not get overwhelmed. Now, having been promoted, it is a more comfortable approach for the years to come, what happens is that we hope to have more income. This year, in that sense, it was not bad, but we have to do a lot with what we have, fulfilling the deadlines of the debt, updating the payments, keeping the pace between spending and the income. We’ve the problem of income that has been already spent. I always talk of the television, but have also spent the money coming from the sponsors, many important parts of that money. We must make this effort in these two years. I think we are going to improve, for example, with the TV contract, although we already spent five million this year and of the next one. Five million is a lot. If I take five million euros to the other side of the house to Ernesto Bello, Richard Barral, Fernando Vidal and Fernando Vazquez, then anyone might jump out the window for joy. With five million Deportivo played this year... which actually are not five, actually t was four million, because one has gone to pay the exits of Ze Castro, Ayoze... The body ask you to tie things, to make a purchase, but if it cannot be this year then it will be next year.

Q: When you stop to think about the future and you set yourself looking for a goal or objective, what is? What would be a goal for Deportivo’s president? Because Segunda, never mind.
A: As a Deportivista, I don’t think of Segunda, even as a president, but as a business manager I have to think of it. Sometimes I say: I don’t think about dying, but I have various life insurance and the testament is done for a while, because unfortunately things happen and I've lived it very close, as example how from one day to another I said good-bye to a friend that was only 31... And the way things are. It would be foolhardy and I will be a bad manager if I don’t have a forecast.

Q: Now it’s time to talk of the worst part, the money. You have worked hard on reducing the debt, but nothing has been forgiven to Depor
A: The Treasury is demanding, there is an agreement to be paid. What's important is to fulfill it. Deportivo have to show this for the first time in many years. Deportivo still owe the tax deductions of 2004, 2004! Now it’s a matter of fulfilling the obligations, to stay at Primera. I hope to not return to Segunda.

Q; Will the banks exchange the whole debt for publicity?
A: Not everything. There is a loan in which they are together, syndicated, Sabadell Gallego and Nova Galicia (NGB) plus another one alone with Nova Galicia. The advertising is pulling the latter. What is true is that the 'inherited' approach, the first document that I had, has been improved. A lot. I appreciate the vocation and the interest of NGB, because it’s a big 'partner' of Deportivo, relevant, not a sponsor or someone who puts advertising. In this case, the arrival of Juan Carlos Escotet, the Bank Echeverría, Javier Echeverría... it has been very good for Deportivo. Obviously the money is not only about being in the back of the shirt. There are many more things, more activities, and more places where the new bank will be present. It’s also true that the contract has different figures, like almost everything, at Primera and Segunda. At Primera is easy to quickly run out of this contract, at Segunda the pace is different. The rule is that sponsorships are twice at Segunda compared to Primera.

Q: When the prices for the socios will be released?
A: It will be released on next week. Basically we are keeping the rates of Primera (not of Segunda). As during the year there were up to four prices, not it will closer to the average. We’re in this line. We don’t charge anything, not even the CPI, is actually a matter of lowering them. We want more social base. If there are more socios then more people are buying shirts, scarves, official products. It's easier than one of these fans can bring another one, to see them staying for many years...

Q: An 'imposed' increase in the capital is arriving
A: It's not imposed, but agreed, and we believe that it has to be done, both myself and other creditors. It comes in the first book of Economics. There cannot be such a big imbalance. It shows that the shareholders are also here. Creditors say, "Great, they ask me to remove part of the debt, to not include interests, and what do you offer?" The idea is again the same, maintaining popular capitalism, with successive waves, many facilities. You should be proud to have shares of Deportivo. This time we’ll easily cover the capital demonstrating that we’re a great group of fans. I give the example of Athletic Bilbao, a case I didn’t know and that they told me at a meeting of La Liga in Bilbao. They opened six or eight years ago the waiting list for the New San Mamés, without committing to make the new field, neither to refund nor discount the money in the future. To subscribe on that list worth 1,200 Euros and 8,000 signed up. Over eight million were raised in this way. This is not Bilbao, but we’re a great group of fans. The Deportivismo is a great asset and, now that I'm inside, I realize that's what we have. What does this club have? I see the financial reports, it is what it is, assets... The club has people, it’s what you have. A great history, but there are great stories in the cemetery too. A brand that you keep as you still alive, but mostly you have people. The greatest asset is the social mass, a different group of fans, someone that that doesn’t give the back. In other cities they will dream with these fans. It’s of the best at Primera. Without talking of Segunda. So, I don’t think that a small business doesn’t want to be a shareholder. Three shares, 180 Euros, ten Euros a month... If you don’t pay is because you don’t want it. With preferential subscription rights it would be easily covered. We’ve to see where we go. First we have to sort all data from the shareholders.

Q: The audit report. It’s already done. It will clarify many things and you will have to make decisions.
A:  The audit is already done, while the part of the contracts, it still on its way. I have yet to submit it to the board of directors. I've had other meetings, in this case with Garrigues, which is the company that has done the audit. We’ve to analyze everything that comes there, because we have to find a balance. Our commitment is to seek the benefit of Deportivo. It is a delicate topic.

Q: It means that, until you present the data to the board of directors, no action will be made.
A: Indeed. I will present it to the board of directors and will think of it taking in mind the good of Deportivo, but hey, there are issues of many kinds. Off course Deportivo isn’t as an example of business organization. We knew it, but now we have confirmed it in writing.

Q: What to expect from the budget for next year?
A: The budget may have some clauses that will change, but the certain thing is that we still have time to make the presentation to La Liga.

Q: When it will take place the next shareholders meeting?
A: In September we will try to do everything, to approve everything that still pending, and even the accounts of this year and of course, the increase in the capital.

Q: How do you see the future once you get to know the club, and also the world of football in general?
A: From the point of view of Deportivo, I think we're going to consolidate at Primera. I am sure, that's the goal. We will reduce the debt, a very strong and a very clear cut, and I think we’ll leave a modernized club, 'more corporate' in the business part. In the case of Deportivo there is a deficit, it’s necessary, and now, knowing it from within, even more than confirmed. Modern football is an industry, very different from many years ago and the seriousness, rigor, management and the accounts are key. Cheating is more difficult. There is more control. That same Monday, in La Liga, we approved the ratios that the clubs must meet, and if they don’t do it, then they will not compete. There are clubs in Spain with the possibility of not being able to go out and compete. La Liga doesn’t want cases like Racing de Santander. That's the goal, and in sports to be in the 'top layer', means to bring problems to the big clubs. I give the example of Sevilla, but you can put other and from other countries. It would be our natural place.

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