Interviews

LENDOIRO -PART II: "LA VOZ DE GALICIA IS TRYING TO DESTROY DEPORTIVO"

04 Jan 2007
Yesterday, deportivo-la-coruna.com published the interview that president Lendoiro gave to the prestigious paper <i>El Pa?s</i>, today we are offering the translation of the interview that he gave to <i>Depor Sport</i>, the official paper of Deportivo. This time, Lendoiro didn't bite his tongue, he officially accused the paper <i>La Voz de Galicia</i> of causing a negative campaign against him and the club. One that's blocking the intents to improve the situation of the club, including a mortgage over the Playa Club.

Q: What's your message to Depor's fans for the new year?
A: I want to wish a good 2007 for everybody. That's the first message that we have to transmit.

Q: It's a moment to be united, more than any time before.
A: Without doubt. In a sporting level, we have always insisted in our message of tranquility. When things were OK, we always asked for serenity, because we knew that to be too much optimistic was a stupid thing. We knew that this isn't a short-term project, this one will take us two or three years. We can't be optimistic during the good moments, neither pessimistic during the bad periods. That was a phrase that we used to say before. After the victories against Zaragoza, Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Atl?tico (Madrid), and also after the draw with Barcelona. I said it to every paper in Spain. That was the reality. It's important to remind this since some people are trying to provoke circumstances that are negative for the club. At this point, some circumstances could cause irreparable damage.

Q: Are you talking about the campaign lead by La Voz de Galicia?
A: Yes, and I am not talking only about what happened during the last board meeting. For a long time, they were selling more papers when Deportivo was in a better situation, and even in this case they criticised us, but not so much as they are doing right now. I have been never considered as the president of the victories and the titles, I am just the president of the defeats. The titles are of Deportivo are the defeats of Lendoiro and his board of directors. My biggest mistake was to try to make our Depor fans happier. I believed in a support that never came. Would anyone have thought that there was another way to build a team of champions?

Q: Which are the limits of this negative campaign against you and the club?
A: If this was a movement inside of the world of football, I am sure that the anti-violence committee will be acting against it. The damage could be very difficult to be repaired. This negative campaign could cause a lot of problems in the security aspect, and they should be responsible for what can occur.

Q: Do you think that there are hidden interests in this negative campaign?
A: Without doubt. The same paper (La Voz de Galicia) is putting pressure to the city council in order to avoid the possibility of a mortgage over the Playa Club. When we built the hotel, the mortgage was approved, and now, they are trying to block it although the same city council hasn't taken any initial decision. They have wrote a lot of lies, like saying that the space in which the Playa Club was built is a public space. The situation is intolerable. That's why we will present a lawsuit against La Voz de Galicia.

Q: Are they trying to leave you without support?
A: They want to drown the club in the economic aspect, and that's why they are putting a lot of pressure. They are pressuring the city council, the banks, the enterprises that were sponsoring us. This situation is killing us, because the financial institutions are in panic for the repercussions that they might face.

Q: Is this issue a confrontation from the past?
A: Yes, the only toy that they weren't managing was Deportivo, and it has been like that during the last nineteen years. We reached a point in which they are thinking that's the best moment to attack us and generate a huge damage against Deportivo.

Q: Maybe it's a personal thing against you?
A: Maybe it's like that, and they could do it or not. But it is a thing without importance. The damage has been done to Deportivo. The personal damage to me or my family is a relative thing. I can assume it at some point, but what I can't assume is that they are trying to sink Deportivo.

Q: They don't want to help the club.
A: Absolutely not. They pretend not to see bigger achievements and they don't want to see the arrival of a better board of directors. What they want is to see Lendoiro and the present board going down. But they are only sinking Depor. I agree that we should search for alternatives, but from a different financial view. It's fine to me to know that the symphonic orchestra is costing €12 million to the state, plus the contribution of some private enterprises. But, is it that the symphonic orchestra has made more for the city of La Coru?a than Deportivo? This is a serious situation that has to be denounced.

Q: This battle against you and the club, is it possible to find a turning point to it?
A: They want a toy in order to destroy it. They don't want to see it prettier, or to give more wagons to this electric train. Simply, they want to destroy it. And we have a  lot of people that are responsible for it, not only La Voz. Everybody must be responsible for its own piece. La Voz is the voice of this movement, the locomotive, but everybody must reflect on it. This can't be a bomb that will explode in some months. Everybody must be conscious, because later they will be judged by the people of La Coru?a and by the whole world. Deportivo isn't a game and some people are taking like it was. The only toy that Paco V??zquez (ex-mayor of the city) and company hasn't controlled is Deportivo.

Q: Is the club viable in the economic aspect?
A: Of course. It's viable since some time ago thanks to a clear plan made by us, but it's difficult to fulfil it. We have been trying to receive the help that we need, but the authorities haven't received us, we want to present the plan that we have.

Q: Do you believe that this situation is only causing more radical positions supporting or attacking you?
A: My biggest mistake was to try to see every Depor fan and every Galician celebrating the titles of Deportivo. The situation that we lived has helped us to make big signings in the moments in which the money was going in. The TV rights were better, besides we were in the Champions League, enjoying the incomes that this case means. During these years, we found a lot of institutions that were promising things that were never fulfilled. We all bet in a Deportivo that was searching for bigger things. In any case, it wouldn't exist as it did during a big part of its one hundred years of history.

Q: Why weren't we able to see a continuity to this brilliant trajectory?
A: What happened is that the people that promised us their support has failed. Depor left the Champions League and we lost this benefit, besides the fans were used to seeing us fighting for the titles. We have to remember that with the new system in the UEFA, we would be able to play the Champions League during nine consecutive occasions since our last promotion to Primera. In the year that we missed the title with that penalty against Valencia, we ended second, but we didn't play the Champions League in the following campaign. La Coru?a was used to it, and they don't support us as they did before.

Q: That's why the operation searching for the increase in capital was stopped.
A: Yes. We created this operation and Depor's fans didn't help us in the percentage that we wanted. We haven't been able to put the club's capital in the level that we need. This is a thing that must be modified.

Q: So, the solution is to change the rules and lift the limit of the one percent?
A: During the next days, and as an imminent thing, we will call for an extraordinary session in order to know the opinions of everybody. We will eliminate the limit of the 1% and we will see somebody owning the 80% or 90% of the club. What's clear is that the club needs funds.

Q: Does this mean that this is the only solution left?
A: Of course, this isn't a whim. It isn't an accident, it's a necessity. We have to be conscious that the money has to flow from somewhere. With the money recollected from the sale of tickets and from the figure of the socios, we are only getting €7 million, and it's clear that we can't work with that amount. We have to work with the plan of feasibility that we want to present to the Galician institutions, and that was promised to us. In any case, we will have to leave the present exposition. Maybe we have to attend to these two issues: a plan of viability with the institutions, and a complementary plan without the limit of one percent.

Q: Is Deportivo an attractive option to other possible investors?
A: Any team in Primera is an attractive place.

Q. About the change in the rule of the 1%, does this measure need the approval from the city council? Is it necessary in order to continue enjoying the current situation with Riazor?
A: As I said it before this isn't a whim. We have to talk with the city council. We tried to recollect the money that we wanted with the operation that searched the increase in the club's capital, but it didn't work. We only recollected 5% of what we wanted. The only way to go out is to erase the rule of the 1%.

Q: What's the reason for the failure in this operation that was searching for the increase in the capital?
A: The entities that should try to motivate the people failed, the media and the financial institutions also failed, but the first ones that had to support us were the socios and the shareholders.

Q: What's your opinion about the opposite side that has born inside of the club?
A: That's their business, I don't have to say anything about them.

Q: Is the new stadium a possibility to solve the current problems in the club?
A: Sure, a new stadium and the situation generated as a consequence of it, is the same solution that has been found everywhere: Atl?tico de Madrid, Barcelona, Espanyol, Valencia, Levante, Betis, Zaragoza, Athletic (Bilbao)... there are a lot of examples. It's the same formula built up to help this entities, especially for a club with 20,000 shareholders and minimal participation. It will be a new entity in the city and not only a new business. But they are prohibiting a mortgage over the Playa Club, a lot of parking buildings and the same Casa del Agua (an institution that administrates the water resources of the city) have been built under this formula. What you are putting at risk, are the ownership that you have, that's the concession given by the city. If you don't pay, the bank will take your part, in other words, the bank would take care of the concession.

Q: Is this negative campaign against the club blocking some economic deals with some financial institutes?
A: Yes, a lot of them. For example, we have closed a deal with a bank and we are just waiting for the permission of the city government, and La Voz is the one that's putting pressure on the city council in order to block it, they are giving the wrong information about the circumstances of the mortgage over the Playa Club.

Q: What's the state of your relationship with the mayor of La Coru?a?
A: We have been waiting for a reunion with the mayor since eight months ago. I am sure that he has other important things to attend, and I understand it, but I am also sure that Deportivo is an important thing. We will continue asking for this meeting. In any case, I won't discard that this meeting hasn't happened for some pressure that's coming from the Vatican (one of Lendoiro's enemies and ex-mayor of La Coru?a, Paco V??zquez, is the current Spanish ambassador in the Vatican).

Q: Maybe all this negative campaign against you and Deportivo is happening since it has been speculated that you could be returning to the political life.
A: I will not discard this option.

Q: Do you believe that La Voz will continue with this policy of  'harassment and demolition'?
A: I guess so. I remember that when we achieved the promotion to Primera after nineteen years in Segunda, the paper didn't mention the board of directors at all. They just dedicated a line to us. At that moment, everybody was a winner: the mayor, the deputy, the Xunta, the sporting delegate... but we weren't existing. Since then and during a lot of time, my name never appeared. They just talked about me as the president, the maximum official, the responsible of the club... a lot of definitions.

Q: In other words... they were ignoring you.
A: I remember a curious incident: one day, during a meeting of important personalities, a guy got closer to Juan Ram??n D?az (ex-director of La Voz de Galicia), and said that he had big news that should be announced, everybody was speculating about it and insisted to hear this news. At the end, this guy said: "Hey Jos? Ram??n!, I already know the name of the president of Deportivo!"

Q: Very curious.
A: Yes, another interesting fact occurred during the elections in 1991, the day before the election campaign was over. They published a photo of me as a candidate that was closing the campaign at the Col??n theatre. But the photo that appeared in the paper was of my back. This is a little example of how La Voz handles these kind of cases.

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