10 January 2016

A tale of two cities

This is probably my last look at AD Alcorcón, you may be pleased to hear, but I find it interesting that there's such a difference in their fortunes and Charlton's.

Yesterday, while relegation-haunted Charlton were losing to Colchester, currently one of the worst teams in League 1, Alcorcón gained a 1-0 win over Girona, taking them into third place in the Spanish Second Division, ie well within reach of promotion to La Liga and games against Real Madrid, Barcelona, etc.

Like Charlton, Alcorcón is a club on the outskirts of the capital, but it is newer (founded in 1971) and has a much smaller capacity (6,000), so its achievement is remarkable. And the most amazing thing of all is that Duchâtelet's ownership hasn't wrecked it.  I think the reason may be linguistic.

To get on in Belgium, you really need to speak two languages: French and Flemish. If you have any international ambition, English too. Three languages is enough for most people, and I'd bet that very few Belgians bother learning Spanish, for example. Probably not Duchâtelet or his cronies, at any rate.

And so he can't simply send in his own people to run the club. He needs Spanish-speakers. In the organisation chart of Alcorcón, almost all the names seem to be Spanish.

The head coach,  Juan Ramón López Muñiz, is every bit as Spanish as his name. Born in Gijón, he had a playing career with Sporting and Rayo Vallecano, and a management career with Español, Málaga and Racing Santander, sometimes working under Juande Ramos. It's fair to say he knows the Spanish game. I imagine he, and the local management, are pretty much left to get on with things most of the time.

Seems so obvious, doesn't it? If you want to be successful, employ people who know what they're doing and let them do it. That's what Duchâtelet seems to have done, almost by accident, in Alcorcón.

Learning from mistakes can be hard for some people: in the first place, you have to accept that you've made mistakes, and some people will never do that. But learning from your successes - seeing where you've done things well and trying to repeat that - if you can't do that, you're an idiot.

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