That first year, I didn’t get anything. You see the months going by without anything coming up. Managers are fired, but you don’t get picked. They were difficult times.
I was living in Alicante at the time, and it was then that I got asked if I could manage the Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) team, made up of players without a club.
It was a new experience for me. It was the first time I’d been in front of 20 players in a dressing room, but I was able to train them in morning and afternoon sessions over the 10 days that the camp lasted. We also got to play five matches against other international teams.
It was a time that really showed me the other side of football.
In football, you always think that you’ll be working. That you’ll always be playing. But then you would see these players who, at that time, weren’t being given the chance. As a manager, nor was I.
“We were in Benidorm. Were the players going to go out partying? I didn’t have to say anything. They asked to work harder”
We were all starting out with the same goals. I remember that we had an initial chat to work out what those goals were. We knew that a lot of people would come to watch them in these friendlies. This would be a chance for them to find work.
But I had my doubts.
First of all, we were in Benidorm. Were the players going to go out partying? How would I run the schedule? The meal times, the training sessions?
But I didn’t have to say anything to them. They asked to work harder. It was amazing.
They were all very supportive of one another, too. There were no egos at play, and they all competed very well. I think they all found work. I’m convinced it was a very good experience and, to this day, after a long time, some of them still call me. I am very happy to have had that experience.