Making Real Madrid look the picture of stability, Deportivo AlavÃ©s has fired 4 managers in the space of 6 months. The Guardian’s Sid Lowe on “Everyone’s favourite Renaissance Prince – owner, president, coach, delegate, kit-man and all-round deranged despot,” Dimitry Pietrman.
You have to pity the fool but Piterman’s latest victim, Juan Carlos Oliva, really should have known better. Because, if there’s one thing you never do at AlavÃ©s it’s overshadow the boss – and if there is one thing you never, ever do it’s disagree with him. Suicidally, Oliva did both.
Money talks and Piterman has lots and lots of money. He also has a thirst for power and an ego so grotesquely inflated it frequents the same plastic surgeon as Jordan’s bust. This is the man who, without a hint of irony, likens his attempts to change Spanish football to Copernicus’s efforts to prove the world is round; who claimed that bracketing him with AtlÃ©tico Madrid’s legendary axe-wielding, belt-yielding president JesÃºs Gil was akin to “comparing Gandhi with Hitler”; and who posed naked, but for a strategically placed tactics board, for InterviÃº magazine.
He is a man who, like Richard Branson and his half-arsed attempts to fly round the world (again), loves being the centre of attention, cheerily announcing: “The poor Spanish had never seen anything like me”. They certainly hadn’t. Plenty of presidents dabble in real-life Championship Manager but none are so blatant about it, openly taking inspiration from Sandie Shaw when it comes to naming coaches. Piterman’s men are mere puppets on a string. For him, running the club is not enough; he also wants to run the team.
And that is the problem. On Thursday night, Oliva appeared on a radio show and insisted: “I make the decisions here.” By Friday morning, he was the ex-coach – sacked for “insubordination”.
Oliva, you see, wanted AlavÃ©s to continue with a 4-4-2 formation while Piterman was determined to switch to a 4-3-3 so that he could play NenÃ© up front where he was more likely to attract big offers. Oliva refused, arguing that 4-4-2 with NenÃ© on the left was working and, suddenly, it was all over. The cosy consensus had lasted five weeks, which was, at least, five weeks longer than AlavÃ©s’s first coach lasted – Rafa Monfort didn’t even manage to start the season.