Javier Iruretagoyena Amiano
(born April 1
), also referred to as Javier Irureta
, is a Spanish football manager
and former player.
Irureta had a distinguished playing career as a forward with both Atlético Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. Along with Adelardo, Luis Aragonés and José Eulogio Gárate, he was a prominent member of the successful Atlético team of the early 1970s.
As a manager he coached several La Liga clubs, most notably Deportivo de La Coruña. He is the only person to have coached both the two major Galician (Deportivo de La Coruña and Celta de Vigo) and Basque (Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad) sides.
As a player Irureta made his senior debut for his local team, Real Unión
in 1965. In 1967 he helped them reach the Segunda División
play-offs before joining Atlético Madrid
later that year. During his time at Atlético he was part of a team that won two league
titles and a domestic cup
. They also reached the European Cup
final in 1974. After the winners, Bayern Munich
, declined to participate in the Intercontinental Cup
Atlético, as runners-up, were invited instead. Their opponents were Club Atlético Independiente
and, after losing the away leg 1-0, they won the return leg 2-0 with Irureta scoring one of the goals.
After eight seasons at Atlético, Irureta returned to the Basque Country
and signed for Athletic Bilbao
. The highlight of his career there was winning two runners-up medals in 1977 - Spanish and UEFA Cups
. Among his teammates were the veteran José Ángel Iribar
and an emerging José Ramón Alexanko
. Irureta returned to Athletic as coach during the 1994/95 season.
Irureta also won 6 caps for Spain
between 1972 and 1975. However this was not a successful era for Spain and he never played in a major tournament. Towards the end of his playing career Irureta also played one game for the Euskadi XI
Deportivo de La Coruña
As a coach, Irureta led Real Oviedo
to a sixth-place finish in the league, with UEFA Cup qualification. He repeated the feat with Celta (where he was awarded Manager Of the Year
titles by both Don Balón
and El País
) in 1998. However, his greatest successes came with Deportivo La Coruña, between 1999 and 2005 (in 2000, Don Balón bestowed upon him a second coaching award). In 2000 he led Deportivo to their first ever league title. They were also runners-up in 2001 and 2002 and finished third in 2003 and 2004, while also achieving UEFA Champions League
quarterfinals in 2001 and 2002 and the semifinalis in 2004. In 2002 they also won the domestic cup, beating Real Madrid
at the Bernabéu
Irureta quit as coach of Real Betis
after the club's poor start to 2005-06
, stepping down on December 22
, after just seven months in charge. Irureta, who had a one-year contract, stated: "My contract has been rescinded by mutual agreement but I made the first move. We could have continued like this for much longer but it wasn't good".
In October 2007, Irureta put his name forward to be the new coach of English
side Bolton Wanderers
, but lost out in the running to Gary Megson
, and was also touted by December as possible replacement for Real Sociedad's Chris Coleman
Eventually, he took over at Real Zaragoza, replacing Víctor Fernández. However, on March 3, 2008, he resigned, arguing that never, as a manager, had he lost 4 games in a row, and that he did not feel up to the task of stopping the side's slump into the relegation zone. He was quickly replaced by former Zaragoza goalkeeper Manolo Villanova, who at the time coached Sociedad Deportiva Huesca.