By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Spanish third-tier team CD Tudelano have taken the unusual step of appointing Scottish businessman John Clarkson as coach on an 18-month contract without a salary, the club said on Thursday.
Clarkson, who owns a care home business in East Anglia, takes over a side who are ninth in Group 1 of the regionalized Second Division B. The 60-year-old has previous experience as coach of a number of non-league clubs in England and Spain.
His aim is to turn Tudelano, who are based in the Navarre region of northern Spain, into professional club by winning promotion to the Second Division A, which would require them to finish in the top four and go up via the playoffs.
Local media have reported that Clarkson will invest 50,000 euros ($53,290.00) in the financially-troubled club during his first season and 150,000 in the next one but the Scot has denied that he would be paying to coach the team.
“That’s a false story. We have got people behind us, people in India and someone in London who is sponsoring us, or basically sponsoring me, to coach the club,” he said in an interview with Sky Sports on Thursday.
Club president Jesus Miranda also rejected reports that Clarkson was paying to manage the side.
“He is not paying to coach, he’s looking to help the club become economically viable and (we) can recover everything if the team gets promoted to the Second Division A,” he told a news conference on Thursday.
“It’s an investment and if it goes well he well get it back and become a professional coach and earn a salary in the Second Division,” added Miranda.
The club’s current coach Inigo Valencia will return to his role as assistant coach three weeks after being promoted but will take charge of the team against Coruxo on Sunday.
“He (Clarkson) could have taken charge of the game on Sunday and he will be watching but he has asked that Inigo directs the team. This year is going to be a little bit of a transition for next season,” said Miranda.
“I’m happy with the agreement and the board of the directors are only looking out for the club’s best interests. Tudelano is a serious team which pays its dues and believes in its academy and wants to achieve great things.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)