Josu Urrutia

Josu Urrutia Tellería (born 10 April 1968) is a Spanish former footballer who played as a defensive midfielder.

Josu Urrutia
Urrutia Lehendakaria Athletic-Napoli partidan izan da.jpg
Urrutia in 2014
Personal information
Full name Josu Urrutia Tellería[1]
Date of birth (1968-04-10) 10 April 1968 (age 53)
Place of birth Bilbao, Spain[1]
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9+12 in)[1]
Position(s) Defensive midfielder
Youth career
1977–1986 Athletic Bilbao
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984–1990 Bilbao Athletic 109 (13)
1988–2003 Athletic Bilbao 348 (10)
Total 457 (23)
National team
1990–2001 Basque Country 6 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

His 17-year senior career was solely connected with Athletic Bilbao for which he appeared in 348 La Liga matches over 16 seasons, scoring ten goals.[2] He later served a seven-year term as president of the club.

Playing careerEdit

Urrutia was born in Bilbao, Biscay, and was a product of the youth academy of Athletic Bilbao based at Lezama. He made his first appearance with the club's B side on 9 September 1984, aged only 16, due to a strike by the professional players, and lasted 67 minutes in a 3–1 home win against UD Salamanca in the second division.[3]

Urrutia appeared once for the first team during the 1987–88 season, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–1 home draw against Sporting de Gijón,[4] then amassed a further five La Liga games in the next while also experiencing a relegation followed by a promotion with the reserves. He began 1989–90 still registered with the latter but eventually broke into the former, scoring his first goal for them on 1 April 1990 to help to a 2–2 home draw to Real Valladolid which was played at neighbouring Real Sociedad's ground, Atotxa Stadium.[5]

From the 1990–91 campaign onwards, Urrutia became a very important first-team member, being a valuable midfield element with tackling and stamina skills and a perfect complement for the more attacking Julen Guerrero.[6] He appeared in 30 matches during 1997–98 as the Basques qualified for the UEFA Champions League, as runners-up.

After just 25 overall appearances from 2001 to 2003 combined – he only played one Copa del Rey game in the latter season – Urrutia retired at the age of 35 due to recurrent problems in his right knee, having appeared in 401 official matches.[7]


Urrutia (far left) in the directors' box at San Mamés alongside Iñigo Urkullu (Lehendakari of the Basque Community), 2016

On 7 July 2011, Urrutia won the presidential elections at his only club (54,36% of the votes), becoming only the fourth former player to be chosen for the post.[8] He promised to bring in Marcelo Bielsa as head coach if he was elected, and this eventually came to fruition.[9][10]

In March 2015, Urrutia was re-elected to serve another four-year term after being the only candidate to stand.[11] In the early days of his tenure he had appointed former teammate José Ángel Ziganda to become the coach of the reserves,[12] and six years later, still under the former's presidency, the latter was promoted to first-team duties;[13] he replaced another playing colleague of both men, Ernesto Valverde.[14]

In November 2018, Urrutia confirmed he would stand down as the president of Athletic Bilbao. During a spell heading an 'interim board' until his successor was elected, one of his final acts was to dismiss head coach Eduardo Berizzo – only appointed a few months earlier in place of Ziganda – due to poor results (again it was the reserve coach, this time Gaizka Garitano, who was invited to step into the role).[15] On 27 December, new presidential elections were held, in which Aitor Elizegi won.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Josu URRUTIA Tellería" (in Spanish). El Mundo. Retrieved 9 April 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ 300 rugidos (300 roars); Mundo Deportivo, 9 March 2000 (in Spanish)
  3. ^ 3–1: La juventud se impuso en San Mamés (3–1: Youth won at San Mamés); Mundo Deportivo, 10 September 1984 (in Spanish)
  4. ^ 1–1: Athletic y Sporting, plagados de bajas y de... errores (1–1: Athletic and Sporting, galore of absentees and... mistakes); Mundo Deportivo, 21 March 1988 (in Spanish)
  5. ^ El Athletic pinchó en el exilio (Athletic fumbled in exile); Mundo Deportivo, 2 April 1990 (in Spanish)
  6. ^ Historia de San Mamés: Exhibición de Julen Guerrero bajo la nieve (Story of San Mamés: Julen Guerrero show under the snow); Vavel, 22 January 2017 (in Spanish)
  7. ^ "Mi trayectoria es más que un título" ("My career means more than an honour"); Mundo Deportivo, 13 June 2003 (in Spanish)
  8. ^ "Josu Urrutia, new president". Athletic Bilbao. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Josu Urrutia confirma a Marcelo Bielsa como su entrenador si es presidente (Josu Urrutia confirms Marcelo Bielsa as his manager if he is president); Cadena SER, 30 June 2011 (in Spanish)
  10. ^ Bielsa: "Hay una proporción adecuada entre esfuerzo y creatividad" (Bielsa: "The proportion between effort and creativity is just right"); Marca, 7 July 2011 (in Spanish)
  11. ^ "Urrutia será proclamado presidente el próximo 20 de marzo" [Urrutia to be proclaimed president the next 20 March] (in Spanish). El Correo. 8 March 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "'Cuco' Ziganda quiere imprimir en el filial el estilo 'comprometido' de Bielsa" ['Cuco' Ziganda wants to imprint Bielsa's 'committed' style on the reserves] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "José Ángel Ziganda, Athletic Club's new manager". Athletic Bilbao. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Urrutia: "Ya lo dijo Valverde, de momento no hay noticias sobre su futuro"" [Urrutia: "Valverde has said it already, no news on his future for the moment"] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Lowe, Sid (11 December 2018). "Athletic Bilbao would rather be relegated than compromise their values as battle at bottom looms". ESPN. Retrieved 12 January 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Aitor Elizegi, new president of Athletic Club". Athletic Bilbao. 27 December 2018. Retrieved 2 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit