Spain's third tier
The town of Tudela is situated 90 kilometres south of Pamplona - the city famous for its Running of the Bulls fiesta. It is the economic hub of the Ribera Navarra region and boasts a football team, Tudelano (founded in 1935), who are ninth in Group 1 of the Second Division B. Later today, the club is expected to officially announce the arrival of a new coach, John Clarkson - who will pay to take the manager's job out of his own pocket. According to local reports, Clarkson will deposit 50,000 euros into the club's coffers this season and a further 100,000 euros the next.
Nor will it be some hare-brained scheme for the 60-year-old football-crazy Scot; Clarkson has already had several similar experiences - with varying degrees of success with teams in the lower leagues in and around Valencia since 2009. He paid to take the reins of three lower league clubs - UD Benissa, Crevillente Deportivo and FBCD Catarroja. With the latter, he guided the team to the promotion Play-Offs for the Second Division B three seasons ago - curiously against Tudelano. The team was eliminated but he established his first contacts with the Navarra-based club where he is due to take charge today. His most recent experience was with a side from the same category, Ontinyent CF, who he kept in the division.
Clarkson's modus operandi is always the same: he will look for clubs who are in dire straits and offer liquidity on the condition that he takes up the coaching post. That is not quite the case with Tudelano. Firstly, they are not a Public Limited Sports Company. Like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Osasuna, they are owned by club members (between 800 and 900). They have an operating budget of around one million euros per year, and their situation is far from critical, but with such a modest number of socios, they are unable to meet two fines issued by the Spanish Tax Agency - the most recent of which, for 182,000 euros, landed on the club's doormat two months ago.
Clarkson is due to arrive in Tudela today and the club will annonuce his appointment somt time this afternoon. Tudelano sacked coach Sergio Amatriain before Christmas and have been relying on the coaching skills of fitness trainer Iñigo Valencia to manage the team since then; he will remain at the club as Clarkson's assistant.