On 1 June, As will have a new editor-in-chief: Vicente Jiménez, whose career and achievements are set out in today’s printed edition here in Spain. It’s more then sufficient to say that in his career, in which he started out as a sports journalist, he’s been deputy editor-in-chief of El País and managing director of radio network SER. His appointment, which was communicated to the newsroom on Tuesday afternoon, is a guarantee of happy continuity and improvement at As over the coming years. His arrival, which I’m delighted by, allows me to step aside and leave behind the tension and long hours of my current job, where I’ve been for 23 years, and will let me dedicate my time to the more enjoyable part of my duties: writing for all of you.
A year ago I asked the company to look for a replacement for me. I said there was no need to rush, but did ask for the matter not to be forgotten. My plan back then was for the change to happen when it ended up happening, with the arrival of the good weather. For a few months they tried to change my mind, which I took as a compliment, but I’d already taken the decision to create for myself a ‘beatus ille’* where I could write columns and appear on Carrusel Deportivo on the SER, but without the daily stress. I had to resort to one of Valdano’s phrases for them to finally pay attention to me: “When they say you’re leaving, it’s because you’ve already gone”. The process in the end has worked out very happily.
This is a goodbye in advance, or a sort of half-farewell, because I’m still in charge of the newspaper, with all the responsibilities that go with it, until 31 May. As of then I’ll carry on linked to the paper as Honorary President, a recognition that fills me with great satisfaction, and I’ll carry on writing to the extent that the new director Vicente Jiménez wants me to. Let this column be an explanation to you, the reader who is there every day - and I apologise for leaving until the very end what, under normal circumstances, would have been today’s subject matter: the expression of my desire for a healthy scoreboard in favour of Barcelona on Wednesday evening which will guarantee them a relaxed return trip to Anfield.
*‘Happy is the man…’ from Horace’s second Epode which praises a relaxed country life peacefully working one’s land.