Marbella FC have announced the departure of manager José Manuel Aira following a dire run of results. Aira left the club on Tuesday morning after finishing second bottom of the ten-team Group IV-B of Segunda B. The club, already condemned to relegation to the newly-restructured fourth division, has made the decision before the next stage of the season in which they will battle against dropping to the new Tercera RFEF, the fifth tier of the Spanish football pyramid.
The decision was made between Aira, sporting director Víctor Moreno and general director Héctor Morales but, for many at the club, it had only been a matter of time. In fact, calls for the coach’s departure have been made since December when the team went into the winter break eighth in the table. Until now, the coach had been given the backing of the club’s hierarchy but this could not change the reality that Aira was falling well short of the standards expected by the ambitious club.
To try to improve the team’s fortunes, he began to alter his usual 4-3-3 formation after much criticism of his rigidity. Other changes made included a team bonding dinner, far greater squad rotation and efforts to shore up the team’s leaky defence. However, this was not enough and Aira could only ever show fleeting glimpses of his capabilities.
Given that the club’s managing group Best of You sacked previous boss David Cubillo at the end of last season despite him achieving the best unbeaten run in the club’s history, expectations for Aira coming in were always going to be high. He was expected not only to win matches but to also play an attractive brand of football.
Instead, his Marbella side was, by his own admission, too fragile, nervy and weak to succeed. Aira’s main supporter within the hierarchy was Moreno, who came in for as much if not more criticism than the coach after bringing in several players who failed to make an impact on the team.
Aira joined Marbella on 3 August last year but now, just seven and a half months later, finds himself out of work. It was only through the board's blind faith in him that he even lasted this long.