Aragones' rocky tenure as Spain coach nears the end

Spain's controversial coach will leave his post after this tournament having already considerably over-stayed his welcome, or courageously survived in the face of lonely adversity, depending on who you speak to.

His supporters point to the run of 15 games without defeat that followed his latest scrape with the sack. He turned around their qualifying campaign, taking them from the jaws of failure to qualify comfortably as group winners.

His detractors would rather dwell on the three times he should have walked and yet somehow survived.

He went into the last World Cup finals saying if he did not take Spain to the semi-finals he would resign. He could not even get them to the quarter-finals and yet somehow stayed in his job.

He then oversaw defeats to Northern Ireland and Sweden in the qualifying campaign and actually offered to resign after the first of those two reverses, saved this time by the incompetence of the Spanish FA who found it easier to ignore the polls suggesting up to 85 per cent of fans wanted rid of him, than dismiss him and begin the search for a replacement.

And aside from results on the pitch he might also have been clearing his desk in 2004 after he was caught on microphone motivating then Arsenal winger Jose Antonio Reyes by means of a racist slur directed at Reyes' then team-mate Thierry Henry. Again it appears to have been the incompetence of his employers that saved him.

This season his decision to drop the undroppable Raul has earned him even more enemies. In keeping with his somewhat clumsy style he dropped Raul when the player's form had actually improved having stuck by him during some of the striker's worst performances. But results since the decision to axe the capitan have been favourable and as the tournament approaches the so-called wise man of Hortaleza (his home town) has seen his credit rise.

The disagreements with journalists and fans that have marked his tenure will go with him right to the end of his contract which runs-out when Spain's involvement in Euro 2008 ends.

Only last week he exchanged words with a fan who shouted "Grandad" at him from the stands of one of Spain's open training sessions. Advising the spectator to show more respect unless he wanted a face-to-face meeting.

Grandad is also the term used affectionately by many of the players who have played under him. Samuel Eto'o who famously defended Aragones at the height of the race row refers to him as such. And current Spain midfielder Marcos Senna did likewise last week.

Aragones will be 70 years old 23 days after the Euro 2008 final. He will by then be Spain's former coach having either confirmed the "wise man" tag once and for all with a glorious bowing-out... or just confirmed the foolishness of those who, so many times, failed to fire him.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence