Poyet’s first reign in Spain

It didn’t seem to take long for Gustavo Poyet and Real Betis to reach an agreement. The Uruguayan, linked to a return to England with Nottingham Forest, will spend the next two seasons in charge of Betis – all going well.

His contract does contain certain get out clauses were something to go wrong, and slightly worryingly for Betis fans he has yet to complete two full seasons as Coach at a top level club.

His journey began as assistant manager to Dennis Wise at Swindon Town and Leeds United before taking the step up to the Premier League as assistant manager to Juande Ramos at Tottenham Hotspur.

In 2009 he was offered his first managerial position at Brighton & Hove Albion and in his first full season he led the club to promotion as League One Champions, named League One Manager of the Year in the process. He helped the club grow, establishing them as a Championship club gearing for promotion, but was eventually dismissed in 2013.

In October that same year, he was hired as Head Coach of Sunderland in the Premier League. He guided them to the League Cup final in his first season but was ultimately sacked in March 2015 after a drop in form, leaving the club close to relegation.

His recent spell with Greek team AEK Athens has represented little more than a stopgap, the ex-Chelsea midfielder pouncing at the opportunity to take over at Benito Villamarin. 

It constitutes Poyet’s first position as Coach in Spain, a country he knows well from his seven-year period as a player with Real Zaragoza. He is believed to have impressed the board with his ambition to help Betis grow as a club and received the approval of Miguel Torrecilla. The new Sporting Director actually attempted to sign Poyet as Coach for Celta Vigo on two occasions, Luis Enrique and Eduardo Berizzo ultimately preferred.  

It’s already been ushered that Poyet will be joined by fitness coach Marcos Alvarez and first team coach Mauricio Tauricco. Alvarez is highly regarded as one of the best fitness coaches worldwide, having worked at Sevilla, Tottenham and Real Madrid among others. Hard work and energy are key components of a Gus Poyet side and the addition of Alvarez will be key to that.

The current Betis squad is fairly aged, and it may be that Poyet looks to bring in youthful players that can adhere to his philosophy. He likes to form his own squad and hasn’t been afraid to spend in the past – during pre-season in 2011 he twice broke Brighton’s record transfer fee. There are funds available but he will have to work closely with Torrecilla.

Angel Haro, President at Betis, has already thrown down the gauntlet for Poyet and his team. “The objective for Betis is to be among the top 10 and anything else would be considered a failure for everyone involved at the club,” he said at a recent event. Top 10 would be good, but Betis fans will be dreaming of more.