Biography: José Yudica


José Yudica is a former Argentine football manager who was the first manager ever to win the Primera División with three different clubs. What is even more impressive is the fact that none of the teams he turned into championship winners were from the traditional big five.

Yudica was born in Rosario on 7 December 1936, he made his debut for his local team; Newell's Old Boys at the age of 17. He enjoyed a 16 year playing career with the likes of Boca Juniors, Vélez Sársfield, Estudiantes de La Plata, Quilmes and Platense, he also played four games for the Argentina national team. Yudica won his only silverware as a player with Colombian side Deportivo Cali in the late 1960s before returning to Argentina to play for 2nd division side San Telmo where he ended his playing career.

Yudica's first great success as a manager came in 1978 when he led Buenos Aires minnows Quilmes to their first and only championship; the Metropolitano 1978 only 3 years after they had been promoted from the 2nd level. In 1980 Yudica left Quilmes to take over at Estudiantes de La Plata, in his absence Quilmes struggled and were relegated to the 2nd division only 2 seasons after winning the Metropolitano championship.

Yudica returned to Quilmes in 1981 and secured their promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt with a 2nd place finish. Instead of continuing with Quilmes in the Primera División he was persuaded to take over at San Lorenzo who had been relegated from the Primera for the first time in their history the previous season. Yudica led them back to the Primera División as champions at the first attempt. He remained in charge of the club until 1985 when he took over at first time champions Argentinos Juniors after their previous manager Roberto Saporiti had left to take over at Colombian side Atlético Junior.

Yudica kept faith with most of Saporiti's championship winning players and helped them to win their 2nd consecutive league championship before leading them to triumph in the Copa Libertadores in 1985, beating América de Cali in the final. Argentinos Juniors became only the 2nd club to win South America's premier club competition at the first attempt after Brazilian side Flamengo in 1981.

Yudica also led Argentinos Juniors to victory in the now defunct Copa Interamericana in 1986 and a defeat on penalties after a 2-2 draw against Juventus in the 1985 Intercontinental Cup.

In 1987 Yudica returned to his boyhood club Newell's Old Boys as their manager and led them to the Primera Division championship in the 1987-88 season making him the first manager to win the Argentine league with three separate teams, the only other manager to achieve this feat since then is Américo Gallego who did it with River Plate, Independiente and Newell's Old Boys.

In 1990 Yudica took over at Colombian side Deportivo Cali before returning to Argentinos Juniors in 1992 where he had an infamous confrontation with the Barras Bravas (ultras) who accosted him after a practice session about why the team were performing badly in the league. He replied "I am the manager and you belong in the stands". This did not go down well and the irate fans attacked his son, who was his assistant kicking and punching him. Yudica eventually broke up the confrontation by firing a gun in the air, he immediately resigned as manager and severed all connections with the club where he had achieved some of his greatest managerial triumphs, having led them to national and international glory.

Yudica had a stint in charge of another of his former clubs in 1993 when he was manager of Platense and he returned as manager of Newell's once again in 1995. He won yet another league championship in 1996, but this time in Mexico with Pachuca. His last managerial appointment was back at Quilmes in 1997. He has not worked as a manager since then and has spoken of how he felt that he had been frozen out of the game.  He is now an old man and a virtually forgotten figure in Argentine football, which is a real shame because in terms of managerial achievement he is the Brian Clough of Argentine football.

See also

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