121 games and 3 years; that’s the tenure that Manolo Sanchez Nuñez served as Gibraltar United’s manager. A manager that saved our Premier League status against all the odds in his first season; consolidated our place in the league in his second season and missed out on Europa League qualification by one point in his third.
The club owes a great debt of gratitude to Manolo and his sturdy leadership that was able to guide and steer the club during some dark and dismal times. His time with Gibraltar United will be marked by the stunning achievement of staying in the top flight with a squad comprised of 100% local players for two successive season. His Gibraltar United was characterised by its tough defensive stance and its stubborn resistance which made it difficult to score against but was also able to get a result when most needed. It was no surprise to see him get the Manager of the Year award in his first year with the club as he saw off the challenge of Angels FC and Britannia to keep the Club in the top flight.
He went one better in his second season and took the club to 7th place in the league once again relying on a 100% local playing staff. Once again he looked to build a defensive rock on which to break the opponent’s defence on and by beating the teams around us, he improved on the previous season’s placement in the league and steadied the ship as the club was taken over by Michel Salgado, Pablo Dana and the Heritage Group. As the quality of the playing staff improved with the level of investment coming in Manolo was given the tools to make a substantial statement in the league in 2017-18.
That he most certainly did. A stellar campaign followed with wins over Lincoln and Europa as well as a semi-final appearance in the Rock cup. He kept the club in the fight for European football until the last kick of the season and only fell at the last hurdle with a solitary point keeping his side for the Europa league. The football played was of a high quality at times and an attacking flair was added to the solid defensive unit Manolo had built.
Alas nothing last forever and the Club and Manolo have parted ways in the most amicable manner. He leaves with our gratitude and friendship and he also leaves with the knowledge that he laid the foundation blocks of our success through his hard work and dedication to the cause. El Chupete will be missed and everyone at the Club wishes him the best for the future and if the case is that we cross swords on the field of battle we will be friends before and after the 90 minutes. Suerte Mister y gracias por todo!