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Miguel Garza’s exit could signal end of an era for Tigres

The mastermind behind the club’s entire golden age is now gone

FBL-MEX-LEON-TIGRES Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

The news broke this past Tuesday that Tigres’ president Miguel Garza was leaving the club. With much unclarity about the details regarding the occurrence, the common reaction in everyone was total disbelief. A young, yet tremendously experienced and successful president who guided Tigres to its ‘golden age’ and to becoming the team of the 2010s decade who was supposed to retire with the club. Winners of five league titles in Garza’s tenure, one Copa MX title, and two more league final appearances, Tigres easily eclipsed any other team in the league during the past decade, despite the fact of being unable to win an international championship, where they still garnered four finals appearances (three CCL, one Copa Libertadores).

With many rumors going around regarding why Garza was ultimately let go by club owner CEMEX, one that stands out the most was is there were many disagreements on recent player transactions, something that didn’t bode well with the board of directors. This is said to have caused friction in the relationship between the two parts, ultimately leading to the club president’s dismissal. Whatever the true reasons are, we may never know them.

What we do know is that Tigres faces its biggest challenge in over ten years. Despite the fact of Ing. Alejandro Rodríguez’s return to the club and ex-player Antonio Sancho taking over Garza’s duties, one of the two constant pieces in this entire decade of success was the presence of Miguel Garza himself as front office leader, with the other of course being head coach Ricardo Ferretti. Even during all of “Inge’s” years as club president, Garza was always around as vice-president and it was no secret that all of the club’s negotiations, planning, and dealing with players and coaches fell entirely on Garza’s shoulders. Most of the team’s success was thank to him. No discredit to Ing. Rodríguez of course, but it was the vice-president who was entirely responsible for the team’s overall operations season after season.

It is also no secret that “Tuca” Ferretti has a very tight friendship with both “El Inge” and Garza himself. However, Garza is the one who mostly dealt with and had an everyday relationship with the head coach. He is the one who kept Ferretti happy and knew how to work alongside him. And while Sancho has learned the ways of the business, there’s no telling what can happen now between him and a 66-year-old “Tuca” without Garza around.

Convincing players to join the squad, managing contracts effectively, replacing aging players (Lobos, Mancilla, Sobis) are just some of the vital tasks done to perfection by Garza. The team never lost that championship contender tag and remained a giant threat every single season, even when they weren’t in playoff positioning. Every time you saw Tigres playing, you knew they had a great chance to win. And even though that is in large part thanks to Ferretti’s discipline and great work ethic, Miguel Garza was the mastermind pulling the strings, dealing with players, and allowing Ferretti the liberty to work in whatever way he desired. Not only that, but he made it work with “Tuca”. Together, Ferretti and Garza made for one of the most successful Front Office/Head Coach duos in Mexican Football history.

That duo just ended a few days ago. The entire chemistry changes so much in these kinds of relationships, with both parts being so key for it to work. Now under Sancho’s leadership, the dynamic will change no doubt, as well as everything else Garza took care of. With an aging Ferretti at the helm, as confirmed by now president Alejandro Rodríguez during the week, who knows how long he’ll go along with a situation if he doesn’t find it to his utmost liking. We know how demanding successful head coaches such as Ferretti tend to be.

So, Tigres fans must be on the lookout. While their golden age coach and main players remain, and even with the return of “El inge” to club presidency only two years after having left it, the mastermind and key piece behind the entire operation is now gone. For the first time in a decade, someone other than Miguel Garza will be in charge of structuring and putting together a team that is expected to win the title every six months; a very high pressure position for Toño Sancho if you ask me. This move could indeed mark the beginning of the end of Tigres’ golden age in Mexican Football. Only time will tell.