Bilbao Defeat of Man Utd

By Leon Emirali

After a battle over two legs, Athletic Bilbao overcame one of Europe’s most famous and successful football clubs in Manchester United. As a result of these games Athletic received significant media coverage from all forms of media in the UK both print and broadcast.

The observation made by the group was the majority of coverage had been successful, praising Bilbao’s ‘Cantera’ policy of only fielding Basque heritage players. Prominent pundits such as Stan Collymore, Nicky Butt and Tom Vickerson all lauded the policy as the club are not relying on financial power and instead ‘farming’ their own players all of one collective, creating a greater sense of identity and direction within the club. Even the notoriously hard-to-please United manager Sir Alex Ferguson commented that “There is a great sense of unity at the club”.

But while the footballing world gashes over how wonderful such a policy is, one must be left to wonder what the consequences are of a highly tribal, charged and seperatist way of running a football club. During collective discussion we coming to the conclusion that on a socio-economic level such a policy can have highly damaging consequences.

In an increasingly globalised world we are given a constant reminder of how the gap between world cultures is closing and creating a unified global perspective, perhaps a reason behind their being no major escalative global conflict since 1945. However, whilst the Basque country strive for independence and recognition, and using the club as a vehicle for such a message; violent consequences have often ensued.

When considering the benefits of identity in football, and indeed the reasons why identity exists we can point toward the violent power struggles that are being undertaken by ETA. Killing almost 900 people over a blood-ridden half-century ETA have gained  a fearsome reputation in mainland Spain with attacks targeting public institutes and transport; culminating to their most deadly attack in years in October 2000 when a car bomb exploded in Madrid killing 75 people, including a supreme court judge.

Our task over the ensuing days leading to our presentation, will be to identify just how much support exists for the club’s policy and to find a link behind the correlation between the club’s identity and the more contentious issue of Basque independence.

With recent events of the collapse and near-death of Bolton player Fabrice Muamba has led to many pundits claim that ‘this shows there is much more to life than football’. Perhaps those lauded Athletic Bilbao had failed to take that speculation into account.

REFERENCES:

Photograph Available: http://z6.invisionfree.com/UltrasTifosi/index.php?showtopic=3184&st=176

It’s Far More Important Than That: Football Fandom and Cultural Capital

It’s Far More Important Than That: Football Fandom and Cultural Capital Brendan Richardson, UCC, Ireland Darach Turley, Dublin City University, Ireland

http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/eacr/vol8/eacr_vol8_94.pdf

A clear focus on the following concepts: Neotribalism – Neotribalism or modern tribalism is the ideology that human beings have evolved to live in tribal society, as opposed to mass society, and thus will naturally form social networks constituting new “tribes.” (see also – The Time of the Tribes: The Decline of Individualism in Mass Society, a book by Michel Maffesoli) Subculture Cultural Capital Subcultural Capital – an idea touched on with the article, pretty self-explanatory… the non-financial and social assets of a culture that is (in some form) differentiated from the larger culture to which it operates within, or belongs. Habitus The following extract from the article outlines, in essence, the relationships and roles between fans, players, the game itself , in a sense of ‘neotribalism’. ‘Participation in ritualised singing and chanting has a number of additional effects. It bonds the fans together as a group, deepening the felt sense of group identity (Belk 1988, McCracken 1988:87).

It provides opportunities for narcissistic display (Maffesoli 1996) while satisfying the taste for communal festivity and immediate gratification at times when the match itself is not entertaining (Bourdieu 1984:34). It also deepens the felt sense of participation in the tribal hunt (Morris 2002:467-469). Morris conceptualises sports activity in terms of a pseudo-hunt which allows both participant and spectator to exercise the instinctive need to hunt, born of primeval man but still subconsciously present in the contemporary consumer.Football in particular provides all the necessary excitement of the hunt, with its drama, physical exertions, and the need to aim (the football) at the prey (the goalmouth). The supporters, with their rhythmical drumming, singing, and chanting, actively participate in encouraging the lead hunters (the players) and intimidating or attempting to intimidate the hunters (both team and supporters) from the rival tribe, who, in providing the opposition, play a central role in the drama.

The atmosphere at a football match is therefore most highly charged when the home fans’ main rivals are in town, because this chief group of ‘others’ allows the ‘home’ fans to experience a particularly intense celebration of their own identity (Aharpour 1999:11 & 228). The ‘away’ fans are thus an important catalyst in enabling the home fans to maintain the sacredness (Belk et al 1989) of their tribal identity with an intensity that is usually only experienced on a handful of occasions. The presence of major rivals is usually required, so there is a noticeable qualitative difference in the atmosphere when Liverpool play against Manchester United rather than against Fulham, for example, or when Cork City play against Shamrock Rovers rather than Derry. The die-hard fans see it as their duty to contribute to this atmosphere, in order to secure a successful outcome to the hunt.’ The following extract helps outline the strong sense of fandom within the Athletic Bilbao community, as their financial independence and non-consumer attitude is revered.

‘A clear pattern in studying so called hardcore fans is that their definition of ‘real’ fandom typically does not make reference to consumer goods. It is interesting therefore to consider the choices of goods and services that they do make. ‘Real’ fans are those who practice voluntary frugality in relation to consumption of goods and services. Fans will sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to follow their team, home or away, using the most frugal means of transport available.’ The article gives a clear framework and understanding of concepts like cultural capital, and habitus in relation to the world of association football. Some areas in the article also point strongly to why Athletic Bilbao have such a strong sense of community and passion as ‘real’ football fans. For example, is is arguable that the article provides factors for measurement of ‘hardcore’, ‘real’, or ‘true’ fandom within the football clubs community.

Those factors are:

Stress/weight of cultural capital – VS – stress/weight of consumer capital

Sense of clear identity and a strong habitus

[Ben]

and the South

Sadly not much to say in this post, I went to Southern Spain as part of a separate filming project (a short western movie) I had intended that I would use any down time on and off set to try and document the surroundings in  relation to the 380MC project surrounding football culture. While I most defiantly took notice of specific forms of football memorabilia I was unable to get any “hard” evidence such as visual or audio records due to my role as part of the film production. Any spare time was used resting or preparing for the next day’s filming.

What I was able to observe how ever was that there is still a passion for even in the most remote regions of Spain. Starting in Malaga, along the drive to Almeria and then to Tabernas there were signs of the big Spanish football teams such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Espanyol Valencia etc. this reach even into the smallest of bars in area surrounding Almeria where flags and scarf of the afore mentioned teams can be seen hanging, with no sign of Real Sociedad nor Athletic Club. Another member of the crew also reported seeing two young children in a super market holding up a deodorant can with the Real Madrid colours on it as if they were holding the World Cup and chanting in a excitingly happy manner. Many businesses along the long roads proudly displayed these football teams’ flags just the same as the bars and restaurants.

Malaga, Almeria, Tabernas Route

Malaga, Almeria, Tabernas Route

Graffiti just as with Bilbao was everywhere. While a lot of it appeared to be nothing more than personal tags one thing kept cropping up this was the symbol for anarchy or “Circle-A”.

"Anarchy" or "Circle-A"

While I have no pictures of this graffiti in the south of Spain I do however have images of it being used in Bilbao.

Athletic Club Flag

Athletic Club Flags

Possible Anarchy Symbols

Anarchy Graffitti

While this post should in no way be taken to suggest that Athletic Club support concepts of anarchy which are linked to this symbol.It is however interesting that this is not just graffiti around the city but it proudly displayed on their football team’s flag. This is certainly would be giant leap in logic to make such a connection without any further research into the actual meaning of the symbol and what it’s possible re-appropriation by Athletic Club.

Obliviously in the area we were working in, travelling and staying the architecture was vastly different to that of the city of Bilbao. There are vast amounts of what appears to be never ending space occupied only by shrubbery, farm land and giant wind farms and no surprising give this area’s relationship with spaghetti westerns many of the buildings derelicts, occupied or place of business had a quaint “old timey” feel. While Bilbao also felt quaint to us during our field research there were no giant tower blocks based on a foundation of fast consumerism in the south of Spain, at least none that I could see. The biggest difference I could see, and see for miles, was space … and a lot of British people.

While this is just words (obvious as well) and may not be able to support any of our work so far or to come I feel these anecdotes should be if only briefly shared.

[Nic]

REAL SOCIEDAD AND ATHLETIC BILBAO TEAM PROFILES

An important element of our research to familiarize ourselves with both teams in terms of knowing the players, particularly Bilbao as we certainly need to know the basics before we go, the players names, positions, additional info e.t.c. {sulaiman}

Real Sociedad Squad Stats (Spanish Primera División) – 2011-12

GOALKEEPING STATISTICS

NUM

NAME

GS

SB

SV

GC

FC

FS

YC

RC

W

L

D

1

Claudio Bravo

19

0

67

27

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

25

Tono

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

13

Zubikarai

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

OUTFIELD STATISTICS

NUM

NAME

GS

SB

G

SH

SG

A

FC

FS

YC

RC

17

David Zurutuza

16

1

0

13

2

0

40

36

2

0

9

Imanol Agirretxe

15

2

5

39

14

2

16

27

1

0

26

Iñigo Martínez

15

0

3

11

5

0

20

11

4

2

7

Antoine Griezmann

14

3

2

41

12

1

14

16

4

0

2

Carlos Martinez

14

1

0

4

1

2

9

26

2

1

23

Carlos Vela

13

3

2

35

10

3

19

30

0

0

16

Vadim Demidov

13

2

0

3

1

1

5

14

2

0

11

Mikel Aranburu

12

2

1

14

2

0

8

15

3

0

22

Daniel Estrada

11

4

2

5

2

0

6

14

2

0

3

Mikel Gonzalez

11

3

0

3

0

0

10

3

3

0

10

Xabi Prieto

11

5

0

9

3

2

7

21

0

0

24

Alberto de la Bella

10

0

0

3

0

0

6

6

2

0

18

McDonald Mariga

10

4

0

14

1

0

16

12

1

0

4

Gorka Urkola

6

0

0

8

3

0

7

8

0

1

20

Illarramendi

6

2

0

7

1

0

17

12

3

0

19

Cadamuro

5

5

0

2

1

0

7

6

3

0

5

Markel Bergara Larrañaga

3

0

0

1

0

0

3

4

1

0

21

Diego Ifrán

2

6

1

7

3

0

4

9

2

0

14

Jeffery Sarpong

1

2

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

15

Jon Ansotegui

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

8

Joseba Llorente

1

5

0

7

1

0

3

2

1

0

27

Rubén Pardo

0

4

0

1

0

0

3

0

0

0

ATHLETIC BILBAO SQUAD: GOALKEEPERS

ATHLETIC BILBAO SQUAD: DEFENDERS

ATHLETIC BILBAO SQUAD: MIDFIELDERS

ATHLETIC BILBAO SQUAD: FORWARDS

references

http://eurorivals.net/squad/athletic-bilbao.html

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team/squad/_/id/89/league/esp.1/real-sociedad?cc=5739

Real Sociedad: A TEAM WHICH IS BUILT ON HISTORY AND PASSION

by Sulaiman Iqbal

Real Sociedad is a Spanish football club from the Basque city of San Sebastián/Donostia in Guipúzcoa/Gipuzkoa. It was founded on September 17, 1909. It was relegated to Segunda Division at the end of the 2006-2007 season. The club is known in Basque as Erreala or the txuri-urdin (meaning “white-blue”), from their colors: blue with white vertical stripes and white shorts. The club name means Royal Society of Football. A blue quarter on white also appears in the flag of their home town. The home stadium is the Estadio Anoeta, which seats 32,000 spectators.

Football was introduced to San Sebastián in the early 1900s by students and workers returning from Britain. In 1904 they formed the San Sebastian Recreation Club. In 1905 they competed in the Copa del Rey. In May 1905 the San Sebastian Football Club was formed as a separate branch of the original club. In 1909 they applied to enter the Copa del Rey but some complications over registration permits saw them compete as Club Ciclista de San Sebastian. This team defeated Club Español de Madrid by 3-1 in the final. Out of the confusion finally the Sociedad de Futbol was formed on September 7th, 1909.In 1910 Spanish clubs played in two rival cup competitions and Sociedad de Futbol entered the Copa UECF as Vasconia de San Sebastian. In the same year Alfonso XIII, who used San Sebastián as his summer capital, gave the club his patronage. They subsequently became known as Real Sociedad de Fútbol. Real Sociedad were founder members of La Liga in 1928. The team came fourth with Francisco “Cuqui” Bienzobas finishing as top scorer. The team’s name was changed to Donostia Club de Futbol in 1931, with the advent of the Second Spanish Republic, but changed back to Real Sociedad after the Spanish Civil War in 1939.The team rankings have fluctuated always between the Primera and Segunda divisions, in one period (during the 1940s) managing to be relegated and promoted seven times. Around that time the sculptor Eduardo Chillida was the team’s goalkeeper until injury put a stop to his football career. The best period of the team’s history must be the early 1980s where they won the Primera for two seasons running.For many years, Real Sociedad followed the practice of their Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao of signing only Basque players. But in 1989, they abandoned the policy when they signed Irish international John Aldridge from Liverpool. Real Sociedad’s best league performance in recent years is their 2nd place finish in La Liga in 2002-03. While they still attempt to keep a core of Basque players, whether coming from their own teams or signed from other clubs, they will also employ non-Basque Spanish players, as well as foreigners.On 9 July 2007, former Welsh international and Fulham manager Chris Coleman was appointed as the new coach of the club, a recommendation by former Real Sociedad (and current Welsh National team) manager John Toshack, who remains a respected and influential figure at the club.

 

The period between the death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco in 1975, and 1982 when the elected left-wing PSOE governemnt brought full democracy back to Spain is known as La Transición.

This was a period of great excitement but also tense apprehension,  as the many Spaniards wondered if their country could shake-off the legacy of a 36 year dictatorship and become of the modern, democratic world.Nowhere were these two emotions felt more acutely than in The Basque Country, where ETA were embarking on a campaign of armed-violence in an attempt to gain full independence for the region.Although supported by a significant number of Basques at the time, most in the region were simply happy to be part of a democratic Spain again.

A degree of autonomy had returned to the region where they were now free to celebrate Basque traditions, fly the ikurrina flag and  speak in their own language without fear of persecution.The 1970′s had not been a vintage decade for Spanish Football and during this period Real Madrid had been overwhelmingly dominant, making La Liga sterile and uncompetitive.Just as the country was experiencing the winds of political change, a revolution was also taking place in football.

The main protagonists were from the lush green hills of The Basque Country.

However this wasn’t taking place in the traditional footballing stronghold of Bilbao, but up the road in Gipuzkoa in the beautiful costal city of Donostia (San Sebastián) – home of Real Sociedad.The seeds of this transition in footballing power had begun in the 1979-1980 season, when ‘El equipo Txuri-Urdin’  (blue and whites) under the command of Alberto Ormaetxea had remarkably remained undefeated for 32 games, only to lose 2-1 in the penultimate game of the season in Sevilla. The loss in Andalusia meant Real Sociedad were tragically pipped at the post by the hated team from the capital. Real Madrid were lucky as ‘Er Reala’  as Real Sociedad are known in Basque, were widely considered to have played the best football.

Their high-tempo style of play gave the side some great victories at their legendary old stadium Atotxa (a compact British style arena), including a 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid.

Such a tragic end to the season could have destroyed a lesser group of players, but this team were made of stronger stuff and players who would become legends such as goalkeeper Luis Arkonada, dynamic midfielder Periko Alonso (the father of Xabi) and forward López-Ufarte were determined the following season to make amends and bring some joy to the long suffering Basque Country. However season 1980-1981 didn’t start well with ‘Er Reala’ being frustratingly inconsistent and after a 2-0 defeat in the Camp Nou with just 10 games to go, the Basques found themselves six points off league leaders Real Madrid.

Perhaps with the pain of the previous season still fresh in the minds, the players re-grouped and would remain undefeated until the end of the season, while both teams from the capital started to drop points.

After winning away to Murcia in the second to last game of the season ‘La Real’ (please note the club are never known as just Sociedad in Spain) reached the submit of La Liga.

A further victory at home to Español left the club on the brink of an historic first league title, but would the team throw it away again? Real Sociedad’s final game of the season was in Gijón against Sporting.

Sporting’s are from Asturias, a region that has traditionally held no great love for the Basques, yet Real’s fans with their newly un-banned Ikurrina  flags took over the El Molinon stadium, in the hope of seeing their heroes crowned champions.

The game couldn’t have started any better for La Real as they took the lead after only six minutes after a goal from Kortabarria. Two goals from the home side however turned the game around one minute either side of half time, and the visitors found themselves trailing.

Given that Real Madrid were winning away at Valladolid, it seemed that history was going to repeat itself. As the match drifted towards it’s finale, the Basque supporters were disconsolate.

In the final minute of the game however, Jesús María Zamora carved a name for himself in the history book when his thunderous right foot shot brought the sides level.

It was the goal that clinched the league title. Real Sociedad were champions for the first time and the starting XI from that deciding game can still be recited by fans today, even those that were not even born at the time. Arkonada, Celayeta, Górriz, Kortabarria, Olaizola, Diego, Alonso, Zamora, Idígoras, Satrustegi, López Ufarte, José Mª Bakero and Larrañaga had become immortals. Remarkably the team would win the title again the following season, with the added bonus of the decisive match being against Basque rivals Athletic, whom Real defeated 2-1.

ATHLETIC BILBAO AND WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

by Sulaiman Iqbal

Although Athletics’ statutes were not signed until 1901 and the Bilbao team that won the first Copa de España the following year was called Club Viscaya, the proud Basques claim 1898 as the founding date and the first Cup as theirs and nobody in Spanish football, not even the Liga de Fútbol Profesional, is prepared to argue with them.

As Spanish Champions in 1902, 1903, 1904, 1910 and 1911, Athletic Bilbao were without doubt the force that dominated football in Spain throughout the early years. Furthermore, that early Athletic team in Rafael Moreno Aranzadi better known as ‘Pichichi boasted the first legendary goalscorer in Spanish football and to this day Spain’s top goalscorer each season is known as the Pichichi.

By 1913, the club was so successful and popular that they opened Spain’s first stadium San Mamés, which is quite rightly known as The Cathedral of Spanish football.

BASQUE DOMINATION

The Lions continued to dominate Spanish football with five more Copas del Rey in 1914, 1915, 1916, 1921 and 1923.

It’s significant too that not only Bilbao dominated Spanish football but theBasques did in general. In the 1920 Antwerp Olympics in which Spain won the Silver medal most of the team was made up of Basques, and of the 10 teams that made up the first Liga in 1928, 4 were were Basque – Athletic Club, Real Sociedad, Arenas de Getxo and Real Unión de Irun, who in 1930 were joined by Alavés making half of the Liga Basque.

Just as with FC Barcelona in Catalonia, Athletic Club is associated with the defence of the Basque cause against fascism and it was an ex-Athletic Club player, José Antonio Aguirre, who presided over the first legitimateBasque government at the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 – a government that was in power when Franco allowed Hitler to send his airforce to rain bombs on the Basque town of Guernika.

When football resumed in 1939, Athletic Club’s successes just like Barcelona’s were seen as a blow to the regime and what’s more Athletic Club’s successes were based on their cantera (youth team) policy – the club to this day will only field Basque players – and in 1941 Telmo Zarraonaindia, more conveniently known as Zarra, made his debut for the club. In the following 13 seasons Zarra went to score 294 goals including 38 in 1950-51 season, a tally equalled by Hugo Sánchez in 1989-90, but to this day unbeaten.

Franco banned foreign words in club names so Athletic Club so it was Club Atlético de Bilbao that won the Liga-Copa double in 1943 and further Copas, now renamed the Copa del Generalísimo, in 1944 and 1945.

Other Copas del Generalísimo followed in 1950, 1955, 1956, which was also another Liga-Copa double season, and 1958 but, just like with Barcelona, the sixties and seventies were a relatively fallow period as hegemony in both football and politics had definitively moved to Madrid.

In the first Basque derby between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad on the December 5 1975, just two weeks after the death of Franco, Athletics’ Iribar and Real’s Kortabarria walked out onto the pitch carrying the Ikurriña, the still illegal Basque flag, and democracy brought with it another period of success for Athletic Club.

Under Javier Clemente, the club won the Liga in 1983 and bagged the double again in 1984. However, whilst remaining amongst the three Spanish clubs never to have been relegated to Segunda, the last two decades have been increasingly difficult for Athletic Club, an unquestionable ‘grande’ of Spanish football.

The increasing globalisation and commercialisation of football, particularly since the Bosman ruling in 1996, has brought more international stars to Spain and for Athletic Club, who have remained true to their ‘cantera’ policy, success has been difficult to come by and have been happy to finish the season mid-table when not involved in relegation battles.

However, a survey in the nineties revealed that 76% of Athletic supporters wanted the club to remain true to its roots and perhaps the words that club president José María Arrate wrote in the introduction to the club’s centenary book best sum up the sentiments that many of us would like our clubs to uphold.

‘Athletic Bilbao is more than a football club, it is a feeling – and as such its ways of operating often escape rational analysis. We see ourselves as unique in world football and this defines our identity. We do not say we are better or worse than others, merely different. We only wish for the sons of our soil to represent our club, and in so wishing we stand out as a sporting entity, not a business. We wish to mould our players into men, not just footballers, and each time that a player from the cantera makes his debut we feel we have realised an objective which is in harmony with the ideologies of our founders and forefathers.

The rivalry between Real Sociedad of San Sebastian and Athletic Bilbao, representing the capitals of the most populous and industrial of Spain’s Basque  provinces, is fervent and deep-rooted; but from its beginnings in the early  twentieth century it has been complicated by a consciousness of Basque brotherhood which has, from time to time, brought the teams and their supporters together in displays of solidarity in response both to external  pressures (above all from the Madrid government) and to internal conflicts (especially, since the 1970s, those involving the definition of attitudes towards the terrorist activities of the violent nationalist movement ETA and its associated political wings). The best analogy is that of the family at war within itself, which is at the same time capable of presenting a belligerent united front against outsiders and of composing a public face of unity, for particular purposes and when the occasion demands.

The local media’s has had rhetorical expressions of amity between Real and Athletic in pursuit of greater pan-Basque enterprises, and by the sight of fans of both teams fraternizing before a local derby and marching with the common goal of protesting against the kidnapping of an industrialist by ETA, as to refer in affectionate tones to Athletics’ stadium as ‘la Catedral’ in the first draft of a joint article with a
colleague who was a member of ‘la Real’. His friendly rebuke at this trans-gression was immediate.

It’s incredible looking back from when this rivalry was born and how it is as big as it was the moment it began.

The sides first met on 10 February 1929, the opening day of the inaugural Spanish league season, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. Since then Real Sociedad andAthletic Bilbao have faced each other 126 times in the league, Los Leones holding sway with 53 wins to La Real’s 41, scoring 218 goals to their rivals’ 171.

The defining feature of the story of the Basque derby is the largely cordial relationship between both cities. Less than 100 kilometres separate the elegant San Sebastian, a favoured retreat of the aristocracy in 19th century, and the industrial and economic hub that is Bilbao. Those contrasts have fuelled the local power struggle between the two conurbations, one that in footballing terms at least, has always been played out in an amicable atmosphere.

Relations have been somewhat more fraught between the two boards of directors. Attempts by both sides to lure the opposition’s most talented youngsters have provided a source of friction, the tension being heightened at times by the fact the two clubs traditionally pursued a policy of fielding only local-born players.

The winners of eight league titles, 23 Spanish cups and one Spanish Super Cup, Athletics’ stated policy is to select only players born in the Basque country. However, the club’s rules also allow for natives of the neighbouring region of Navarra to wear the red-and-white-striped jersey, as well as players of proven Basque heritage, such as former full-back Vicente Lizarazu, who hails from the French Basque country.

The less successful of the two teams with two leagues, two cups and one Spanish Super Cup to their name, Real Sociedad also pursued a strict recruitment policy between the 1960s and late ‘80s. Following an intense debate, club president Inaki Alkiza took a landmark decision in the club’s history by making Republic of Ireland international John Aldridge the first foreigner to play for Los txuri urdin (Basque for “white and blue”) in the modern era. The change in policy proved especially fruitful at the turn of the millennium, with the deadly strike duo of Nihat Kahveci and Darko Kovacevic and Russian midfielder Valery Karpin taking Real Sociedad to the brink of a third title in 2003.

The biggest away win in the history of the fixture was Athletics’ 7-1 triumph in 1930, a game that began with La Real taking the lead and which included hat-tricks by Guillermo Gorostiza and Jose Iraragorri. As for Los Donostiarras, the 5-0 wins they chalked up in the 1976/77 and 1994/95 seasons remain their most emphatic.

Down the years, some 13 players have turned out for the two clubs, their switches of allegiance adding to the tension generated by the repeated attempts on both sides to poach their neighbour’s talented youngsters. The first player to ‘defect’ was Isidoro Urra in 1947/48 followed shortly afterwards by Antonio Aldonza. Thirteen years an Athletic player, Rafael Iriondo swapped red and white for blue and white in 1953, with Pedro Uralde, Luciano Iturrino and Loren the next to cross the divide.

From the 1990s onwards, a steady stream of Real discoveries have made their way to the San Mames, namely David Billabona, Bittor Alkiza, Jon Andoni Goikoetxea, Joseba Etxeberria, Mikel Lasa, Andoni Imaz, Igor Gabilondo and Iban Zubiaurre. And in a case of divided family loyalties, one derby match saw Real Sociedad midfielder Gaizka Garitano come up against his father Ondarru, an assistant to the then Athletic coach Mane.

Given the rich seam of local talent the two clubs have successfully mined over the years – from Athletics’ great goalscorer Telmo Zarra to La Real’s most famous sons, Luis Arconada and Xabi Alonso – it is little wonder they have sought to hang on to their carefully nurtured assets.
The derby’s a special game, there are points at stake but there’s also the rivalry and the passion. Along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, Athletic have never been relegated from the Spanish top flight.

 

Reference:- http://elcentrocampista.com/tag/bilbao/

http://www.bjornengstrom.net/article4-democracy.php

http://www.spain-football.org/athletic-club-history.html

http://www.fifa.com/classicfootball/clubs/club=31071/index.html

http://euskalkazeta.com/ek/?p=3884

 

Guide to Bilbao (from a football POV) – Leon

URL: http://fourfourtwo.com/travel/city/thebasquecountry/default.aspx

The Basque Country

Nestling in the North-East corner of the Iberian Peninsula, the Basque Country – or Euskadi, to use its local name – claims to be a nation apart and also justly considers itself a hotbed of football with two Primera sides and three Second Division outfits in La Liga.

Athletic Club de Bilbao, Real Sociedad – despite their relegation in 2006-07 – and Osasuna are without doubt the main course of any trip to the Basque country; although Pamplona-based Osasuna is, strictly speaking, in Navarra, a quick look at the Basque Ikuriña flags festooning their El Sadar stadium soon makes clear where their loyalties lie.

Deportivo Alaves, relegated since their UEFA Cup heroics of 2001, and the stereotypically hard, classic battlers of Eibar are also worth a visit, while the true football addict staying in Bilbao could also get to see Division 2B sides such as Sestau, Barakaldo and the historic Las Arenas Getxo on the excellent Metro Bilbao.

Made up of rolling green hills and stark mountains, which have helped produce generation after generation of quality cyclists (think Miguel Indurain, Iban Mayo and company) as well as having staggering coastal scenery, Euskadi would be well worth a visit for the landscape alone.

But you get more. Add in the attractions of the fantastically designed Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, the spectacular Playa de La Concha in San Sebastian and the endless possibilities for alcohol poisoning or being gored by a bull during the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, and the attraction becomes even stronger.

As for the threat of terrorism, ignore it: nationalism plays a vital role and the extremist group ETA are still an active force, but the struggle is a mainly idealistic one against control from Madrid, not visitors from outside Spain. The closest any tourist is likely to get is looking at graffiti on the walls of Bilbao’s Old Town. In fact, the only real danger you’re likely to face is a horrific hangover after being invited to imbibe too many zurritostxikitos or the fruity, sweet, deceptively potent aniseed-based local liqueur patxaran.

Never shy of their own merits, the Basques also lay claim to the best cuisine in Spain and although kokotxas (cod cheeks in garlic sauce) might not be to everyone’s taste, they also serve up a fantastic steak, which goes down well with a bottle of Rioja wine or the local (and rather acidic) Txakoli.

MEET THE TEAMS
Basque football tends to be closer to the English game in style than the rest of the country and the wet climate certainly contributes to that, with pitches lending themselves more to long-ball tactics and physical midfield battles than do the arid, dusty fields of the south.

However, while the Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad sides that dominated the league during the early 1980s were physical – who can forget ‘the Butcher of Bilbao’, Andoni Goikoetxea? – they currently play more flowing football, to such an extent that Athletic fans often complain that the club no longer produces decent, hardnut central defenders.

Osasuna, the region’s third top-flight club, do rely on a more physical approach with two big strikers and a midfield with a reputation only slightly better than most serial killers, while Eibar play a style of football to make any English League Two manager proud but deserve huge praise for staying in their league for 16 seasons on gates averaging 1,500.

Wherever you go, the sense of being Basque is powerful, contributing to the atmosphere at many key games, be it a sense of rivalry but common identity in local derbies where sets of fans mix before, during and after the games, or the intense hostility aimed at Real Madrid, when San Mames, Anoeta and Osasuna’s El Sadar crank the pressure and the volume to the max.

BLEND IN
Relying on long-forgotten GCSE Spanish or mumbling from your Spanish phrase book may not suffice in the Basque region: they have a language all their own, and unlike Catalan it’s nothing at all like Spanish. Signs are written in both Basque and Castilian (standard Spanish) but defiant locals often paint over the latter.

As with many minority languages (think Welsh and Gaelic) it’s also a point of pride: almost half of all Basques speak it, most fluently, and it’s far from dying out: the highest percentage of speakers is in the 16-24 age range. The language is literally like no other – it’s the oldest known language still in use, predating all Indo-European tongues.

Still, like most minorities the Basques love it when you make a point of speaking their language, so memorise the following (or note them down on a pocketable piece of paper) to blend in seamlessly and please your hosts no end:

 

Kaixo – Hello
Agur – Goodbye
Gabon – Goodnight
Egun on – Good morning
Ongi etorri – Welcome
Bai – Yes
Ez – No
Zurito – Glass of beer
Zenbat da? – How much is that?
Hondartza – Beach
Turismo Bulegoa – Tourist office

Explore the area with the interactive map below; click a club badge for more info on the club. For more destination details on Bilbao, San Sebastian and Pamplona, see the team pages for Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Osasuna respectively.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=h&msa=0&msid=209362026289955408366.000499b8fda4260538fe4&ll=42.960443,-2.28241&spn=1.206006,1.645203&z=9&output=embed

For regular updates on the crazy world of Spanish football, see our blog La Liga Loca
FourFourTwo.com
News • Features • Interviews • Videos • Forums

 

Did Spain winning the 2010 World Cup Unite The Basque Country

The history involved is just too much to forget for a vast majority of the Basque Country according to some comments left on a forum. Below are some comments:

Joseba, Elorrio, Basque country, says:

I am Basque and live in the Basque country. I, along with most of the people in our town, wanted Holland to beat Spain. Unlike other not-yet independent countries such as Wales, Scotland or NI, we are not allowed to field our own Basque national team in international competitions. Basque players such as Xabi Alonso in my opinion should not play for Spain out of protest, but I understand that they need to further their careers. Personally, I could never put a Spanish shirt on my back, knowing the oppression that they impose daily on Basque people. But this is a country where politics rules and no Basque national team indirectly means more votes for the Spanish parties, in the same way that it is in the interests of the Spanish government that ETA continues to exist (despite what they say). As long as there is ‘terrorism’, there are votes for PP and PSOE.

Oier Aristizabal, Oiartzun, Basque Country, says:

Well, I do not think it will have a major impact on the Catalan and Basque issues. The fact that after the referee blew the final whistle Carles Puyol (Barcelona’s captain) and Iker Casillas (Real Madrid’s captain) euphorically hugged each other does not mean, despite some other arguments, that we are facing a new era to solve this problem. Afterwards, Puyol proudly waved the Catalan flag and so did Casillas with the Spanish one. Football is a good example for many aspects in life, including politics, but in the end it is a game. It is, as I see, strictly sports and not politics. Anyway, we tend to mix them, we cannot help it. I am an Euskaldun (Basque) and I was happy to see Spain winning the World Cup. They definitely deserved the trophy. I would love to see one day the Basque National team qualifying for the World Cup. At least we should have the same chance as the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish do, alongside England within the United Kingdom. All in all, Spain is an artificial union. It was never united in a friendly manner but with blood and fire. Different kingdoms in Spain did not get together happily, but after being defeated in bloody wars. That is why the problem still exists and I do not think the World Cup winning will make Spain a more united nation.

Richard Smith, Bilbao, says:

Here in Bilbao I’ve watched the Spanish team progress, and had hoped for the dream formula; that Athletic de Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente would score the goal that won them the World Cup. Sadly, in my local bar on the night of the final, there was a sign that read: “Here we support only Holland. Spaniards no thanks!”

Asier, Bilbao, Euskal Herria, says:

As a Basque myself I want independence for my country more than ever, after seeing with dismay this show of Spanish intransigent nationalism. And of course I wanted Holland to win the final. It’s not nice to see people with the Spanish flag (most of them Spanish colonialist immigrants), some of them shouting “Franco, Franco” in your city, knowing that they don’t let us decide our future or have our national teams. Independence and freedom for the Basque Country and Catalonia NOW!

Albert Busquets, Barcelona, says:

I’m from Catalonia. I just feel Catalan, not Spanish. I don’t hate the Spanish. In fact, being an “independentist” doesn’t imply I hate Spain. But I don’t want to be part of that country. They don’t understand our language, our culture and our traditions. In fact, there are a lot of Spaniards that hate us, giving derogatory names to us, but on the other hand they don’t want independence for us because of our taxes. We pay more than other people from the same country. We have different rights and responsibilities, but we receive less facilities than others. I don’t trust that journalist when he says that you can speak Catalan in Madrid. That’s completely false. You can have a problem if you do that. Anyway, independence can’t be a reality if our politicians don’t act with responsibility and unity in Madrid.

Borja, Ferrol, Galicia, says:

Whenever people talk about nationalism problems in Spain, many usually forget that in Galicia there are many people who support greater autonomy from Madrid. Galicia is arguably the territory with more signs of distinction in the Iberian Peninsula, apart from Portugal, including language (the second most spoken in Spain after Castellano and Catalan), culture, weather and geography. The reason why there is no more Galician nationalist representation in the Spanish Parliament relates to the fact that nationalist parties in Galicia (concentrated in a group called BNG – Bloque Nacionalista Galego) are more supportive of independence, unlike the most representative nationalist Basque and Catalan parties, which support greater autonomy without breaking the structure of the Spanish nation. This make them seem less radical than BNG in Galicia and, thereby, get electoral support from non-nationalist voters who wish more power in Madrid’s parliament.

[Jason]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10610414