Athletic Club de Bilbao are for sure one of the best football clubs in the world. They still manage to survive to a high level of professionalism keeping up with those features which make fans proud all over the world. They play in Spain, in La Liga, since their foundation, which happened in far 1898. The great part of this is that they have never been relegated to Segunda Division (1st division in England) in their history. And this has never happened even though they have never bought foreign players, here considering foreign whatever is not Basque (for instance, famous Spanish striker Raul Gonzalez Blanco is not eligible to play with Athletic Bilbao).
They have been never relegated even if they have never had a sponsor’s logo on their jersey in all these years. And they have never been relegated even if their players come mostly from La Cantera, players whom the team breed since they are very young.
Their survival in modern football business would be enough. But it is not just this. Their cupboard is full of trophies, they have won La Liga 8 times, 24 times La Copa del Rey and once Supercopa de España, so being the 3rd Spanish club by trophies won. The rojiblanca jersey has been worn by some of the best football players of all time.
How to forget Pichichi for example? The Basque striker whose goals made him so famous that when he died his name was given to the trophy for the best scorer of the Liga? And what about the goalkeeper Jose Angel Iribar, who played for Athletic since 1962 to 1980 and whose name in Europe sounds as majestic as Lev Jascin‘s? Spanish fans also know that Zarra is the all time scorer in La Liga. Talking about more recent players, the class and grace showed by Julen Guerrero in the 80’s and early 90’s will always be remembered by true football lovers.
These, and many other facts and figures about this fantastic example of true football, show us that there is a way to resist and fight against modern football even for clubs, not just for supporters. There is no need to sell out football jerseys (take a look at Toulouse’s jersey, as an example), to rush on the transfer market for players when you can patiently and with more satisfaction let your own kids, the ones born just beside your door, play football for the team they always loved. Athletic Club might not win La Liga for the next 20 years but, until they keep up this “Basque policy” there will be always rojiblancos fans all over the world.
If you haven’t had enough of Athletic Bilbao, you can also watch this funny ad made by the club to advertise their peculiar jersey.