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Found 2 results

  1. Not very Athletic Bilbao. Bilboka Athletic Kluba, (as they say in the land of Basque), is a professional football club in the Basque Region of Spain. They are known as "Los Leones" (The Lions), because their stadium was built near a church called San Memes (Saint Mammes). Mammes was an early Christian thrown to the lions by the Romans. Mammes somehow pacified the lions and was later made a saint. The club is one of 3 founding members of the Primera Division who have never been relegated from the top Division since it's inception in 1929, (the other 2 being Real Madrid and Barcelona). [Editor] Let's see about that shall we! The club is known for it's "cantera" policy of bringing young Basque players through the ranks, as well as recruiting players from other Basque clubs. Athletic's official policy is signing professional players native to or trained in football in the greater Basque Country, which includes Biscay, Gipuzkoa, Álava and Navarre (in Spain); and Labourd, Soule and Lower Navarre (in France). Since 1912, Athletic has played exclusively with players meeting its own criteria to be deemed as Basque, and has been one of the most successful teams in La Liga. This can be seen as a unique case in European football; it has gained Athletic both admirers and critics. The club has been praised for promoting home grown players and club loyalty. The Basque rule does not apply to coaching staff however, with several examples of non-Basque managers both from Spain and abroad having coached the first team. A little light reading to get you in the swing of all thing Athletic. Top goal-scorer. https://www.theguardian.com/football/these-football-times/2018/may/23/la-liga-top-scorer-pichichi-lionel-messi-rafael-moreno The saying that defines Athletic’s philosophy – “con cantera y afición, no hace falta importación” – translates as “with homegrown talent and local support, you don’t need for imports.” https://www.theguardian.com/football/copa90/2016/jan/15/athletic-club-bilbao-loyalty-spain-liga-basque Athletic Bilbao's methods provide lessons for Premier League clubs https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11096/10880323/athletic-bilbaos-methods-provide-lessons-for-premier-league-clubs While Bilbao might have a Basque-only philosophy, they are certainly not the only Basque club. Alaves, Eibar and Real Sociedad are other Basque clubs in la Liga, so it will be interesting to see how easily they part with their Basque home-grown youngsters if and when I come calling. In recent years, Bilbao have become unpopular with the other Basque clubs as a result of them offering financial inducements in order to entice Basque players away from other clubs, and I think you can expect more of that from me. The flip side of that however is that in recent years Bilbao have sold players for HUGE sums.
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