A couple of things are at the top of every Athletic Club fan’s wishlist this Christmas: returning to San Mamés to support our club from the stands and having a tremendous (and hopefully victorious) Copa final.
The pandemic has robbed us of great nights, family and friends, but it can’t take away our love of Athletic.
This Christmas we filmed a video in Bilbao’s most emblematic places: el Parque de Doña Casilda, la Plaza de Arriaga, Ibaigane and San Mamés. The film opens and ends with two authentic Athletic number ones, José Ángel Iribar and Unai Simón, a full circle of Athletic life. The video is called ‘The dream continues’.
Covid has taken away our fortnightly routine of cheering on our lions. It seems like a lie but we’ve now gone nine months without visiting our sanctuary, without taking our seat alongside fellow fans and supporting the lions until our voices are lost. It’s a ritual which this cruel disease has temporarily robbed from us.
From Athletic Club we want to send out a message of hope, of a dream that continues. In the video this message is represented by a human chain passing on a football ball. Many rojiblanco legends were gracious enough to accept the invitation to take part, such as: José Ángel Iribar, Andoni Goikoetxea and Manolo Delgado, as well as club member no.1, Juan Antonio Virumbales, and the oldest female club member, Ana María Lecuona.
We surrounded them with fans, club employees and first-team footballers, Ane Azkona and Unai Simón, all of whom embody the spirit of Athletic Club. It was with great affection that the players joined the symbolic gesture of passing on the ball and closing the circle along with one of our youngest goalkeepers, Bilbao-born Asier Cayón.
Asier represents all of the youngsters that joined the academy last summer but have barely been able to train at Lezama due to Covid.
The video is a continuation of the ‘Bizi Ametsa’ spot filmed last year with Iñaki Williams as Olentzero (The Basque version of Father Christmas), something which delighted kids around the Basque Country.
This year there were several days of intense shooting as we brought the dream that inspired the video to life – lifting the Copa del Rey. Although the final has been postponed, the desire to lift the trophy still burns bright in the heart of everyone involved at Athletic.
Iribar’s visit to our no.1 club member made for a spectacular first day on set. Iribar in particular caught the attention of many pedestrians as he launched off one of his famous long throws for Juan Antonio to catch from his balcony.
Then there was the connection between painter Iñaki García Ergüin and Goiko, the player and former captain was the subject of a painting that the artist believes to be his best work. With much love towards Athletic, Ergüin did a special christmas painting. It is a work of art that reflects the strength, energy and philosophy of our club.
Of course, we couldn’t leave out the great Manolo Delgado, the club legend had a message for the Peña Geniuine, the supporters group for Athletic Geniuine, the team that continues to be one the club’s greatest achievements. All members of the fan club are counting the days till the side returns. They are a living example of passion and pride.
Ane Azkona, still recovering from a damaged cruciate, is invaluable both on the pitch and off it. Ane took the time to knock around the ball which unites our christmas story outside the Teatro Arriaga. And she did this under the excited and watchful gaze of Ana María, who showed us her big heart and just how amazing she is at 98-years-old. Her presence is the club’s tribute to all our elderly fans during this difficult time.
And then finally there was San Mamés, the heart of our club and the missing piece of the jigsaw for our Christmas story. The stadium’s doors are opened wide by José Arroyo and Rober García, two figures who work daily at San Mamés. Always with a smile and something nice to say, both conveyed their desire to have fans back as soon as possible.
Unai Simón and the excited Asier shared a dressing room and even took penalties against each other. Hopefully the next time they see each other, it will be as they wave at one another while La Gabarra rumbles down the River Nervión.
Agreement with the Athletic Club first-team squad
Players take a second voluntary pay-cut in ten months
San Mamés turns red for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day
Our stadium lights up in recognition of all those suffering from congenital heart defects
Innovation agreement with the region of Jyväskylä
Strategic innovation partnership with the Finnish region of Jyväskylä to improve players’ physical-sport performance
Ernesto Valverde: Athletic and the ant
Valverde spent a six-year spell playing in Bilbao, scoring 50 goals in 188 appearances
Social media interaction skyrockets with the Supercopa
Athletic Club’s successes on the field have led to a recording-breaking January on social media, with 7.6 million interactions throughout last month
Athletic Club: a way of life
Elizegi, Iribar, Urkiaga, Guerrero, Alkorta, Erika and Muniain spoke of growing up in Lezama, both as footballers and people
Live: #Lezama50 events
The first events in the commemoration of Lezama
Tribute to Lezama
Today marks 50 years since the opening of Lezama. We celebrate alongside Iribar, Urkiaga, Guerrero, Alkorta, Muniain and Erika Vazquez
Telmo Zarra: 100 years a legend
Athletic Club commemorates the birth of Telmo Zarra, looking back at one of the most successful players in our history
Get a ‘Super Champions’ t-shirt
The celebratory t-shirt seen worn by the Lions is now available for purchase