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.
Official jersey for the Copa 20-21 final
The very same ELITE jersey the Lions will don this Saturday against FC Barcelona in the Copa del Rey 2020-21 final is now available for purchase
Athletic Club and the United States: the Lions’ American adventures
Athletic Club enjoys a unique and interesting relationship with the USA and it seems set to continue growing
The most genuine press conference
Igor Porset answers the questions about the book “Ser Williams” from readers well known to the Athletic family
Official Copa final 2019-20 jersey
The same ELITE shirt that the lions will wear on Saturday at La Cartuja is available for purchase now, it contains the logo on the chest and the Copa and Bizi Ametsa patches on the sleeves.
Bilbao and Biscay turn red and white for the Copa finals
As the Copa final against Real Sociedad edges closer, as well as the chance to win two trophies in two weeks, Bilbao and the whole of Biscay are backing Athletic
First Ibero-American Week for the Protection and Good Treatment of Children in Sport
Athletic Club’s ATERPE programme presents the “Aterpe Recognition” competition and organises a series of activities to mark Child Abuse Prevention Day
The story of Athletic Club’s team bus
Told through the eyes of its driver, Juan Carlos, this is the tale of Athletic’s iconic coach
Peña Tokiotarrak: Athletic fans in Japan
LaLiga has recently produced and broadcast a report on Athletic Tokiotarrak, a fan club which supports the Lions from Japan
Cafés Baqué, the coffee of Athletic
The Biscay-based company signs a sponsorship deal with Athletic Club and also becomes a Strategic Partner of the Foundation
Rafael Moreno Aranzadi: the Athletic player who became Pichichi
The life and career of one of football’s early pioneers