Athletic Club collaboration with past English opponents for Non-League Day 2024

Athletic Club collaboration with past English opponents for Non-League Day 2024

As part of this year’s Euskal Non-League Day on March 23-24, Athletic has teamed up with seven English non-league sides that played Los Leones at some point in our history

On the weekend of March 23, Athletic Club will celebrate its second edition of Euskal Non-League day, an event designed to recognise the fundamental work our affiliated clubs throughout the Basque Country do in serving their communities and producing players for Athletic’s first team.

Euskal Non-League Day was inspired by the British version, which James Doe founded in 2010 with the aim of using international breaks as a means of promoting attendance at lower-league football stadiums throughout the United Kingdom.

As a tribute to the British event and the role English football played in Athletic Club’s origins, we have collaborated with the seven active English non-league sides that have taken on Los Leones at some point in our history: Civil Service FC, United Hospitals FC, Eastbourne Town FC, Bromley FC, Merton FC, Dulwich Hamlet FC and Corinthian-Casuals FC.

Athletic has sent each club a flag to hang up at their respective ground and a retro jersey to raffle off among their fans. In return, the aforementioned sides have sent a flag of their own for us to use during our Euskal Non-League Day events and later donate to AC Museum.

Furthermore, Athletic will be publishing a series of articles about our historical encounters with those English clubs in Bilbao.

Athletic Club shares several historical links with British football. The sport was brought to Bilbao by English sailors and miners, one of Athletic’s 33 founding members was an Englishman named Alfred Mills and several British footballers played key roles in Los Leones’ first triumphs.

In the early 20th century, English amateur clubs spread the sport of football far and wide, taking on other teams all over the world, including in Bilbao. Visits from these teams typically sparked great excitement throughout Bizkaia and thousands of fans would flock to Jolaseta, and later San Mames, to watch Athletic lock horns with their English opponents.

Athletic has the fortune of having gone up against past rivals that include some of the most important organisations in football's early history.

Civil Service are the only remaining team from those that founded the FA in 1863, Corinthian FC inspired the creation of football sides all over the globe and United Hospitals still play the second oldest cup competition in the sport's history - to give but a few examples of these clubs' contribution to football.

Our features on these English teams will be published in chronological order based on the date of their first match against Athletic.

Monday 18th: Civil Service FC (morning), United Hospitals (evening)
Tuesday 19th: Eastbourne Town FC
Wednesday 20th: Merton FC
Thursday 21st: Bromley FC
Friday 22nd: Dulwich Hamlet (morning), Corinthian-Casuals FC (evening)

These are the details of the sides’ Non-League Day fixtures. If you’re an Athleticzale in England over the weekend of March 23-24, we encourage you to attend one of these matches.

Civil Service vs Old Carthusians. March 23, 13:00 GMT. King’s House Sports Ground
Eastbourne Town vs Shoreham. March 23, 15:00 GMT. The Saffrons
Merton vs Winchmore Hill. March 23, 14:00 GMT. Joseph Hood Recreation Ground
Bromley vs York City. March 23, 15:00 GMT. Hayes Lane
Bognor Regis Town vs Dulwich Hamlet. March 23, 15:00 GMT. Nyewood Lane
Corinthian-Casuals vs Badshot Lea. March 23, 15:00 GMT. King George’s Field

*Header photo is from Civil Service FC's match against Athletic Club in 1912