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Athletic Bilbao: The People’s Club

Guest Post by Homefans

Athletic Club and their supporters stand out internationally for their desire to defend values which are becoming increasingly uncommon in football and in sports overall in the 21st Century -a true local identity and a commitment to their roots and sense of belonging. Known as “Los Leones” (The Lions), and with the new San Mamés as their temple, this club is one of three founding members of the “Primera División” that have never been relegated from the top division -the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Athletic Bilbao are well known for their policy of drafting exclusively Basque players for their squad, a unique club policy that can be matched with the one professed by Chivas de Guadalajara in Mexico. Their “cantera” policy of bringing young Basque players through the ranks as well as recruiting top Basque players from other clubs (like Joseba Etxeberria, Javi Martínez or Raúl García) is something extraordinary, given their limited budget and restricted player options.

Hence, their fan base is one of a kind. Pablo Miralles is a member of Homefans and a passionate Athletic Bilbao fan who follows his team wherever they play. For Pablo, Athletic Bilbao relates to a higher purpose, the unique reason for good or bad moments, but one that he’ll never let down.

When he travels to other cities with Athletic’s fan base, he states:  “It is the best feeling ever, something hard to explain but very compelling when you experience it. Bilbao is Athletic… and Athletic represent football at its best; they are more than a club; they represent our values, our land and the identity of the Bilbao citizens”.

The fans are also very proud of what the team represents as part of their identity and society. As Pablo puts it:  “Can you imagine that your team beats the mighty FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou with players from your local area, 65.000 fans and wins a title? Or would you picture yourself with more than 8000 fellow fans in Old Trafford, establishing the away fans’ record and beating Manchester United 2-3? Or, on the other hand, can you imagine being there for your team when they are in risk of relegation and nonetheless fill the stadium with faithful fans? That’s what makes us special”.

Copa90 just shot an amazing video on Athletic Bilbao, and they had the chance to interview Pablo and discover the match day experience through local eyes. Pablo joined the brand new football concept Homefans last summer and was pleased to be a host for their experience.

Homefans is an online trusted football community that connects travelling fans in need of an affordable place to stay with local fans who would like to earn some spare money from renting their room, for an authentic football experience money can’t buy.

So the next time you are planning your football trip, come to to discover football through local eyes!

Stay tuned for 'This is Athletic Bilbao' out soon!