History of the Athletic Football Club of Bilbao

The Athletic Club is our football team. It was founded in 1898 thanks to the British that worked here, who taught to the Basque people how to play football and even if it has had its ups and downs it is, with the Real Madrid and the Football Club Barcelona, the only club that has always been in the First Division of Spain.

In addition, one of the most representative and original particularities of the Athletic is the tradition of playing only with players that have been born in the Basque Country or that have trained since they were young in the quarry of the Athletic Club.


As a consequence the players are more loyal and the feeling towards the team is major. When in 1913 they built the stadium for the Athletic they decided to call it “San Mamés” because of a martyr called Saint Mamés that had died in the III Century. This Saint was submitted to continuous tortures and one of them was that they throw him to the circus so that the lions devoured him. However for everybody surprise the lions didn´t only not eat him but he managed to tame them. In commemoration of this Saint the Athletic players are often called “The Lions” and one of the symbols of the team is a lion.



The shield of the Athletic is emblematic and has a great history. It is composed of Saint Anton´s bridge and the cathedral, two black wolves, two “x”, the tree from Gernika , and the colors and the name of the team.







When the Athletic club was founded they started playing with white and blue kit, but they soon changed it into a red and white one because when they went to buy more T-shirts for the team there weren´t any blue and white left and they had to buy red and white T-shirts. Since then the kit has only suffer slight modifications and red and white have become the colors of the team.







Since 1913 the Atlhetic had always played in the same field which was called “San Mamés” but because they needed more space and better facilities in 2013 they inaugurated a new one which is also called “San  Mames". On 5 November 2015, the new stadium was named Sports Building of the Year in the World Architecture Festival held in Singapore. It is in the center of Bilbao and it offers the possibility of visiting it so if you come to Bilbao you should take advantage of this great opportunity!


However, with no doubt, the best of the Athletic are the fans that it has. For us, the Athletic is more than just a football club and every time they play, even if it´s not in Bilbao, tons of people go out to the street, dressed with the football T-shirt and the scarf, and encourage the team