The New York Times (NYT) publishes in its digital edition an extensive report titled 'Being More Like Athletic Bilbao Bilbao) ' in which he places the rojiblanco club, due to its particular quarry philosophy, as a model to follow in the' postcoronavirus' world of football.
The article, signed by Rory Smith, editor-in-chief of NYT football highlights that "by recruiting only local players, the Basque club has not only forged a unique identity, but has also generated a mentality among its fans."
"Now it may be a useful path for others, "adds a Smith who on Wednesday, a day before the international battering ram announced his retirement, reviewed the career of Aritz Aduriz.
In this second article on Athletic in a week, Smith highlights Aduriz's words spoken on Friday in his farewell on the San Mamés pitch that Athletic is “ a neighborhood team ('gang', for the player) that faces the world ”.
«Athletic is the rare team in elite soccer that refuses to take advantage of the globalization that has transformed the game mainly for good, occasionally for bad, in the last two decades . It is, on the surface, a massive competitive disadvantage ", explains the author.
The article stresses that" above all, Athletic works thanks to the fans "who assume that" there will be years of fallow , seasons in which success is a comfortable position in the middle table in which the trophies are a distant prospect and the best thing to hope for is a single night of euphoria against one of the LaLiga giants ».
«To a certain extent, Athletic has chosen to prioritize its model over its ambitions. Success in Athletic is to do as well as a neighborhood team that has to face the world . Some years that could mean reaching a great final. Many years they won't, and still the overwhelming majority of fans support the policy. There is no longing for change, big or small, "he reflects.
For this reason, Smith considers that" this could perhaps be a useful example for clubs far from the Basque Country, since football accepts its new post-pandemic reality. "And that" the bull market of the past 30 years has ended . "
" The idea that any other team can voluntarily limit itself as Athletic has done is whimsical. Your model is not one that can be easily franchised . But the consequences of that model can be international if we allow it, "he explains.
" Change does not always have to be seen as a virtue. The value of a team does not always have to be measured exclusively by league position. Sometimes, success can be simply having a team that is »adds the journalist.