Athletic believe in the ‘Basque-only’ policy

Athletic are a relatively successful La Liga club. They consistently qualify for the Europa League each year, obviously they aren’t in the class of Barcelona and Real Madrid, but they are still a very good team. After all they showed Man United how to play football in last season’s Europa League.

However the club’s Footballing ability isn’t only unique but the club’s philosophy on bringing in new players is. Athletic have a motto that is, “Con cantera y afición, no hace falta importación”. In English that means, “With a home-grown team and fans, there is no need for imports. Athletic only believe that when bringing in new players they bring in players from their development squads.

When reading about this club’s philosophy I was amazed as to how a club can be so successful with only players from their developing squads, this made me realised that if Athletic can do it why can’t other clubs? Especially English clubs where in today’s society they rely massively on foreign exports and they forget the stars of tomorrow that are sat right in front of them in their respected academy squads.

Also what is astonishing about this is how the fans are completely with this system regardless of the fact that all their rivals in the leagues can buy who they want and for as big a price as they can afford. The ‘El Mundo’ poll which all Athletic fans completed came out with results that said, 76% of Athletic fans said they would rather be relegated than give up the policy.

Clubs in England need to look no further than their academies for future players before they start splashing their cash on any foreign player they can think of. If the likes of Man United, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal had more English players that are getting a go in the first team then maybe that would have a knock on affect towards the success if the national team.

Barcelona similarly to Athletic has this believe in bringing their own players through. Many of the stars at the Nou Camp are graduates from the La Masia academy. This system used by Athletic and partly Barcelona may have a lot to do with why Spain are so successful as a national side.

Athletic’s philosophy is a fantastic way of allowing young developing footballers from the Basque areas to have that glimmer of hope that they may one day may achieve their dream of becoming a professional footballer, and to keep the tradition within this great club for many years.

 Daniel Clark


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