quinta-feira, 25 de junho de 2009

Texto de alguns mates CSC que foram a Bilbao..

Texto de alguns mates CSC que foram a Bilbao ver um jogo do Athletic com os Herri Norte..
Retirado da E-Zine: Tiocfaidh Ar La http://www.talfanzine.com/

«Athletic Bilbao

Last year a group of lads from the Underground CSC took a club trip to Bilbao to see Athletic Bilbao take on Athletico Madrid. They met up with some of the Athletic Bilbao Ultras the Herri Norte Taldea (HNT) who took them to the game and organised a music event for entertainment.

Athletic Bilbao are one of Spain’s most successful clubs and are an institution looked on with pride in the Basque country. The club has won 8 championships since the founding of the Primera División and have won over 40 cups and other trophies. This being quite remarkable due to the La Cantera policy of signing Basque only players. Their success is mirrored by the fact that Athletic are one of only 2 other founding members of the Primera Division that have yet to be relegated. The other clubs being non other than Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The club was formed in 1898 and was called The Athletic Club but it became Athletic Bilbao in 1903 with the merger with The Bilbao football club and. Athletics history is very interesting and has numerous English connections. The Bilbo football club was formed by English miners from the North of England and Dockworkers from Southampton as many immigrated to the Bilbao region due to it being a largely industrial region. This is claimed to be one of the reasons for the choosing Red and White stripes on their top although numerous other thories exist. The second English origin of the club is that the Athletic Club was that Basque students studying in England brought football back with them and arranged games with English workers in Bilbao and keeping the English spelling of Athletic.

Athletic Bilbao like Celtic are well known for their politics these being the noble causes Basque separatism and militant anti fascism. The Basques have been fighting for the right to self determination for over 150 years and to this day Basque political activists still suffer repression by the Spanish State. The La Cantera policy of signing only Basques reflects the aspiration for Basque self determination. The club are admired for developing home grown Basque players in this day and age when it is a hindrance to them as they are limited to a small pool of potential players. But most Athletic fans would prefer to see this policy maintained even if it makes it difficult for them to compete with other teams.

However the policy does have its fair share of critic as it has been interpreted as discriminatory and xenophobic due to it discriminating on ethnicity. The La Cantera policy is in no way comparable to the discrimination that went on in Rangers until recently for numerous reasons. Firstly in the absence of a FIFA recognised Basque national team it is seen as an alternative and the policy is more akin to the GAA rules of playing for your county. There is a national team that plays in friendly's with other countries but cannot compete in any completions sadly most recently they played Cameroon in December and sadly lost one nil. Furthermore you do not have to be born in the Basque region to be employed by the club. Brazilian born Biurrun played for Bilbao as he grew up in the Basque country and the club has had a host of foreign coaches such as Fred Pentland and the German Jupp Heynecks.

The group of Ultras we met were the HerrI Norte Taldea who were formed in the season 1981/82 and are militantly anti fascist. Although due to the nature of the Basque struggle for self determination you will not find many fascists and if they openly showed their face they would be kicked back to the caves they came from by the HNT. They have roughly 300 members and their name comes from the stand they are in the San Mames stadium or ‘The Cathedral’ as it’s known to locals.

The HNT like other ultra have been involved in bringing banners and flags to games and produce the fanzine ANTIULTRA. The fanzine is not limited to soccer but includes numerous topics such as anti fascist and separatist politics, music reviews and is dedicated to all things Basque. Sadly though due to the political nature of the HNT they have many problems with the authorities as was evident at the game we were at with the Police doing their best to intimidate and antagonise the Basque supporters and this is worse at away games. It is not just Athletic fans that suffer this but all Basques do as exemplified by the Murder of Aitor Zabaleta who was murdered by fascist elements in Athletico Madrid support for simply being a Basque. The HNT had a banner condemning the murders of Aitor at the game.
Their leftist political nature was visible with a banner slamming the ultra nationalistic psudo fascist Athletico player Salva. He has made numerous crude statements in support of Spanish troop’s involvement in the illegal occupation of Iraq. His family are all military and the banner on display was hoping Salva would follow them and take his parochial ultra nationalism with him to Iraq.

The HNT are not just about football they are like sub culture or even a family and have their own bands and organise parties etc. We were lucky enough to be invited to a squat party to watch HNT Oi! Punk bands The Suspenders and The Kobras. This party went on till the early hours of the morning where there was much poggoing by people who at their age should not really be doing and illleave names out this. At the party we sampled the famous Basque drink Kalimotxo (calymocho) that consists of half red wine (the cheaper the better) and half coke and is surprisingly very nice. Sadly though businessmen are trying to buy up the land and change the area against the wishes of the locals who the HNT have a good relationship with over the house and the parties are organised with consultation the locals.

The group although friendly with most Basque groupings and with Deportivos Riazor Blues and other left leaning groups they do have their enemies. The two big rivalries being Real Madrid’s Ultras Sur and Frente Atletico of Atletico Madrid. These generally being that they have large fascist elements with in these groupings and due to the trouble Basques have had when travelling to away games especially in Madrid.

The HNT like Athletic have a colourful and interesting history and will hopefully go from strength to strength in coming years. The passion for their club and the efforts they make to improve the atmosphere in the stadium and the events they organise outside the stadium is something the Jungle Bhoys can aspire to achieve. Aupa Athletic!

* We met up with the HNT lads in one of the Herriko bars near San Mames stadium. These bars raise funds for Basque Prisoners of War. Outside the bar the area was packed with lots drinking Kalimotxo in 2 litre plastic bottles with a cracking atmosphere with folk singing and bangers getting let off. It was kind of similar to the Gallowgate with all the bars being football and political in nature with many Ikurriña’s on display.

* In the ground the despised Beltzas who are elite anti-disturb Basque police who are dressed in black, that's why people know them as beltza (black in the Basque). Many had their faces covered under their helmets due to fear of being seen as the stigma being attached to the Beltzas is one like a scab or a traitor. They were generally harassing the crowd trying to remove banners that they didn’t like mainly anti fascist ones letting s know where the Beltzas politics lie. Although the crowd stood up for themselves and the Beltzas backed off. But after the game they came back trying to antagonise celebrating fans that remained in the ground after the breathtaking equaliser for Athletic Bilbao in the 95 minute making the game 1-1.

Article by Karl

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