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Discussion Starter #1
There is an interesting thread on the Glasgow Celtic forum Kerrydale Street involving the basque-only policy of Athletic. There are some Celtic supporters who regrettably if understandably equate Athletic's policy of "Basque-only" with the "No Catholics" policy of Glasgow Rangers prior to 1989.

Perhaps Knoert and a few others might want to wander over to:
http://kerrydalestreet.co.uk/index.php?showforum=1

and look for the topic entitled "Now Let Me Think..." in order to contribute and hopefully enlighten this discussion.

you have to registed for Kerrydale Street, but it free.
 

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Saw a certain aussiebasque already replied :D

Nice to read those replies of several celtic fans, proofs not every footballfan knows exactly where it's about :D. Funny to read :D.

Damn near positive at least one other Basque club also plays Basques only, possibly Sociedad. I'm trawling t'interweb for info...
Pretty sure it's Alaves that play only Basque players. Have the feeling there have been non Basques that have played for Bilbao but can't name them
:howler: :howler: :howler:

Despite that... that member called mighty sparrow totally understood it :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Public opinion polls in Euskal Herria consistently report that over 75% of the supporters would rather see the team in the 4th division rather than sign non-basque players. We'll see about that if ACB actually do get relegated this year - they've been in the relegation zone almost all season (but still fill their San Mames stadium and take a hugh travelling support to near-by games).

...

ACB looks like an idea that should be emulated as closely as local conditions permit. No racist or zenophobic exclusion, but supporting the local footballing culture.
In my opinion there's clearly a difference between singing only basques, or no-catholics... signing no-catholics looks like 'discriminating' one similar group, while Athletic is giving a boost to football in its own region, so not discriminate, but favour one single group.

Someone in that forum had exactly the same opinion as me...
The huns weren't employing Catholics or people married to Catholics because of their bigotry.

...

their sectarian signing policy has a distinctly different odour than that of the Basque club. After all, UEFA have never threatened to ban Athletic Bilbao from European competition because of the Basque only policy. Thats the only reason why the huns have appeared to change.
Interesting discussion!
 

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It´s an interesting discussion, with several people not too well informed,:D but well, that´s also normal. I´m too lazy to sign up there though.

Something I would like to comment even if I think this is very clear is that Athletic´s philosophy isn´t of basque players only, you just have to take a look to the official page and read a bit about the procedence of several players from the different Athletic teams. If I´m not wrong we talked about it in the past and even gave a list, right?

Athletic´s philosophy is not only non-racist but it actually does a lot against racism. The identification of Athletic´s fans & players with their team is something that goes at least a bit beyond normal, I think that´s something we all more or less agree. That identification is based of several aspects that make this club special, one of the most important being that "we play with our people". And by "our people", there isn´t any racial connotation but a reference to Euskadi´s current society, which is formed by many races and cultures, and with the addition of people from outside who want to be formed as football players here, as we commented, Lezama´s doors are open.

There have been 2 major inmigration fluxes in Euskadi, focusing on Bilbao and surroundings in the last times. With the power of the industrialization (being Bilbao an industrial lung during years, with the Altos Hornos for example) a lot of people came from rural areas in Spain to work here. Lately, there´s also an important inmigration phenomenon with people from Africa and Latin America coming to Euskadi to work.

These inmigration processes always bring racism problems, even if, at least comparing, these problems aren´t as big in Euskadi as in other places, but they do exist. During years we´ve seen how the sons of those inmigrants have been entering in Athletic, just have to take a look to the lastnames of current first team players, and the power and union of the club hasn´t been broken, mostly the opposite. Actually, I don´t think anyone can doubt about current captain and reference in basque football, Julen Guerrero, (son of inmigrants) love to the club and it´s values, at the same time that noone can say that he isn´t an idol and reference of Athletic´s social mass. And the same is starting to happen with the sons of that second inmigration flux, which are starting to appear in the youth system.

I´ve read the example of Ralph, well he isn´t the only one (in his same team there´s a player from the dominican republic) but he´s a good example of all of this. Some years ago, with Eto´o still in Mallorca, the cameras of a local tv catched a conversation between the 2 cameroonians, Ralph was a ball boy that day in San Mamés. It was worth watching Samuel´s surprised face while Ralph talked him about how great was to play for Athletic and how he dreamed of playing in San Mamés wearing the red&white. Well, probably Eto´o was surprised because he had never feel that attachment to a club and he found strange that someone he saw close to him (cameronian who migrates to europe) felt it to Athletic.

In my opinion, the fact that an institution and such a social reference at least in Bizkaia (and surroundings...) as Athletic makes people see absolutely everyone as "one of us" (and I´m not talking about Karanka here:tongue: ) makes much more for integration and against racism that many campaigns or acts by certain people or institutions.
 

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This is a good discussion but I think it would be better discussed in the politics forum- maybe not?

"Prior to 1989" is rubbish for a start concerning Rangers. Graeme Souness' publicity stunt would have you believe that but it is not the case at all. Considering the religious percentage of population in Scotland it would be more difficult to keep a team mainly catholic than protestant which is something Celtic managed to do for a number of years.

Is it wrong? I don't believe so. Identity is everything and I firmly believe clubs have been losing their identity over the years. Take Arsenal for example. They will move away from the ground that has been theirs for many a year and at the moment don't have an Englishman, never mind a londoner, in their team. I use Arsenal as an example but they are not alone by a long shot.

If you look at Chivas in Mexico who have the "Mexican Only" signing policy which I believe has only been broken once then people may say that is unfair. I think though- good one them. Why not try to preserve their identity. If you are a Basque team then the more basques in the team the merrier If yo are Scottish then the more Scots the merrier, etc.
 

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I'm just getting packed to start my journey to Villarreal so forgive me for not sticking 100% to the question. However here's an extract I wrote for a Rangers website last month. When I get back, win, lose or draw I'll try and give my thoughts on the Religion/Nationality comparision.

118 years ago Celtic Football Club were founded by Roman Catholics for Roman Catholics. Brother Walfrid worried his church were losing young men to the Reformed Church of Scotland. At this point Rangers had already had a RC playing for them despite being a tiny minority of the Scottish population. From this moment on Roman Catholics were urged to join a Roman Catholic team. Even before this day, despite being formed by a Protestant, Rangers had little to do with religion. Young Scottish Protestants witnessing the largely single faith team from the east of Glasgow(Celtic) then adopted The Rangers as their team to follow.

Now back to the signings. Celtic, from 1888 to 2006 have always maintained a strong Roman Catholic presence which I would have to say has always made up the majority of the squad. They have had Protestant players throughout their existence just like Rangers have had Roman Catholics. Now I don't have time to look over every squad they've ever named so cannot say this for 100% fact but I'm sure you'll agree it is very unlikely they have ever had a team made up of mostly Protestants. Even today they can keep their "proud" heritage going with Keane, Lennon & The Poles.
Rangers, like Celtic, have always maintained a majority religion in their squads. We have always been a predominantly Protestant club. Once again I don't have time to look over every squad but if someone can tell me a time when we named a majority Roman Catholic team then I'll be happy to retract that. Saying that it is quite possible we did under Advocaat.

And the difference? At the last census Roman Catholics made up only 15% of the Scottish population while Protestants, in line with recent history, were in the majority once again.

That begs the question: How have Celtic managed to maintain a majority RC team while dodging the criticism from the Scottish media afforded to Rangers?
Out of interest, how do the Spanish media portray Bilbao's policy?
 

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Oh and finally. Here's a little list of Roman Catholics to play for Rangers throughout the years. Pat Lafferty played for the club before Celtic were formed. ;)

John Spencer, Pat Lafferty, Archie Kyle, "Doc" Kivlichan, Joe Donnachie, Johnny Jackson, Hugh O’Neill, Laurie Blyth, Constantine McGhie, James Tutty, Colin Mainds, Tom Murray, Tom Dunbar, Don Kichenbrand, McCallum, Brown, Wylie.

It's unfortunate these players religion had to be made public to help destroy the myth that Maurice Johnstone was the first RC player to join Rangers.
 

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real soiceadad sign any players(even foreigners) EXCEPT spanish players who arnt basque. thats racist discrimination and unbelievable how this still goes on today with noone questioning it
 

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I think Sergio Boris (Oviedo), Dani Cifuentes (Madrid) and Álvaro Novo (Córdoba) will be extremely surprised when they read that.
 

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Jonny said:
Out of interest, how do the Spanish media portray Bilbao's policy?
With a lot of respect, in general. Sometimes, in the bad moments, the debate about the home policy appears, but that's all. Then you can find the most Spanish nationalists that use it for their own goals saying "Athletic is the only club that only plays with Spanish players"... well, "legally" it's true... a different thing would be the feelings, of course, but that's another question. In Athletic, as in Euskadi in general, there'll be people who feel Spanish and people who don't. Aside some radicals of both sides, I don't think that feeling Spanish or just Basque is really a problem for the vast majority of Basques.
 

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To answer the title of the thread, there is absolutely no difference whatsoever. And there's nothing wrong with retaining the identity of a club if that's what the club wants. Personally, I'm no religious man, so I see no need for any such policy - but clearly others do, so that's totally fine. In a way I admire the Basque model actually. Can you imagine an Ajax full of Dutchmen again? Etc? Wonderful.

But it should be iterated: Any 'difference' between either clubs "Policy" (inverted commas, because Rangers' policy didn't ever exist anyway) is simply within the minds of certain Celtic supporters. Nothing more, nothing less.
 

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chivoexpiatorio said:
This is a good discussion but I think it would be better discussed in the politics forum- maybe not?
I think these discussions don´t have to leave football forums as long as they stay football related. Afterall, at least here there´s a strong connection between football and politics and I´m talking in general, not only Athletic. We should send half the threads in this forum to the politics one if we turned strict.:D

I´m more worried about having 'cool' discussions without insults and personal attacks than political connotations to be honest. I´m not talking about this thread which is cool until now but in this forum we do have some experience of threads going the wrong way when the Celtic-Rangers rivalry entered, I´m talking about a while ago, Arteta´s times in Rangers.

I don´t know much about Rangers' "history" that´s being commented here, that´s why I don´t comment on it, but I read everything with a lot of interest and I like this discussion so I can elaborate my own opinion.

Until now, not entering if Rangers´ policy existed or not (which I don´t know) I don´t consider the same a tradition based on betting on people of your society, no matter race, religion, sexual condition or favourite color than another based on religion exclusively. I do admit I´m not a religious person and that could be a reason why I don´t see a possible identification not with a club but with the players based on it. And well, someone can say "but I´m not basque so I can´t play for Athletic", not necesarily, everyone can play for Athletic if he has been formed as football player in a basque club, Athletic preferabily logically (there are 2 non-basques in Athletic´s first team now, and a good bunch in the youth system). I suppose those open doors are more difficult to find if a club only accepts people from one religion. Truth is I´m noone to disrespect it, at least from what I´ve read until now.

What I say is that I base that identification in the fact that I see myself and the society I live in when I watch Athletic players. Playing for Athletic was the kids-dream for most of them as was mine. Afterall 20 of the 25 first team players have been formed in Athletic and the rest come from close places, where they perfectly knew what is Athletic and what it represents since they were kids. Actually, in some cases (Etxeberria) they were Athletic supporters but weren´t accepted in our youth system (yes, great scouting there:rolleyes: ). And honestly, the religion of those players don´t affect me at all. Truth is, there isn´t a religious division in Euskadi as there is in Scotland, but anyway, it´s hard for me to understand it.
 

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The La Cantera policy is in no way comparable . 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(Gaelic Football and Hurling) rules of playing for your county or in Rugby playing for your province. 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.
 

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Bocha said:
But it should be iterated: Any 'difference' between either clubs "Policy" (inverted commas, because Rangers' policy didn't ever exist anyway) is simply within the minds of certain Celtic supporters. Nothing more, nothing less.
You should listen to the Rangers boys here, they're telling the complete truth by the way.

Despite the public admissals from former Rangers players such as Terry Butcher and Alex Ferguson, the infamous anti-Catholic sectarian chants that are so popular amongst their supporters such as "F*ck the Pope and the Vatican", a strict policy that denies Rangers' Roman Catholic players the right to make the sign of the cross on the field of play (a popular act among many footballers in every other stadium around the world), and their current club chairman (president) David Murray's statement about "officially" ending their sectarian signing policy with the arrival of Johnston at the time - there is not, and never has been, a sectarian policy or mentality among anyone at Ibrox...

Indeed the real sectarian problem in Scottish football quite obviously rests with Celtic for not having enough Protestants in their team for uber-bigot Jonny's liking in his hilarious article (nice to see that you've crawled back out from under your wee rock by the way). Quite ironic that he refutes the sectarian problem and follows that up by admitting to writing articles for a notorious Rangers website that has already been shut down before for it's sectarian content! Then again, you always have been one of my favourite comedians.

I repeat.

There is not, and never has been, a sectarian mindset at Ibrox...

There is not, and never has been, a sectarian mindset at Ibrox...


Say it enough times and you might actually begin to believe it.
 

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Txupa said:
I think these discussions don´t have to leave football forums as long as they stay football related. Afterall, at least here there´s a strong connection between football and politics and I´m talking in general, not only Athletic. We should send half the threads in this forum to the politics one if we turned strict.:D

I´m more worried about having 'cool' discussions without insults and personal attacks than political connotations to be honest. I´m not talking about this thread which is cool until now but in this forum we do have some experience of threads going the wrong way when the Celtic-Rangers rivalry entered, I´m talking about a while ago, Arteta´s times in Rangers.

I don´t know much about Rangers' "history" that´s being commented here, that´s why I don´t comment on it, but I read everything with a lot of interest and I like this discussion so I can elaborate my own opinion.
Fair enough. I wasn't posting at that time but I can imagine how those arguments went.

At the moment there does definitely seem to be a connection. There seems to be a belief by some that a "basque-only policy of Athletic" exists and a "No Catholics policy of Glasgow Rangers" exists. The connection being that in both cases there is proof that this is not the case at all.

It would appear some people prefer to use sensationalism to build a case that is not there for their own benefit rather than look at the facts. In the case of the old firm there is a history of the religious divide that exists to this day. Whether it's Rangers fans singing anti-catholic songs or Celtic fans signing anti-protestant songs it has nothing to do with this debate as that does not effect the signing policies of either club.
 

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If we talking litterary with racism (in the mean "Race) in the policy of this soccerclub: No although there are many basques who are claiming spaniards as my self belongs to an "inferior race".

In terms of pure nationalism then Athletic could be a perfect example of how to be used in their "struggle". In the world of soccer this seems to be working: the club is world famous for its policies, and even computer soccer game like CM have included this.

If we are talking about some very suspect things indeed, well then have a thought on this one. By novelist Luis De Castresana

We Vizcayans love Athletic because we intuit that it has something which belong to us, because we intuit that within it is a piece of ourselves..

Hence shall remember that the original decision to use only Basque players was made in the early 20 ies and there was no such policy before that. Once the orginal decision was made the side ONLY used men of Euskadi descent, born and raised in Vizcaya. It has been stretched yes but it shall be referred as a "Basque born or grown policy".

There are some serious xenophobia going on in there, and then i haven´t even spoked about from what origin many of those flags used at San Mamés have.
 

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IlPrincipe said:
Hence shall remember that the original decision to use only Basque players was made in the early 20 ies and there was no such policy before that. Once the orginal decision was made the side ONLY used men of Euskadi descent, born and raised in Vizcaya. It has been stretched yes but it shall be referred as a "Basque born or grown policy".
Therein lies an interesting point too. After the immediate foundation of most clubs, prior to 1900 at least, then clubs would obviously have made up their squad of players from the immediate surrounding area. I would imagine that would have made the best sense. So in the begining a "signing policy" of any kind would probably have not needed to exist.

Did Athletic actually make that decision public in the 20s? In the case of Rangers there has been no decision that I know of made public concerning a signing policy.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I was hoping that this would be an interesting discussion about Athletic Club, but Jonny's "insights" have already indicated the direction is going to take - turing the world upside down, turning black into white, i.e. blaming Celtic for sectarianism ini Scottish football (and by extension, society at large). Before Maurice Johnston, you have to go back to before WW1 to find the handful of Catholics on Rangers. Its because of the historic example of Rangers sectarianism that there is so much confusion over the "Basque-only" policy (actually Euskadi-only would be more accurate) of Athletic Club on the part of Celtic supporters (who if they support a Spanish club tend to go with Barcelona or Villareal) and indeed football supporters at large
 

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What a load of crap some people write!!!!

What happened in the 20's, happened in the 20's!!! That was a long time ago, if we speak in terms of human race life expectancy!! I was born 33 years ago, not 90! Things change, times change. So to say that what probably started with a rather racist/xenophobic approach hasn't changed and that what most of us who support Athletic feel about the team and its policy is kind of racist is just bullshite!!

So don't use this forum to give free rein to your dreams of yesterday's glory! Or is it just pure ignorance?

Now, there are very few Basque people, if any at all, who think they are superior to Spanish or other people!! There may be a few more who think we are just a little different, neither better nor worse. But that's maybe too difficult to understand for some... Or is it that some others feel inferior???

Last but not least: I'm the first one who gets pissed off when I see flags of ANY political colour in football stadiums, as I get very angry at the displays just before Euskadi play (you can all imagine what they are like). There's a place for everything!
 

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eugene said:
I was hoping that this would be an interesting discussion about Athletic Club, but Jonny's "insights" have already indicated the direction is going to take - turing the world upside down, turning black into white, i.e. blaming Celtic for sectarianism ini Scottish football (and by extension, society at large). Before Maurice Johnston, you have to go back to before WW1 to find the handful of Catholics on Rangers. Its because of the historic example of Rangers sectarianism that there is so much confusion over the "Basque-only" policy (actually Euskadi-only would be more accurate) of Athletic Club on the part of Celtic supporters (who if they support a Spanish club tend to go with Barcelona or Villareal) and indeed football supporters at large
Sorry, that's a blatant lie regarding WW1. As the Celtic song goes If you know your history.

If you don't know the facts don't post on the subject. At least I was respectful of the Bilbao fans in here by not commenting on their situation as I don't know enough about it.
 
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