Saints confirm Athletic Club friendly

By SFC Media time Wed 21 Jul Pre-season
Photo by James Bridle

Southampton will host La Liga outfit Athletic Club in a pre-season friendly at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday 7th August, 3pm BST, as preparations continue ahead of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign.

The friendly will take place seven days prior to the opening day trip to Everton, as Ralph Hasenhüttl looks to finalise his side’s build-up to the clash at Goodison Park.

Ticket details for the match will follow later this week.

The 2020/21 season was Athletic’s 90th consecutive season in the Spanish top flight, finishing 10th in the table and enjoying two successful cup runs, lifting the Supercopa de España trophy with victory over Barcelona, as well as losing to the same opponents in the Copa del Rey final.

Next month’s meeting will follow on from 2016's friendly, where Shane Long's strike proved to be the difference. However, the two clubs share a history that dates back much longer.

Shane Long celebrates, Southampton v Athletic Club, friendly fixture at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England on 6 August 2016. Photo by Matt  Watson/SFC/Digital South.
Shane Long scored when the two sides met in 2016. (Photo: Matt Watson)

The two places share a trade link that dates back to the 19th Century, when the Spanish city was a leading port of a key industrial era. It was the driving force of the Spanish economy and attracted many workers from overseas, including those from the Southampton shipyards.

Those British workers who emigrated brought the game of football with them, and are credited for introducing the sport to the area and forming Bilbao FC, an early making of Athletic Club as they stand today.

Athletic are even credited with playing in red and white stripes because a club representative was sent over to England many years ago to source a new kit. Upon arriving back to Southampton, where he was departing from, he remembered he did not have any, so he brought 50 Saints shirts with him, which were shared between themselves and Atletico Madrid.

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