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Athletic Bilbao team-up with National League South side for Non League Day 2023

Athletic Bilbao team-up with National League South side Dulwich Hamlet for Non League Day 2023, the La Liga giants announce.

In an effort to boost attendances at local venues, a large number of the Spanish club’s most loyal fans will travel from Northern Spain to Southwark to support Dulwich Hamlet.

Clubs like Dulwich Hamlet FC are responsible for the joy that football has brought to the world over its 160-year history.

Jock Stein, the legendary Celtic manager once stated that “Football is nothing without fans.” Ah, how true that statement is.

It was the fans’ passion for the likes of Dulwich Hamlet that led to the professionalisation and growth of football. It is this same fan-led passion that fuels modern football’s business.

It may be news to you that the 125-year history of Athletic Club, including their roots, are closely tied to English football.

It was actually British sailors and workers that first kicked a ball at Bilbao’s Campa de los Ingleses dockyard, where the Guggenheim Museum is today.

The club say via their website – ‘along with workers, sailors, and footballers, English clubs who played against Los Rojiblancos in their early homes of Lamiako, and Jolaseta were key to helping to create a sense of unity between Athletic fans, and their fledgling team.

‘The seeds were planted and the passion grew, and was passed down from generation to generation until Athletic became what is it today: an elite club in the world.

‘Many of the English clubs that helped spread football to all corners of the globe have either gone out of business or are now part of England’s non-professional leagues. Even in the lower levels, those who remain are steadfastly committed to maintaining the spirit of football’s origins. They deserve every recognition and appreciation that campaigns like Non-League Day give them. Their community spirit and sense of belonging at their grounds are so authentic and genuine that it is well worth the effort.

‘Athletic Club made the right decision to promote this south London club in the Non-League Day, March 25, and it was not an easy decision. Our historical connections are deeper than the current status difference would indicate. Athletic Club is a part of Dulwich Hamlet FC’s social values. It also shares the spirit of solidarity that is best expressed in Basque by the word “auzolana”, which means “a neighbourhood working together for the common benefit”.

‘Athletic has played against many fascinating and mysterious sides, but none have a greater claim to football from another era than Shakespearean Dulwich Hamlet FC. This side even pays tribute to the English playwright with their chant “Here comes Dulwich… The pink and blue Dulwich… “Smoking a cigar… Reading Shakespeare… Hamlet!” This historic club is so small that it plays in the National League South (England’s sixth tier).

‘The struggle for survival is also represented by their pink-and-blue shirt. The real estate interests of the owners, who bought the club in 2014 for nothing but profit, saw Hamlet being expelled from their ground. But, they were able to return to Champion Hill (East Dulwich in Greater London) after overcoming the pressure of fans and national support.’

Dulwich Hamlet will play host to Oxford City on the 25th of March, a 15:00 GMT kick off at what will be a packed out Champion Hill.

Athletic Club members are allowed to be at the game for free (limited amount of tickets). Those interested can apply for a ticket by sending an email to info@fundacionathleticclub.eus

Athletic Club are to also offer travel packages to be used over the weekend of March 24-25 in partnership with B The Travel Brand, its official travel agency. This deal includes airfares, two-night accommodation in London hotels and a match ticket.

It is a fantastic opportunity to experience what Athletic Bilbao describe to be a genuine and authentic football atmosphere, as well as several pints and classic British pies with around 3,000 Dulwich Hamlet supporters in the country where this amazing sport was born.

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This is what fans said with Athletic Bilbao deciding to team-up with the National League South side for Non League Day 2023…

@theultimatebill: Crossovers you didn’t expect.

@DaveYuill: Love that πŸ‘ πŸ‘

@diegogmaroto: Delighted to know about your club and history, @DulwichHamletFC. Since now, you have a new supporter!

Tommy Haggis: Extremely cool if a bit surreal that Athletic Bilbao are linking up with us for non-league day. Looking forward to introducing a load of Basques to Morleys and Strongbow Dark Fruits.

Stuart Tones: Athletic Bilbao fans travelling over for National Non League day to support Dulwich Hamlet is random but classy all the same. Love that

@ryanherrick1000: This is a collaboration I did not expect πŸ˜… Fancy promoting leatherhead @realmadriden πŸ˜‰

@CAldridge94: Unbelievable πŸ’–πŸ’™βš½οΈ

@Riflinho: Maravilloso πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

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