Stadiums aren’t filling. Fans are largely treated with disdain. And while the authorities are now belatedly acting to stamp out bad atmosphere, little is being done to foment a good atmosphere
Sid Lowe writes for The Guardian.com–Sunday in Euskadi. In the Frontón Bizkaia, Juan Martínez de Irujo was wearing a big Basque beret and an even bigger smile, holding the trophy with battered and heavily bandaged hands, another pelota triple crown his. In the Bilbao Arena, Bilbao Basket beat Real Madrid, knocking them off the top for the first time in 78 games. And in the Teatro Principal in San Sebastián, Athletic Club de Bilbao were about to take on Real Sociedad in the Bertso Derbi, a kind of Basque sing-and-joke-off. Not far away, down the boulevard and in from the beach, Anoeta waited in the rain for the main event: Athletic Bilbao versus Real Sociedad.
In the narrow streets of the old town, they had been having an informal Bertso Derbi of their own, in between the patxaran and the pintxos. Blue and white shirts and scarves were everywhere, even on a dog or two. There were red and white shirts too; fewer than normal, but they were there.
The photos in Monday morning’s papers are familiar: a Real Sociedad fan kisses her Athletic-supporting boyfriend; groups of supporters drink together. The Basque derby is always a bit different; an “example” said la Real’s captain Xabi Prieto. And this weekend it was more different than ever, they said.
Read more on The Guardian.com: Spanish Football Has Become Fragmented and Flat