Athletic Prepared To Aid Barakaldo During Difficult Transition

Asier Villalibre

Bilbao Athletic in action against Barakaldo last season (MD)

Athletic have always fought for the health and growth of football in Bizkaia, especially the local clubs in the area. The Lions have built fantastic relationships with their neighboring clubs and regularly participate in celebrations, special matches, and have partnered during demanding times. This summer Barakaldo find themselves in a difficult transition and Athletic are prepared to help how they can.

Barakaldo qualified for the promotional playoff last season but fell short. Moving up would have been a massive success for the club who haven’t competed in the Segunda since 1981, but instead they find themselves in a tense situation. At the moment, Barakaldo owe a Social Security debt of €1.1 million and have just seen manager Aitor Larrazabal depart after two very successful seasons. The future of one of the oldest clubs in Bizkaia is now in question.

Barakaldo have asked Athletic for help and the two clubs have been in talks for the past few weeks, according to a report from Javier Beltrán of AS, with both working on a new collaboration agreement for four years. Barakaldo President Orlando Saiz has stated that the club’s budget will need to be reduced between 15-18% from last season and Athletic could provide aid in several different ways.

To begin with, there have already been discussions about Athletic providing the coaching staff for the Barakaldo first team this season. At this point, Iñaki Alonso is the frontrunner for the coaching position. The manager took over Alavés B in March of last season and guided the team to promotion to the Segunda B. There’s been talk of Alonso continuing at Alavés but in recent weeks he’s been negotiating with Athletic to join the coaching staff at Lezama.

If Alonso does sign with Athletic he would most likely be the one to coach Barakaldo in the upcoming season as part of the aid. However, this has been refuted by an exclusive report from Juanma Mallo of El CorreoInstead, the Lions have shared the idea of playing a friendly match to celebrate the opening of Ciudad Deportiva Fabril which would take place during the international break in September. This is more in line with what the club has done in the past with others such as Leioa and Arenas later this summer. Athletic could also be willing to loan a player to Barakaldo.

Whatever is to come, Athletic have expressed their willingness and desire to help Barakaldo during this difficult time. The Zurigorri will not be giving money to Barakaldo but will use other methods to aid their neighbors and help the century-old club quickly get back on the right track.

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