Skip to main content

The story of Txema Añibarro and the Basque dream (7th December, 2017)

This picture below encapsulates Spanish football, and all its dichotomies, perfectly.



The player on the left played for an Andalusian, is from Columbia, and cost 7 million euros. The one on the right played for a Basque club, is from the Basque Country, and cost nothing.

Today's story, naturally, is about the story on the right.

Txema Añibarro, a 6'2" rugged defensive midfielder, is very much the definition of the stereotypical Basque player....This is the story of a man who rose up the league system, from the fifth tier to the first, via only Basque clubs.

He started out with the juvenil sides of Padura (1997-98) and Indartsu (1998-99), before making his first team debut with fifth tier (Preferente) side Galdakao.

He would go on to play in the fifth tier for three seasons, one with Galdakao and two with Arratia (2000-02), before being signed by Tercera side Lemona in 2002, at the age of 23. After one season each with Lemona, Aurrerá Ondarroa and Gernika, he signed for Sestao River in 2005, where he would spend three seasons - the first ended with promotion, and at the age of 27 he would made his Segunda B debut. He became an undisputed starter, and earned a move to Segunda side Eibar in 2008.

Añibarro, now 29, appeared in 25 matches in his first season for the club and as a professional, but the Armeros were relegated to the Segunda B. However, he would remain at the club, and contributed with 27 appearances in the promotion campaign of 2012-13. And after Eibar's double promotion, the 35-year-old made his La Liga debut on the 16th of January, 2015.

Txema renews with Eibar for an additional season, 2014.

He would retire after the 2014-15 season - having risen from the fifth tier to the first, it was the end of a 15 year career on a literal high. He was immediately appointed coach at Athletic Bilbao's Cadete C team, perhaps to be a role model for youngsters looking for a symbol of perseverance...




And yet you don't know him. And Txema knows that - in March 2015, the La Liga player said that "Maybe Messi thinks Añibarro is a river in Eibar".

Is it just me, or is it genuinely saddening that there is a non-zero chance of that being true?



This blog loves mapping player's entire careers onto Google Maps.

Voilà.



The stadiums of Padura - Indartsu - Galdakao - Arratia - Lemona - Aurrerá Ondarroa - Gernika - Sestao River - Eibar


It's the proximity between the clubs that is fascinating...

Padura and Indartsu are just 3 km away from each other. Indartsu and Galdakao are 5 km away from each other. Galdakao and Arratia are 15 km away from each other. Arratia and Lemona are 6 km away from each other. Lemona and Aurrerá Ondarroa are 49 km away from each other. And then it's another 40 km to Gernika. And then another 47 km to Sestao River. And finally another 55km to Eibar.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Francisco Pérez Pérez - the actual oldest player to have played in Spain (1st November, 2017)

I've always wanted to ask a football player: how much do you love your club? If you see your club go down, what are you willing to put on the line to see them go back up? The notion that "players will come and players will go, but the fans are the club" is one that is sadly true in what has become a money-filled sport. The story of a player sacrificing money and success for his club? That story is rare. That story is beautiful. This is that story. This is the story of a player who loved his club. His local club. It'll be a long time if and when someone beats his record. Francisco Pérez Pérez, also known as Chico, currently holds the record for being the oldest player to play in the Segunda B - 43 years and 93 days is the figure. That's a figure that second place Diego Rodríguez Fernández (41 years and 324 days) falls short of by a year and 134 days. I should also point out that the top 3 list for oldest players to play in any of the top three tier

Non-league Incider: Cray Valley Paper Mills 4-4 Punjab United Gravesend

Last game: 9th August: St Helens Town 3-0 Atherton Laburnum Rovers After ripping up my groundhopping calendar, mostly because I was determined to avoid overnight travel, and partly due to other commitments, there was a period of time where non-league football took a backseat. But that period did not last long. Because of course it didn't. Secretly, I'd loved travelling over ten hours back-and-forth to watch some 10th division football. And this was 9th division football in London. When I had gone to East Dulwich exactly a week back , I had commented on how the amount of graffiti struck me as I watched from on board a southeastern train. I was going the exact same way, but much further this time - then I had stopped at Denmark Hill, now I would have to go six stations further. The graffiti I had thought was so emblematic of south London quickly disappeared, as did the tall buildings desperately cluttered together. We, and by we I mean me, were going to the suburb

Who is Raúl Martín Presa, the Mickey Mouse? Part 1. (20th August, 2017)

José María Ruiz-Mateos was the head and main shareholder of Nueva Rumasa - the company that owned Rayo and other companies - mainly specializing in dairy products. (He wasn't the president of Rayo though - his wife, Teresa Rivero, was Rayo's president). In early 2011, the directors announced a debt of over 700 million euros, that it was on the verge of bankruptcy and that staff wouldn't be paid. And the players were visibly angry about it - captain Míchel assured the press that the club would continue fighting on the pitch, but the day after the announcement was made, six key players didn’t attend training. Veteran midfielder José María Movilla spoke on radio station SER about the situation, about the fact that he had only received seven of the last eighteen months of pay, about the fact that there were a few players who couldn't even afford car repairs. When Rayo Vallecano were about to earn promotion to La Liga despite all the odds - the players not being paid,