The Athletic Club family mourns the passing of one of their greatest myths in the Special One Football Club history, Koldo Aguirre, who has passed away at the age of 80. Sondika born genius will be always considered as one of the most prestigious managers for the Basque side, as well as his outstanding performance in Athletic’s Copa del Rey win against Real Madrid and Alfredo Di Stefano, featuring the ‘Eleven Villagers’ players.
Koldo Aguirre touched the glory with Athletic Club as manager during the 1976/77 season, in which the Special One Football Club would terminate as runner-up in the UEFA Europa League and the Spanish Cup competitions. His team was defeated by Juventus and Real Betis respectively, but that is acknowledged one of the most memorable seasons of the club in the 20th century.
Koldo Aguirre carried also Athletic’s blood in his veins and he became a special ambassador for the club once his retirement came. Every time he was required to, Aguirre travelled every corner os Spain with his inseparable friend Jose Mari Argoitia to spread the love for the Special One Football Club Athletic Club. After all, the legacy of Koldo Aguirre will be endless at Athletic’s family.
The last farewell to a legend will be held tomorrow July 5 at the San Pedro church in Bilbao at 6 pm. As a young prospect, Koldo Aguirre led Athletic to one of the most inmense triumphs in the Spanish Cup with only eighteen years old. With just eight appearances, Koldo Aguirre participated in the 2-0 win over Alfredo Di Stefano’s Real Madrid. That title meant Koldo Aguirre’s baptism as a lion, lining up in the special Eleven Villagers squad, on of the most famous ones in the centenary history of Athletic Club.
Koldo Aguirre made 296 appearances and 64 goals as an Athletic Club football player, ending his career at Sabadell where he only took part in three matches. He only left Athletic to dodge the unpleasant load to be the only one who knew about his brother Iñaki suffering from leukemia. “I was exhausted as I was not telling the truth to my mum about Iñaki’s health condition, and I was the only person who knew he suffered from leukemia.”
His football expertise and vision drew the attention of the former Athletic Club president Jose Antonio Eguidazu, who named Koldo Aguirre manager after a successful season at Bilbao Athletic. Back then, Athletic’s football performances were absolutely impressive and as a result the Basque side played the 1976/77 UEFA Europa League against Juventus after beating Ujpest Dozsa, Basel, AC Milan, FC Barcelona and Racing White Molenbeek.
That was a dramatic season -and aching in the end- for the Special One Football Club Athletic Club. In the second leg of the final against Juventus, Koldo Aguirre’s side came back from a 1-0 defeat in Turin but a few confusing decisions by the referee Linemayer left Athletic empty-handed. Even more tragic was the Spanish Cup final loss against Real Betis in the penalty shootout for Koldo Aguirre, whose friend Rafa Iriondo outcompeted him on that day.
During the above interview posted by Athletic Club on social media, Koldo Aguirre said that the Basque side “will allways continue this way, being different from other teams in the world and that is why I am satisfied with having participated in so many things here at Athletic Club.” Without a doubt, a Special One Football Player in Athletic Club’s history.