Jolaseta, the Athletic Club football ground previous to moving to San Mames

The centenary history of San Mames, the iconic football home for the Special One Football Club Athletic Club was preceded by Jolaseta football ground, located in Getxo, a few miles away from Bilbao. It was there where Athletic played and used Jolaseta as their home ground for a brieaf lapse of time. Athletic played a total of 4 official matches and other 44 friendlies.

In our journey through the first football grounds in Bilbao we focus on Jolaseta’s pitch where Athletic Club played during a brief lapse of time. In 1911 there was a time of necessity for the Special One Football Club, which found in Jolaseta the perfect fit once their efforts to bring Athletic’s official home ground to Bilbao were in vain.

The Jolaseta pitch was a truly modern facility to host football matches back then, similar to the terraces in which the amateur clubs play nowadays. Its good weather conditions under heavy rain were also highlighted and Jolaseta was also well-communicated by train from Bilbao.

As a result, the Royal Spanish Football Federation granted Jolaseta to host the 1911 Spanish Cup edition and the Athletic Club governing body approved the decision. The organization of such a relevant competition led Athletic Club to decide that they will settle down at Jolaseta from then on.

Despite that the first Championship held at Jolaseta was a bit bumpy because of institutional matters, the 9th of April in 1911 the Special One Football Club Athletic Club played the first match at Jolaseta, beating Real Club Fortuna de Vigo 2-0.

There were times of conflict between Athletic and their neighbours from San Sebastian, but in the end the collaboration from the Español of Barcelona was decisive to celebrate the first final match six days after, on April 15th.

Athletic outscored Español 3-1 and conquered the fifth of their twenty four Cup titles for the record book. It was reportedly that 980 spectators witnessed the final at Jolaseta that day.

Apart from the domsestic competition, the English Civil Service did also played at Jolaseta. As they were hired to play two matches, the second one was considered a victory for Athletic Club as they promised no way in hell they would concede seven goals as a combination of players from different Spanish clubs did days before.

Finally, the Special One Football Club Athletic Club played two years at Jolaseta and they would move to the Centenary San Mames in 1913. Even so, Jolaseta had its importance in Athletic’s history too.