Club name: SD Amorebieta
Level: Segunda División B
Stadium: El Campo Municipal de Urritxe
Maximum Capacity: Stand 500, overall 3,000
Ticket Prices: 17€ for the stand, 13€ for standing and Under 18’s free
How to arrive: Train or bus to Amorebieta followed by a short walk to the stadium
This weekend I went to the small town of Amorebieta to watch its resident football club SD Amorebieta take on the presently undefeated Segunda División B leaders, CD Mirandes. For this round of the journey, I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by the extremely generous and knowledgeable fan Gaizka Artetxe who answered all my questions, gave me a detailed account of the history of his club, provided me with some fantastic football chat, and ensured I had a generally marvellous time.
Amorebieta is a typical Basque town, it has a small population of about 20,000 people and is surrounded by stunning landscapes of vibrant green hills and mountains. The club SD Amorebieta was founded in 1925 and for the first 37 years of its existence it competed in the regional leagues of Bizkaia before being promoted to the Tercera División in 1962/63. From here on in the club spent all of its time – with the exception of two years in 72/73 and 73/74- either in the Tercera or the preferente (league below the Tercera) until 2011 when the club managed to gain promotion to the Segunda División B where it still turns out today. In the proceeding years, the club has managed to establish itself within the league, even though it has nowhere near the same financial strength as some of its rivals. In the summer, the clubs previous manager, former Athletic player, Aitor Larrazabal left for local giants Barakaldo FC. He was replaced by the Athletic legend and ex-Basconia coach Joseba Etxebarria whose task like his predecessors is to keep the club in the league. There have been some struggles and the team finds itself going through a bad patch of form having only won one game so far this season.
The home of SD Amorebieta is the Campo Municpal Urritxe. The area upon which the stadium stands has been used as a football pitch since before the SDA came into existence and SDA has used it since their creation. In 2000, the old stadium was torn down and a newer more modern stadium was constructed in its place. The stadium is full of charm and warmth; it has a stand that can fit about 500 spectators, as well as plenty of space to watch the match from the edges of the pitch, and moreover there is also small bar where a beer can be brought for just 2.10€. Like most of the stadiums I have encountered thus far, Urritxe has some stunning views to complement the football being played.
Down to Logistics
Amorebieta isn’t on the metro so getting there requires using either a bus or a train. In terms of train you can get an Euskotren from the Atxuri station in Bilbao, during the weeks the train go every 30 minutes and at the weeked every hour. When I went, I took the bus. There are several buses that pass through Amorebieta on their way to other towns through Bizkaia, but the easiest and most straightforward ones to catch are the A3514 or A3515 both of which can be found in Bilbao outside of the Abando train station. The journey from Bilbao to Amorebieta only takes about 20 minutes and you should look to get off at the San Juan stop. From here walk straight up the road towards the roundabout and take a right on to San Juan Kalea. Carry on down this road and across the motorway bridge, on the other side of the bridge the stadium should come into view. At the stadium you’ll see a large main gate with men checking tickets, the ticket office is to the right of the gate. There are two options for tickets: Tribuna (stand) for 17€ or General for 13€ and under 18’s are let in for free. (The bar is underneath the stand on the left closest to the entrance)
This was an example of match that perhaps didn’t get its catalyst until too late. In the first half, both teams seemed quite stifled and the game lacked any real rhythm. Although, it would be fair to say that Mirandes were definitely the most dominant team, they were far more aggressive in attack they managed to put together some slick passing combinations but they were unstuck by some solid defending from Amorebieta. There were only 3 moments of note when either team actually troubled the oppositions net: the first one being a well saved shot from distance by Amorebieta’s Argentine central midfielder Sebastian Setti; then Amorebieta’s keeper Zabal was forced into making a great reflex save to prevent a deflection being turned into an own goal from defender Luengo and in the 39th minute a wonderfully struck left-footed free kick looked to have gone in but alas it was a trick of light and it had in fact hit the netting above the goal. The beginning of the second half followed a similar vein, Mirandes controlled the pace and the tempo of the game but real chances were not forthcoming. This is all changed in the 58th minute as the Amorebieta saved a shot but the rebound was tucked away by Mirandes’ striker Cervero. This moment proved to be the spark needed to set off the game, just five minutes later Mirandes came close to killing the match off when a fine flowing passing move lead to them heading just over the bar from within the penalty area. Over the next 15 minutes the pace of the game increased substantially and both teams played with far more urgency as Amorebieta looked to salvage as result from the fixture and Mirandes looked to settle the game. Unfortunately for Amorebieta, in spite of all their efforts they were unable to break down a supremely confident Mirandes who continued their unbeaten streak and extended their lead at the top of the table. Although it was not the result SDA were looking for they acquitted themselves well and played with a lot of heart, if they carry on in this vein there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to start picking up some points and moving up the table.
On a personal level, this was a fantastic experience for me. The atmosphere at Urritxe was friendly and warm, and all of the staff and fans were incredibly inviting. I even had the honour of being allowed to attend the post-match press conferences of both managers. I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone involved with the club and especially to Gaizka for being a perfect football match companion.