The unimaginable feat of SD Amorebieta: promoted to Second Division with a budget of 675,000 euros

Mikel Saizar (Ibarra, Gipuzkoa, 38 years old), made his debut in the First Division on February 21, 2015. His team, Córdoba, fell 1-2 against Valencia. He played five more games and lost them all. The Andalusian team was the sixth team of a globetrotting goalkeeper. He had been at Real Sociedad for a year, but had no opportunities. He played for Pontevedra, Cultural Leonesa, and Guadalajara. After Córdoba he went to Cyprus to play with AEK Larnaka, and returned to Spain to sign for Numancia and Burgos before returning home, to his mother’s bakery in Tolosa, to help out, and to train the goalkeepers of the female Eibar, who play in the Iberdrola League. In addition, he accepted the offer of the Amorebieta. It suited him well. He works in the morning at the confectionery, trains in Urritxe in the afternoon, and on the way back to Tolosa he directs the work of the goalkeepers of the gunsmith team. He catches him in passing.

Saizar is the only Amorebieta footballer who has played in Primera, and was one of the protagonists of the lively that his team perpetrated against Badajoz, before 7,000 spectators, in the field of an economically powerful rival and that had been the best Second B club in the regular competition. The Biscayan team left the stands of the Badajo field speechless, except for the 500 followers who made 800 kilometers from Amorebieta, and achieved promotion to the Second Division, an unimaginable feat for the team of a town with 19,500 inhabitants, a border field with the AP-8 highway, like Ipurúa, and on the same side –there are 25 kilometers between one and the other–, with capacity for 1,300 spectators.

The club has a budget of 675,000 euros, the lowest of the teams classified for promotion, and its players charge a maximum of 1,500 euros per month, almost ten times less than those of Badajoz, which will continue to punish in bronze football . Many make a living from other jobs. Orozco, Larrucea and Obieta are teachers; Ekaitz Molina works in a gym, Garro, Leiza and Garai study.

A goal from Iker Bilbao in the 22nd minute, after a rejection by the local goalkeeper, served to complete the feat of a 96-year-old club with 900 members, which has traveled through all modest categories and found itself four years ago. the current president, Jon Larrea, with a deficit of 400,000 euros, most of it with Social Security. Cut expenses. In the promotion season, the payroll of footballers amounted to only 250,000 euros, much less than Messi earns in one day.

It is not an excuse to lower the level of demand of his coach, Iñigo Vélez de Mendizabal, who as a player made his debut in Primera with Murcia and also played for Athletic, although he only had 56 minutes in the Bilbao team. He stayed under Caparrós’ orders because when he was about to leave on loan, he received a call from Aduriz: “Iñigo, I’m going to Mallorca, I want to stay, but they are going to transfer me. You stay ”. He had started in the Aurrera de Vitoria, went through Espanyol B, Eibar, and after Athletic, Numancia and Xerez, where he retired at 31 with a shattered knee, a chain of injuries that he recounts in a collected testimony on a blog. “Without realizing it, I had to stop playing soccer. Without time to assimilate it, without time to prepare for a farewell, without time to realize that I would stop doing what I had done all my life, from a very very young age and for what I had fought without caring what I could be losing or what it would leave me on the way ”, he writes. “The reason for all this was injuries. I had gotten used to pain of all kinds, to playing limited by my sprains, operations, blows etc. But he was always available to play and train ”

As a coach, he started at Aretxabaleta, in the regional category, and from there he went to Amorebieta, recruited by the sports director, Asier Goiria, who at the beginning of the season reported that the team did not set specific objectives, but predicted: we put a roof. When you dress in a shirt like the Amorebieta one, it seems that you can’t aspire to bigger things. But between all of us we are gradually making people aware that we must aspire to everything ”. They have done. The Amorebieta consumed the lively and will play next season in the Second Division. It will be the eighth Biscayan team to play in the category. Before that, Arenas, Erandio, Basconia, Indauchu, Barakaldo, Sestao and Bilbao Athletic did.

In the town they hardly believe it, but after the success of the soccer team, they hope that basketball will give them another joy. The local team, Zornotza ST, plays on Tuesday the first leg of the promotion for promotion to LEB Gold, the category below the ACB League. His rival is FC Barcelona B, another colossus.

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