Athletic Club Bilbao is unique within the Spanish football league, and not only because of its policy of hiring only Basque players. The Biscay club also has a rather special feathered fan.
It has long been said that Athletic Club Bilbao, a football club from the city of Bilbao in the Basque Country, is a special case in world football. Besides giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, the Basques are the only Spanish team never to have been relegated to the second division.
However, it is not this that makes them special. The Bilbao team is lovingly shackled to a unique charter: To only hire players from the Basque Country, a proud patch of Europe with a population of just 2.1 million. The policy is all the more astonishing considering the mind-boggling transfer fees that characterize the elite leagues.
Athletic Club Bilbao's policy stands in stark, and perhaps refreshing contrast to the growing cynicism among rich clubs "buying" championships and players, ditching fans for the highest bidder.
Now, there is one more thing that makes Athletic Club Bilbao a special case in world football. They are probably the only soccer team whose anthem is song by a parrot. Berritsu, a parrot owned by a fan of the Club, does not only whistle the Athletic song, but also cheers the team and celebrates their goals.