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Saints Home Pre Season Friendly Announced
Wednesday, 21st Jul 2021 10:01

Southampton FC have announced their usual home pre season friendly a week ahead of the start of the Premier League season, a chance for most Saints fans to enter St Mary's and see their team in action for the first time in nearly 18 months.

The opposition for St Mary's fixture will be Spanish club Athletic Bilbao, a team we played before in pre season 5 years ago when Shane Long scored to give us victory, and of course we are linked with due to the Spanish side playing in their red & white striped kit due to a trip to England by one of their official in 1909 but more of that later.

Also Matt Le Tissier was honoured for his contribution to football by the Spanish club, back in 2015 Le Tiss became the first recipient of their “One Club Man Award”, designed to honour those who have spent their entire career at one side

The game will be played at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday 7th August, 3pm and the club will announce ticket details later in the week.

So how did Athletic Club come to play in the stripes?

It all dates back to December 1909 when a young student from Bilbao named Juan Elorduy, who was spending Christmas 1909 in London, was charged by the club to buy 25 new shirts, but he was unable to find any one who could supply that number.

He returned to Southampton and was waiting for the ship home when he realised that the colours of the local team Southampton FC matched the colours of the City of Bilbao, and so he bought 50 shirts to take with him. Upon arriving in Bilbao, the club's directors decided almost immediately to change the team's strip to the new colours, and since 1910, Athletic Club have played in red and white stripes.

But the story doesn't stop there, Elorduy was also a committee member and a former player at Athleico Madrid which had originally begun as a youth branch of Athletic Bilbao and half of the 50 shirts were sent to Madrid who also changed their colours to the Red & White stripes of Saints.

Throughout the world when you think of both Athletic Bilbao and Athletico Madrid you think of Red & White stripes and that is also the case when football fans think of Southampton FC , so those who think our strip should be about a colour scheme and not a design should take note of this, Liverpool & Manchester united play in the same colours as us but they would not dream of playing in red & white stripes of hoops for instance, would Celtic opt for green & white stripes etc etc.

Football is based on tradition, the biggest clubs recognise that and know that it is about celebrating the tradition of the club, it is about having identity, those clubs who change designs and colour schemes do not have that recognisable identity.

Photo: Action Images

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