This article was translated by John R. Bopp
This month is the 38th anniversary of that historic match. It was on August 16, 1979 that the Basque Country Team once again played in its homeland, an event that hadn’t happened since the Spanish Civil War.
It was soon after the end of the Franco dictatorship, at a time when the people of the Lower Basque Country started regaining the control of their own history. During those tumultuous times, it was decided that a national football team should once again be set up, in order to represent our country before all other nations. Their latest referential role model was the “Selección de Euzkadi” that was set up by the Basque Government during the Spanish Civil War, which always played on foreign soil. It was a team made up of extraordinary men who were able to represent their homeland before the world with dignity and pride in the most difficult of times.
We’re talking about this because we’ve had an article written by Marcus Maher for the Irish broadcaster Newstalk saved since February. In it, he tells us about the importance that team that represented the Republic of Ireland gave to this match so full of symbolism.
It was at San Mamés stadium, with proceeds going to the defense of the Basque language. And as we can read in the article, it was also an event that left a profound and very positive mark on that team that, in such difficult times for both nations, came to support a country that was just waking up from a nightmare.
The final score…doesn’t matter.
Newstalk – 18/2/2017 – Irlanda
The symbolic day an Irish XI faced their Basque counterparts
It was the year the Pope arrived at Phoenix Park to over 1.25 million people.There was more strife as the Troubles continued, north and south of the border. Over half a million was lost to the exchequer in industrial action. The punt left the sterling and joined the European Monetary system. Jack Lynch resigned to be followed by Charles Haughey and a group from Dublin rode high in the charts complaining about Mondays. 1979 was that year.