Athletic Bilbao B
|Full name||Athletic Club|
|Nickname(s)||Los Leones (The Lions)|
Basque Country, Spain
|Manager||José Ángel Ziganda|
|League||2ªB – Group 2|
|2013–14||2ªB – Group 2, 5th|
Athletic Bilbao B is a Spanish football club based in Bilbao, in the autonomous community of Basque Country. Founded in 1964 it is the reserve team of Athletic Bilbao, and currently plays in Segunda División B – Group 2, holding home matches at Instalaciones Athletic Bilbao, with a 2,000-seat capacity.
Unlike the English league system, reserve teams in Spain play in the same football pyramid as their senior team rather than a separate league. However, reserves cannot play in the same division as their senior team. Therefore, Bilbao Athletic are ineligible for promotion to La Liga. Reserve teams are also no longer permitted to enter the Copa del Rey. In addition, only under-23 players, or under-25 with a professional contract, can switch between senior and reserve teams.
The Bilbao Athletic name was first used in 1938 during the Spanish Civil War, when both La Liga and the Copa del Rey were suspended; several of top Athletic players subsequently joined the Euskadi XI. This team was put together at the suggestion of José Antonio Aguirre, the president of the Basque Country, himself a former Athletic Bilbao footballer.
The team went on tour to raise funds for the Basque cause, and also played in Europe and Mexico. However, the Campeonato de Vicaya continued to be played. With their best players on tour with the Basque national team, Athletic Bilbao could only field weakened sides and, as a result, chose to enter under the name Bilbao Athletic. Despite this, they still won the championship; the club's name was derived from the two clubs that merged in 1903 to become Athletic Bilbao – Bilbao Football Club and Athletic Club.
The name was revived in 1964, when Athletic Bilbao decided to establish a reserve team with Agustín Gaínza as coach. The new Bilbao Athletic initially played in local regional leagues before winning promotion to Tercera División in 1966, under Rafa Iriondo; in 1969 they first reached Segunda División.
In 1983–84, with José Ángel Iribar as coach, and an emerging Julio Salinas as striker, the reserves finished in second place, only trailing Castilla CF; both teams were ineligible for promotion, and Salinas won the Pichichi.
Bilbao Athletic returned to the third level in 1996, but the main squad continued to be nurtured with several players which had spells with the reserves.
- As farm team:
- Club Atlético de Bilbao Amateur (1964–66)
- Bilbao Atlético Club (1966–72)
- Bilbao Athletic Club (1972–91)
- As reserve team:
- Athletic Club B (1991–)
Season to season
- As farm team
- As reserve team
- 13 seasons in Segunda División
- 22 seasons in Segunda División B
- 10 seasons in Tercera División
- 2 seasons in Categorías Regionales
See also: Category:Athletic Bilbao footballers
Note: this list contains players who have appeared in at least 100 league games for the first team or have reached international status.