Goodbye San Mamés – La Catedral

In these days of new stadium construction sometimes the old is remembered as warmly as the new.

On 16 September 2013 a new stadium in Bilbao was inaugurated. But the older Estadio San Mamés, also known as La Catedral, will certainly not be forgotten quickly in this part of Spain.  The San Mames was the former home of Athletic de Bilbao also known as Los Leones de San Mamés-Bilboko lehoiak or The Lions of San Mamés.

On March 2006, a project was approved to replace the original San Mames stadium with a new and larger version thereby increasing the stadium capacity to 53,000. The new San Mamés Stadium was built on the former site of the Bilbao International Trade Fair adjacent to the current stadium.   Construction began in April 2010 and after it was three quarters completed Athletic Club moved into this new home and the original San Mamés was demolished.

On 19 September 2014, the San Mames was selected to be one of the 13 venues to host matches at UEFA Euro 2020. The new stadium will host three group stage matches and one Round of 16 match.

Europa League finalists in 2012 Athletic are a highly progressive club with a firm strategic development plan.  Just before the San Mames was demolished we went to Bilbao to get one of Spain’s best loved stadiums captured in pictures for one last time.

You can see the images here.

This article first appeared in during 2012