This is the new Ahtletic Club Bilbao 110th anniversary home shirt for the 2007/2008 season made by Athletic Sportswear, which is their own brand.
They are known as the Rojiblancos because of their red and white striped shirts and as Los leones because their stadium was built near a church called San Mamés (Saint Mammes). Equally debated, is the origin of the club colours. Although their first colours were blue and white stripes, in 1910 they switched to red and white stripes. There are three schools of thought about why this occurred.
The most common theory is that they were changed out of deference to Sunderland and Southampton, cities where the original British founders were from. . Another is that an Athletic member was sent to the Britain to buy a batch of blue and white tops but could not find any and returned with red and white tops instead. Perhaps the most credible theory, however, is that red and white striped tops were the cheapest stripes to make because the same combination was used to make bed mattresses. The left over cloth was easily converted into football shirts. Although both Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid started out with blue and white stripes, the discovery of a cheaper option probably persuaded them to change. The Madrid club did it first and they became known as Los Colchoneros - the mattress makers.
Athletic are one of the few clubs who do not have the logo of an official sponsor emblazoned on their kit. However in the UEFA cup and the Copa del Rey of 2004-2005, the shirt sported the word "Euskadi" in green in exchange for hundreds of thousands of euros from the Basque Government (red, white and green are the Basque colours).
Football was introduced to Bilbao by two distinct groups of players, both with British connections; British steel and shipyard workers and Basque students returning from schools in Britain.
In the late 1800s Bilbao was a leading port at the heart of an important industrial area with iron mines and shipyards nearby. It was the driving force of the Spanish economy and as a result attracted many migrant workers. Among them were miners from the north-east of England, and shipyard workers from Southampton and Portsmouth. The British workers brought with them (as to so many other parts of the world) the game of football. In the early 1890s these workers came together and formed Bilbao Football Club.
Meanwhile, sons of the Basque educated classes had made the opposite journey and went to Britain to complete their studies in civil engineering and commerce. While in the United Kingdom these students developed an interest in football and on their return to Bilbao they began to arrange games with British workers. In 1898 students belonging to the Gymnasium Zamacois founded the Athletic Club, using the English spelling. In 1901 a meeting was held in the Cafe Garcia which established more formal rules and regulations.
In 1902 the two Bilbao clubs formed a combined team, known as Club Vizcaya , in the first Copa del Rey. They returned with the trophy after defeating FC Barcelona in the final. This would lead to the eventual merger of the two clubs as Athletic Club de Bilbao in 1903. In the same year Basque students also formed Athletic Club de Madrid. This club later evolved into Atlético Madrid. The club's foundation date is a subject of debate among football historians. The club itself declares 1898, but others claim 1901 is the true founding year. There is also a strong case for 1903.