I was in a small bar called Nestor, in the old part of town (San Sebastian), where there is one of the best great steaks and tomato salad in the world. So good that removes the hiccups…if you´ve never been there, you should.
And I met with Yokin Aperribay, Real Sociedad’s president.
Hey Yokin, how are you? Tomato and Steak?
Yokin and I were fellow desk during the school, Arístegui – Aperribay. We sat in alphabetical order. We did all school together.
“There is something to do with the first level rugby in Anoeta. Not just the Top 14. Something more. I was in a meeting in Paris with Serge Blanco and discussed the idea about organize a test-match between All Blacks and France in Anoeta to inaugurate the new stadium.” “Excuse me!! What are you talking about??”
There is where all started. Previously there were similar proposals; however the budget for a test match as All Blacks vs France is something different. The link between Real Sociedad football club and the Rugby was the tie that lacked the gift.
I talked with Alfonso Feijoó, Spanish Rugby Federation’s President, I think that he has been to dissemble any time I mentioned this topic about the test match, as per I tired him up with it. However, always finish in the same way:
“So Alfonso, am I keep pushing or not?; Yes Aitor, please, keep pushing”
was always his answer before away from me.
Great guy Alfonso. We were very lucky to have him in this position, repairing the Spanish Rugby.
And one day, Eugenio Martinez, colleague and coach in Kreab Alcobendas and one of the persons, who are doing a lot for the Spanish Rugby, shared with me the success of the first Think Tank of Rugby he organized in Madrid.
Immediately I shared with him the idea, the project that will position the Spanish Rugby in the world rugby map. That project will make our rugby seeable. That project will mark a new stage.
The first call I done was to my first rugby club, the club where I grew, which as the first kiss, you always carries in your heart. The Bera Bera Rugby Taldea. They had just organized the EGOR (European Golden Oldies Rugby) with a great success.
So I talked with Iñaki Laskurain, President of the Basque Federation. He is more than a friend. We played together in the Atletico San Sebastian and was my rival (very stuff by the way) when I played in the Real Canoe and he played in the Getxo. Again I talked with Iñaki Otegi, manager of the Real Sociedad, and Jose Mari Epalza ex IRB and member of the Executive Committee of the European Rugby.
All of them provided consistency to the project. We are ready. We started with presentations, sleep less o does not sleep directly. And pray to allow everybody to assist to the match.
This is rugby, and as we learned during our life, we should be together and push all in the same direction and at the same time. So everybody was agreeing with the project”. The target was clear; bring investors outside from the rugby. Work with the brands to loyal them to the Spanish Rugby; looking for a brave investor to bet by Rugby Challenge DSS and make this event in an annual basis.
Today, 3 days after the launch, there are many investors with their brands behind interested to link their brand with Rugby Values. They are first class investors. And this will not stop.
Those who doesn’t know us, doesn’t know about our persistence; they doesn’t know about our union as a team; they doesn’t know that we will never look backwards, we always look forward.
HONESTY, SACRIFACE, RESPECT, those are values in our DNA.
In 2019 Anoeta will have capacity by 45.000 people, which is the minimum capacity need to bring the All Blacks. However, before that, you could bet that we will have Rugby.