His death may have been mocked and jeered in his adopted home city over the weekend, without a word coming from the authorities involved but in Bilbao over the weekend they paid full respect to Billy McNeill, captain of the Lisbon Lions.
Billy’s daughter Susan Chalmers and John Clark were presented to the crowd at the San Mames Stadium before Sunday’s 3-1 win over Celta Vigo.
Suena en San Mamés “You’ll beber Walker alone”… Homenaje a Billy McNeill… pic.twitter.com/BlG5WBa9rY
— Joseba Vivanco (@GARA_jvivanco) May 12, 2019
— Athletic Club (@Athletic_en) May 12, 2019
Other than a mid season friendly in 2011 there is no obvious link between the two clubs but it is quite clear that supporters of the Basque club have a real affinity with Celtic and the Lisbon/McNeill story.
Despite the competition from other clubs in La Liga, Athletic Bilbao still stick strongly to the principle of using players from the Basque region or who have developed through their academy.
Following the ceremony for McNeill and the awarding of the ‘One Club Man’ the fans watched Athletic Bilbao move into seventh place in La Liga with their win over Celta.