When someone names a follower of the Athletic the expression "bienio negro", the amateur changes his face. The most sensitive ones start to run a cold sweat and the tachycardia appears in the clinical horizon. Technically, the black biennium, for the rojiblanca fans, is the period that takes place between approximately 18.50 hours on September 18, 2005 and more or less, the same time on June 17, 2007, on the day that the teams were installed. defibrillators in San Mamés.
On the first date, a goal from Antonio Hidalgo in the discount gave the victory to Malaga in San Mamés, in what – although then it was not known – was going to be a succession of setbacks over two seasons that devoured two presidents, four coaches and a handful of players, until the end, in the victory against Levante that prevented the relegation to Second Division of Athletic in 2007.
And the shadow of the black biennium reappears after a disheartening start to the season that, as on that occasion, Athletic began with victory at San Mamés. Then, the rojiblanco team has added seven draws and three defeats, in the grayest cycle in official competition. In season 2005-06 it accumulated 11 parties of League without victories, but it obtained in the middle of these two triumphs in Glass in front of Real Union and Hospitalet.
But perhaps the most worrying fact is that, since it began 2018, Athletic has played 32 league games and has only managed to win six. He added five victories in the 21 crashes under Ziganda and only one with Berizzo on the bridge.
While the discouragement spreads among the rojiblancos fans, in Lezama the confusion is spreading. "The reality is that we are going down and we must be aware of the discomfort we are in and work to get out, but winning is needed by all the teams. What you have to find is a solid way to play and, from there, try to win, "says Eduardo Berizzo, the coach, who has not just found the key that Ziganda did not find either.
The Argentine coach, however, found himself in different circumstances. The Navarre had to work with the same team Valverde, which left Athletic in the Europa League, while Berizzo counted at the start with Yuri Berchiche, Capa, Dani Garcia and the Romanian Ganea, who has not yet debuted. Kepa Arrizabalaga lost in the middle of the preseason, but it is not the goal line that can worry the coach. The lack of goal and intensity in the game weigh at the time of facing matches. "Athletic has always needed to play at a strong pace, go for all the balls. It's not just a matter of Mikel Rico pressing if nobody else does, as if there was no faith, "says Sergio Corino, former rojiblanco player.
Berizzo tries to find solutions, even abjuring his principles. Against Valencia, recovered for the center of the field to San Jose and Rico, who seemed discarded, and discarded previous plans. In the Villamarín and Camp Nou, Athletic played well and scratched a point in each appointment. In the exits to Ipurúa and Vallecas, nevertheless, it wanted to have the ball and it could not do it in front of two equipment that tightened strong. However, he also scored.
Against Espanyol gave the feeling that he played what his opponent wanted. According to Berizzo, "the game was not reprehensible, it was played as we had thought, with a lot of pressure, intensity and equal in the first half. Everyone gave themselves completely and as long as that happens there is always hope. " But some of the veterans start to realize that it can be a bad year. "You have to come out facing and more together than ever. We have experienced similar situations and we have all come together. We must be together and with the support of our people we are going to achieve it ", says Marcos.
Nobody wants to talk about the black biennium, although there are pessimistic voices among those who lived it. "The Athletic model is over," says an ex-director who prefers to remain anonymous. "Everything that has come again in the world of football is against the Athletic model, since the Bosman ruling. In a few years, the danger of descending to the Second will be very real. "
As it happens in Real Madrid, where Cristiano's goals are missing, Athletic is missing those of Aduriz, who have been the support of the team in recent seasons, but who no longer arrive. With more than 37 years, the Guipuzcoan striker is no longer able to be the lethal striker of previous years. "We do not translate the domain into the final meters, or the options we have do not give the value they have, as in the occasions of Williams or Aduriz. The recipe is not magic and we have to take advantage of the occasions when we have them, "says Berizzo, who can not find the solution to improve the 11 goals scored in 11 games.
Aduriz has done an impeccable service, but his successor, Iñaki Williams, has not scored a goal in San Mamés for more than two years. Double headache "It is worrisome not to be able to crystallize the game developed in victory, because we generated a lot of play to have little impact on the net and we received the goal in a defensive mess when the match was ours," said the coach at the end of Monday's game. Espanyol, which extended the rojiblanca crisis one more day.