This La Liga club has just posted a classy message to Newcastle United - and fans are loving it

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The connection between Newcastle United and Athletic Bilbao first came to light 28 years ago.

A friendship between Newcastle United and Athletic Bilbao is growing ever-stronger following the pair’s meeting in pre-season.

Almost 30 years ago, the Magpies played the La Liga side in the UEFA Cup over two legs, and although Bilbao progressed on away goals, a special relationship had emerged. Indeed, that was cemented in 2001 when Newcastle legend Rob Lee selected the Basque club as the opposition for his testimonial.

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Twenty-one years had passed before the two sides met again, with Bilbao the visitors to St James’ Park in July. And from then, the bond has been reignited, with Athletic Club president Jon Uriarte classily presenting Wor Flags with a flag that displays the crests of both clubs.

The Magpies supporters group, of course, returned the favour, displaying a bannter in the East Stand that read ‘Ongi Etorri, Lehoiak’, translating as ‘Welcome Lions’ The friendly ended in a 2-1 win for Newcastle, but Bilbao, like Eddie Howe’s side, have enjoyed a strong start to the campaign.

United sit third in the Premier League, while Ernesto Valverde’s men are third in La Liga. Four months on from that friendly, Bilbao posted on social media to recognise the two club’s efforts so far this term.

The tweet read: “Four months on from our friendly at St. James’ Park... NUFC 3rd in the Premier League, Athletic Bilbao 4th. The Lions and the Magpies have Europe in their sights.”

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The gesture has certainly gone down well with Newcastle fans. One fan said: “Love this!! The clubs should set up a friendly again next year in Bilbao, make it a yearly thing. There’s a good atmosphere between the clubs and good opponents for pre-season.”

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