CA Osasuna perhaps isn't one of the biggest names in the Spanish top flight league, but the 100-year-old-club is determined to oversee a bright future that will show the world how special the club is.
On October 24, 2020, CA Osasuna welcomed in 100 years of existence in its base in Pamplona, in Spain's northern Navarre region. Since the club's inception, it has gone on to feature as a regular club within La Liga Santander, with the 2020/21 season the 39th campaign in the league.
The club shares a similarity with that of the two biggest teams in not just Spain but the world, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, in that they are member run clubs, meaning major decisions are voted on by the club's members and one that has been popular amongst fans of Osasuna.
Recently, the benefits of having a member run club were laid bare after it was collectively agreed that Osasuna's El Sadar stadium should undergo redevelopment. Plans were put to supporters in a referendum, leading to the stadium having a new roof installed, a safe standing section and new lighting and speakers installed, alongside a range of other features too.
“We realised that the supporters themselves should be the ones to make such an important decision," said club president Luis Sabalza.
El Sadar also holds an impressive record of being the loudest stadium in La Liga, which was measured at 115.7 decibels when the 19,239 fans celebrated a volley from Juanfran Torres, past legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas, to see the club remain in the league despite all the odds of doing so on the final day of the 2008/2009 season.
Another impressive achievement of the Pamplona-based club is their academy, Tajonar, that has repeatedly produced talent year after year but still remains in the shadow of some of the biggest academies in world football like La Masia of Barcelona and La Fábrica of Real Madrid. Currently, seven Tajonar academy graduates operate within Osasuna's first team squad. Only five other clubs in the league can boast more graduates in their 2020/21 squads - Athletic Club, Barcelona, RC Celta, Real Sociedad and Villareal CF.
The Tajonar academy has also produced some of the finest talents that can be seen across Europe, including Chelsea's César Azpilicueta, Bayern Munich’s Javi Martínez, Athletic Club’s Raúl García and Real Sociedad’s Nacho Monreal and Mikel Merino.
The academy's success can be put down to Osasuna's impressive scouting network, alongside greeting these talents with first-class facilities that include two full grass pitches and five artificial ones as well as gyms, classrooms, medical facilities and much more.
Osasuna has exploited a growth in popularity within certain markets in recent years too, by launching English-language social media accounts, following interest in the club after players from England, Ireland and Australia became involved with Osasuna. The club also expanded its fanbase to Iran due to the arrival of Iranian superstars Masoud Shojaei and Javad Nekounam.
Premier Sports Network spoke to club president Luis Sabalza about the club's current successes over the last 100 years and his hopes for CA Osasuna's future.
"Since our founding in 1920, we have continued with an identity," started Sabalza. "It's true to say that you have to adapt to the times. We can't permanently be very romantic, you have to be realistic.
"This is a very complex world, the business today is very complicated. There are many clubs who are owned by multinational companies and owners who are millionaires but at Osasuna, we have a constant.
"It's a bit like David versus Goliath as the bible says. David solves problems and we have a desire ourselves to be better. Remaining in the first division for many, many years is our intention and we have done this in the past and lets hopes we can manage to continue to do this. We hope that the member run companies can achieve just as much."
The beginning of Osasuna's next 100 years has not started off as expected, having to endure a global pandemic struck footballing season, which currently sees them fighting to avoid relegation into Spain's second division. The club will be hoping for a strong second half to the campaign so as to maintain their position in the Spanish top flight and build on what they hope will be an even stronger future.
Author: Jake Wilkin