Former Real Sociedad striker John Aldridge has hailed the club as ‘special’ on his return to San Sebastian for the first time in 25 years.
Aldridge, who joined the Basques from Liverpool in September 1989 to become La Real’s first foreign player since the 1960s, is this week filming a documentary in the city about the difficulties faced by British players when they move abroad.
After being given a warm welcome by fans before the game against Espanyol at the weekend, the 56-year-old has since told of his feelings for the club.
“It’s great to be back and everyone has been very polite and affectionate towards me,” he told local reporters.
“It feels special to come back here and I’ve so many memories of the goals I scored with La Real. I’m really happy people remember me after such a long time.
“San Sebastian has changed a lot since I was last here but in other ways it’s just the same. It’s still a beautiful and magnificent city.
“Everyone has been so friendly and it’s hard to put into words how I feel.”
Aldridge scored 40 goals in 75 appearances in all competition for the Txuri-urdin and says he is impressed with Anoeta, although the old ground, demolished in 1994, holds fond memories for him.
“The new ground isn’t the same but it’s still a fantastic stadium and just like the old one it’s got something about it, yet the other will always be special for me.
“It was an English-style ground, quite antiquated, and there was always a lot of pressure created on opposing teams because of the proximity of the fans to the pitch.
“I wish the club all the best and they will always have a place in my heart,” he added.