Who are Real Union Club? Why Aston Villa have partnered with the club close to Unai Emery's heart

Unai Emery's brother, Igor (middle), is the Real Union Club president
-Credit: (Image: Photo By Arnaitz Rubio/Europa Press via Getty Images)


Aston Villa's partnership with Real Union Club will continue to blossom as several youngsters are expected to join the Spanish club on loan this summer.

Villa are working alongside the third-tier side after they became the latest club to fall under V Sports' global network of clubs late last year. Vissel Kobe, ZED FC and Vitoria Sport Clube from Japan, Egypt and Portugal respectively are also connected to Villa.

Real Union appointed Villa's former under-21 coach Inigo Idiakez as their manager in December, before he left in April. He had worked with Josh Feeney and Tommi O'Reilly at Bodymoor Heath, before taking them on loan to Spain.

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Feeney made eight league appearances for the club while on loan and started the final three games of the season. Meanwhile, O'Reilly played twice after suffering an injury early on in his spell.

Fran Justo, who was the coach at the start of last season, returned in April to take over from Idiakez after he was dismissed not long into his tenure. Union play in the third tier of Spanish football and their president is Igor Emery, brother of Villa head coach Unai.

Unai bought a controlling stake in the third-tier club two-and-a-half years ago. They are a LaLiga founding club that has fallen on hard times in recent years.

Since their relegation from the second tier in the 2009/10 season, Union has remained in the third division of Spanish football. Emery’s father and grandfather both played for the team based in Irundarra, just three miles from where the 52-year-old grew up.

Emery's grandfather, Antonio, was a stalwart of Union and played 110 games for the Spanish club from 1928-1935. He was a goalkeeper.

Emery's father, Juan, also played 15 games for Union from 1957-59. He too was a goalkeeper by trade and played for nine clubs during his 16-year career, including Granada, Deportivo La Coruna and Alaves.

Union's away kit for next season will be claret and blue, as seen here. They are manufactured by adidas, just like Villa's will be after president of business operations Chris Heck and Nassef Sawiris struck an exciting agreement with one of the big two market leaders in sports apparel. Sawiris has a six per cent stake in the company, which makes him its biggest investor.

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