Last Friday, Antonio Fernández Casado, (Esguevillas de Esgueva, Valladolid, 1950), former president of the Cocherito Club of Bilbao, bullfighting writer, ex-novillero and an innovator of the Spanish hotel industry, passed away in Madrid.
Fernández Casado developed a successful professional career in hotel management, where he set an innovative line from which all the emblematic chains in Spain have drawn. His passion has always been bullfighting, a hobby in which he leaves an extensive legacy with numerous books written and many others published in a work of patronage worthy of admiration.
Despite his Castilian birth, his childhood was spent in the Biscayan town of Santurce; There he witnessed his first celebrations in a portable plaza where he saw right-handers like Antonio Ordóñez. In the mid-sixties, he adopted the pseudonym Antonio de Monterrey to advertise himself as a novillero, a nickname from his beginnings in the hospitality industry as a waiter at the traditional Bilbao cafeteria Monterrey.
His first paseo was in the curious Biscayan bullring of Puerto Viejo de Algorta on July 31, 1966, and his lighting debut arrived on June 11, 1967 in Castro Urdiales. Later, he chained five years of novilladas in different towns in the north, La Rioja and Salamanca. The most important, in Bilbao in the presentation of El Niño de la Capea in 1968.
After his retirement in 1971, he began a brilliant career at the Hotel Ercilla, from which he set an innovative line under the guidance of his mentor Lázaro Anasagasti, in the company of Agustín Martínez Bueno. The hotel became the benchmark for the cultural life of Bilbao in the seventies and eighties and a fundamental piece in the birth of Aste Nagusia – the Great Week of Bilbao. Graduated in Business Management from the University of Deusto, his innovation at Ercilla continued in the Tryp chain and, later, with the founding of the Hi-Tech chain.
His passion for bullfighting never waned and he directed the Club Cocherito de Bilbao with remarkable activism for four years (2014-2018), in which he bet on the cultural dimension of bullfighting and the vindication of the bull as the axis of the festival.
Just a few weeks ago, he published the updated reissue of Toreros de Hierro, a complete dictionary of Biscayan bullfighters. The last of an extensive work as a bullfighting writer with more than a dozen research titles, among which Garapullos por Máuseres, a bullfighting history in the Civil War, or the works included in the Basque Bullfighting Collection belonging to the publishing house La Cátedra. , which he himself directed with singular enthusiasm and where he recovered numerous bullfighting texts of great interest.
He also transmitted his knowledge of hospitality management in the Practical Manual of hotel management, marketing and online sales of the 21st century and carried out research compendia in other works such as Grand Hotel de Paris Apple Store or the guide Hospitals of Blood or Barracks on hotels in the civil War.
In any of his facets, he always stood out for taking care of personal relationships, in which he was a teacher, with friends in all areas: communication, politics, economics, bullfighting … He was always pending to receive his friends in his last project, the Madrid Hotel Serrano Recoletos.
He will be fondly remembered for his affable character and will be missed on his regular visits to the National Library, old-fashioned bookstores, such as the Madrid-based Librería Rodríguez. With the death of Antonio Fernández Casado, a host left for the Basques in the capital, an authentic bullfighting encyclopedia and a fervent defender of the festival, with the bull as a flag and culture as a base, a hallmark of a Bilbao resident living in Madrid .