Saturday, September 17, 2011

History of the Spanish football (II): 1900-1905, The first tournaments

Previous chapter: The Origins

The first two decades of the 1900's were the years of the great development of football in Spain. During the last part of the 19th century and in the following years, the football clubs basically were formed by fans of the game, who were at the same time players, managers and directors of the clubs. If football was a game for middle-class university students and foreigners that were importing football from their countries, mainly United Kingdom, everything started to change during these two decades. Football reached the popular classes and the first tournaments and football associations started to appear. These first tournaments were mainly regional, but it also appeared the first national tournament, the Copa del Rey, which was the most important tournament in Spain during the first decades of the 20th century. In this entry, we will refer to the first 5 years of the 1900s, when the first competitions of the Spanish football were born.


Copa Macaya (Campionat de Catalunya)

The first official tournament was the Copa Macaya, which is considered (and accepted officially) as the roots of the future Campionat de Catalunya, and it was played during the first half of the year. Alfons Macaya, honorific president of Hispania AC, one of the clubs of Barcelona, decided to create a tournament using a league system, which ended up having his own name. On paper, it was not meant to be a tournament only for Catalan clubs, but the clubs from Madrid and the Balearic Islands declined the offer due to the big travel expenses in times. At the end, only 6 clubs registered, 5 from Barcelona and 1 from Tarragona: Hispania AC, FC Barcelona, Club Español (nowadays RCD Español), AUF Tarragona, Club Franco-Español and SD Santanach.

The tournament was not exempt of problems, due to the weak base of all the clubs at that point. As a consequence of the poor economic situation, SD Santanach withdrew before the tournament had even started. Later, after 4 games (out of 8), Club Español also withdrew in protest after the game against Hispania AC, since the considered the referees were helping the organizing club. FC Barcelona also made similar complaints, but the club continued until the end. The first edition of the Copa Macaya was a particular fight between Hispania AC and FC Barcelona, which was decided in the last game between these two clubs. Hispania AC only needed a draw in this game to win the trophy and the final 1-1 at home was enough for them.

As anecdote, the first official derby between FC Barcelona and Club Español was played in this tournament and the blaugranas won 4-1 at home, although the relationships between these two clubs was still friendly at that time. There was not a 2nd round, since Club Espanyol retired and their results were not counted.

Source: RSSSF Archives


Copa Macaya (Campionat de Catalunya)

The 2nd edition of the Copa Macaya also counted on five clubs, all of them from Barcelona: Hispania AC (organizer), FC Barcelona, Club Espanyol, Club Universitari and Català SC.

This time there were less polemics about the performance of the referees and the competition was more solid. As it had happened the previous edition, the two favorites were Hispania AC and FC Barcelona, who dominated the whole competition again. Even though the competition kept the league system, the title was decided in the clashes between these two clubs. This time, FC Barcelona were able to have the revenge they were looking for and defeated Hispania AC in the two games, the first one in Hispania AC's home (2-4) and, later in FC Barcelona's home (7-0). FC Barcelona won the 8 games they played in the tournament and AC Hispania only lost the 2 games against Barcelona. This is considered the first official title in FC Barcelona's history.

Source: RSSSF Archives

Copa de la Coronación (Copa del Rey)

In 1902, one of the founders of Sociedad Madrid FC (current Real Madrid CF), Carlos Padrós (Juan Padrós' brother, president of the club), organized a tournament that aimed to bring to Madrid the best football clubs of all Spain, as one of the events of the celebrations of the coronation of the new monarch of Spain, the King Alfonso XIII: the Copa de la Coronación Alfonso XIII - Concurso de Foot-ball del Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento de Madrid, counting on the cooperation of the City Hall of Madrid, which donated the trophy. Carlos Padrós, willing to test his recently founded club, wanted to improve the model of the Copa Macaya, that had recently finished its second edition, and the previous football contests (unofficial) that had been played among the first clubs of Madrid.

Several clubs attended the public announcement. From Madrid registered: Madrid FC and New FC. From the Basque country, Athletic Club and Bilbao FC applied too (although they ended up presenting a combination of the 2 clubs, which ended up merging in 1903, under the name of Vizcaya). Also, all the 5 clubs that had played the last Copa Macaya were invited too, but only FC Barcelona and Club Español applied. However, Català SC and Hispania AC declined the invitation since they could not pay the expenses of the travel, while Universitari SC (only formed by university students) could not register since their members were preparing their tests in the university.

Copa de la Coronación at Athletic's museum
The tournament was played in 3 days using a knock-out system. Since there were 5 clubs, there was a draw to decide the clubs which would had to play a previous round. On May 13, a previous round was played by Vizcaya and Club Español (5-1). The first goal of the tournament was scored by an Español player, Angel Ponz. In the same day, in the first semifinal, the first Clásico of the Spanish football was played and FC Barcelona defeated Madrid FC (3-1) in front of 2,000 fans. On May 14, the 2nd semifinal was played and Vizcaya defeated New FC this time (8-1). On May 15, the first final was played in the Hipódromo de La Castellana by Club Vizcaya de Bilbao and FC Barcelona and the referee was Carlos Padrós. Vizacaya won the game 2-1, thanks to the goals scored by Astorquia (10') and Cazeaux (20'), while the only goal of FC Barcelona was scored in the last minutes of the game by Parsons (75'). Vizcaya (current Athletic Club) is considered the first winner of the Copa del Rey, although this was not the name of the competition until several years later.

On May 16, there was a consolation game with a trophy called Copa de la Gran Peña, which was played by Madrid FC and Club Español, since New FC did not inscribe. Madrid FC won 3-2 and this is considered the first trophy won by Real Madrid CF.

Source: RSSSF Archives


Copa Macaya and Copa Barcelona (Campionat de Catalunya)

Hispania AC kept organizing the Copa Macaya, a trophy that would have ended up in property in the hands of either Hispania AC or FC Barcelona, if they had won the tournament, but this time Club Español surprised them. The league was full of problems since the very first moment. Only 5 clubs applied to the tournament: Hispania AC, FC Barcelona, Club Español, SC Universitari and FC Internacional. Initially, SC Universitary withdrew before the competition had started and FC Barcelona did it too after the organization decided to give them a lost game due to irregular lineup. At the end, it was a triangular trophy between the remaining clubs. AC Hispania and Club Español tied after the 4 games played and the winner was decided in a tie-breaker, which was won by Club Español (3-1) in their first official trophy.

Source: RSSSF Archives

FC Barcelona, who had retired from the Copa Macaya, in disagreement with the organization (Barcelona got a lost game because the organization considered the club had played with an ineligible player), decided to create a new league: the Copa Barcelona. All the clubs of the city of Barcelona were invited, including the ones who were playing the Copa Macaya. Given the important participation and the level of football, this tournament had a relatively high level in Spain. The Copa Barcelona is also considered an official tournament nowadays.

This new trophy counted on the participation of many clubs since FC Barcelona invited all the clubs of the city. So the league initially counted on 11 teams, although 3 of them had to withdraw before the end of the competition. As it was previsible, FC Barcelona, Club Español and Hispania AC were the main favorites to win the tournament. At the end, FC Barcelona won the tournament with a short advantage over Club Español, while Hispania AC was 3rd.

Source: RSSSF Archives

Copa del Rey

Even though the RFEF did not exist yet, this is the first edition of the tournament that officially counts for the Spanish FA, which accepted it as official some years later, even though it did not have this name yet (its real name back then was Concurso Madrid). After the coronation festivals of the previous edition, Carlos Padrós insisted in the idea beyond those festivals and Madrid FC organized the tournament with as an annual event.

Carlos Padrós wanted to invite more clubs and he sent the invitations all over Spain, but clubs like Sporting Vigo, Salamanca, Recreation Huelva (in the future, Recreativo), San Sebástian (Real Sociedad) and, even the runner-ups of the previous edition, FC Barcelona, declined the invitation. At the end, only 3 clubs assisted: Madrid FC as organizer, Athletic Club and Club Español.

The tournament was played in 3 days in a league system. On April 6, Madrid FC and Español played the first game of the tournament and the madridistas won by a comfortable 4-1. The following day was the turn for Athletic Club and Español. The winners of the previous edition did not have problems to defeat the Catalan club either (4-0).

On April 8, Madrid FC and Athletic Club had to play the last game of the league, which was considered a final after all. 5,000 fans went to the Hipódromo de La Castellana to watch the game. The reports of the era relate how intense and passionate was this game. Valdeterrazo (15') advanced the local team in the first minutes of the game. This advantage grew just before half time when Neyra (40') scored the second for Madrid FC. But everything changed in the second half and the goals of Cazeuax (55'), Montejo (60') and De la Sota (80') allowed the Basques to overcome the result. At the full time, Athletic Club 3-2 Madrid FC and the Basques took the cup back home again. The local newspapers said that the game was so emotional that only a few days after this game, Basque students in Madrid founded Athletic Club de Madrid (nowadays, Atlético Madrid).

Athletic Club, Copa winner 1903

Campeonato de Madrid

The same Carlos Padrós had founded the Agrupación Madrileña de Foot-ball and the new regional association created a regional league, following the steps of the Catalan Copa Macaya. In the first edition, the clubs of Madrid that participated in the league were: Moderno FC, Madrid FC, Moncloa FC and Iberia FC.

The first steps were not easy and only 4 games were played (2 games by each club). Despite the league had not actually finished, the Agrupación Madrileña considered Moderno FC the first champion of Madrid.


Campionat de Catalunya

Given the polemics of the previous season, the Copa Macaya and the Copa Barcelona merged into a new league: the Campionat de Catalunya. The organization of the tournament passed from the hands of Hispania AC (which disappeared) and FC Barcelona to the Associació de Clubs de Foot-ball. Even though this league was only played by Catalan teams (10 clubs in its first edition, although one of them withdrew during the competition), it was the most important of Spain along with the Copa del Rey in these years, since it counted on a great tradition and important attendances to the stadiums.

This new tournament only had an owner since the very first moment: Club Español. The españolistas dominated the whole league and only tied one game in the entire tournament. At the same time, there were more changes in the hierarchy of the Catalan football. Hispania AC had disappeared and FC Barcelona struggled to maintain the level of the previous years, with the remarkable loss of Hans Gamper, their founder and best player, who decided to retire to focus in his personal businesses. Other clubs like FC Internacional and the main enemies of FC Barcelona back then, SC Català, emerged in this tournament.

Since AC Hispania disappeared, the ownership of the Copa Macaya trophy was to be given to Club Español, since they had finished above FC Barcelona in the competition. There was also a trophy for the runner-ups, the Copa Torino, won by FC Internacional who defeated SC Català in a tie-breaker game (4-0).

Source: RSSSF Archives

Copa del Rey

For the first time, the tournament was not organized by Madrid FC (who had merged with another club of Madrid, Moderno FC, to be called Madrid-Moderno FC), but by the Federación Madrileña de Foot-ball. The new location was the Tiro de Pichón. According with the rules of the new edition, the regional winners of the Basque Country (Athletic Club) and Catalonia (Club Español) were invited and the Copa winner had to be decided in a triangular tournament with the best team of Madrid.  However, since there was not a regional tournament in Madrid, all the clubs of Madrid were included in the competition.

The whole tournament was a disaster and Club Español withdrew, since they did not agree with the format. As a consequence of it, Athletic Club was exempt until the final, while the other finalist had to be decided among the 4 clubs of Madrid. On March 19, in the first round, Moncloa defeated Iberia (4-0) and Español de Madrid beated Madrid-Moderno FC (5-5), but Madrid-Moderno did not show up in the tie-breaker, which was supposed to play the following day, something against the rules according to the madridistas.

This situation caused a chaos, since the games were delayed. The final was supposed to be played on March 26, but Athletic Club did not find any rival. Still, the semifinal was played on March 27, between Español de Madrid and Moncloa FC. When the game was 1-0 for Español, Hérmua, an Español defender got seriously injured and the game was abandoned with this result. Since the Campeonato de Madrid had been included in this competition, the Español de Madrid was the 2nd winner of the regional tournament.

The organizers fixed the final for March 30, but Athletic Club did not show up, since the final should have been played 4 days before. The Federación Madrileña gave the victory to Español de Madrid, but the rest of the clubs of Madrid (Madrid-Moderno, Moncloa and Iberia) made their protest, since they considered that the final was on March 26 and it was Athletic Club who did not find a rival. It happened that the president of the Federación Madrileña was the president of Español de Madrid too, but they were forced to revoke their initial decision. So Atheltic Club was considered the winner of this trophy for the third time in a row, but this time, they did not even have to play a single game.

Athletic Club in 1904


Campionat de Catalunya

The crisis hit football for the first time and lots of clubs had to disappear, since the clubs were formed by amateur members who could not deal with the big expenses. As a consequence of it, the league was reduced to five clubs: Club Español, FC Barcelona, FC Internacional, SC Català and X SC (formed by old members of the Irish FC).

However, the level of the competition was high and the league was interesting. FC Barcelona won the title after a tight fight with FC Internacional and Club Español.

Source: RSSSF Archives
Campeonato de Madrid

The 3rd edition of this regional tournament was a single game to decide the team of Madrid that would represent the region in the Copa del Rey. Madrid FC won the game and the tournament played against Moncloa FC (2-0), although this game was suspended after 30 minutes, when the players of Moncloa FC abandoned the game.

Copa del Rey

In this edition of the Copa del Rey counted on the participation of two Basque clubs, since San Sebastián Recreation was invited along with Athletic Club. The winner of the Campionat de Catalunya was invited too, but there was not any Catalan club, since their regional tournament, eventually won by FC Barcelona, had not finished when the competition took place.

The format was a triangular league tournament played by Madrid FC, San Sebastián Recreation and Athletic Club (in this case, only 6 players of Athletic traveled to Madrid and the rest of the team was completed by players of their subsidiary club in Madrid, Athletic de Madrid). The first game was played in the Tiro de Pichón by Madrid FC and San Sebastián Recreation. The madridistas defeated the club of Gipuzkoa (3-0) in this opening game. The second game of the competition faced Madrid FC and Athletic Club, the same clubs that had played the final of 1903, but this time the madridistas beated the Basques (1-0). Since Madrid FC won their two games, the madridistas were the Copa winners for the first time in their history.

Athletic Club and San Sebastián Recreation still played their game and it was won by the Gipuzkoanos, but the result remains unknown and it did not have any effect in choosing the winner of the tournament. Other sources claim that this game was never played, since the club of Bizkaia had already left Madrid disappointed by the results.

Madrid FC, Copa winner 1905

List of winners (1900-1905)

Campionat de Catalunya
1901 - Hispania AC
1902 - FC Barcelona
1903 - Club Español (Copa Macaya) and FC Barcelona (Copa Barcelona)
1904 - Club Español
1905 - FC Barcelona

Campeonato de Madrid
1903 - Moderno FC
1904 - Español de Madrid
1905 - Madrid FC

Copa del Rey
1902 - Vizcaya (Athletic Club and Bilbao FC)
1903 - Athletic Club
1904 - Athletic Club
1905 - Madrid FC

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