History of Sevilla F.C.

Foundation to Civil War

Sevilla Logo

The practice of football was introduced in Seville at the end of the 19th century by the large British expatriate population in the city, composed by owners or managers of manufacturing companies based in the capital of Andalusia. Sevilla Fútbol Club was founded on 25 January 1890 as Sevilla Foot-ball Club (in English).

Sevilla was duly formed on 25 January 1890 while a group of young British, mainly Scots, along with other young men of Spanish origin, celebrated Burns Night in Seville. The club’s founding document, published on the Dundee Courier’s edition of 17 March 1890 describes in full detail the formation of the club and how those young founding members decided first to play under Association Rules, secondly to bear the word “football” within its name and thirdly, to elect their “office bearers”. The following paragraph is an extract of that article:

‘Some six weeks ago a few enthusiastic young residents of British origin met in one of the cafés for the purpose of considering a proposal that we should start an Athletic Association, the want of exercise being greatly felt by the majority of us, who are chiefly engaged in mercantile pursuits. After a deal of talk and a limited consumption of small beer, the “Club de Football de Sevilla” was duly formed and office-bearers elected. It was decided we should play Association rules (…) We were about half and half Spanish and British’

The club’s first president was the Scot Mr. Edward Farquharson Johnston (Elgin, 14 October 1854), who was the British vice-consul in Seville and co-proprietor of the firm MacAndrews & Co., ship-owners with commercial lines between Spain and the UK, one of them being the transport of Seville oranges. Hugh Maccoll, another Scottish young man (Glasgow, 9 June 1861), a marine engineer who at that time had moved to Seville to work as the technical manager of Portilla White foundry, was their first captain. One of Maccoll’s partners in the Portilla White foundry in Seville, Isaias White junior, was the club’s first secretary. He was the son of an English entrepreneur who founded the aforesaid company, one of the major foundries in Spain at the end of the 19th century.

In order to celebrate the foundation of the club, Isaias White sent a letter to Recreativo de Huelva, to invite them to play a football match in Seville. That letter was published by the Spanish newspaper La Provincia. Huelva Recreation accepted the invitation and the match took place on 8 March 1890, being thus the first official match ever played in Spain. Sevilla FC won that historical match 2–0, with the first goal in an official match in Spanish football history scored by the Seville team player Ritson. Isaias lived at Calle Bailen 41 in Seville (the house still exists but has since been renumbered) making this the first home of Sevilla FC.

In 1907, Sevilla Balompíe was founded, followed by Betis Football club in 1909, Recreativo de Sevilla and Español de Sevilla. More clubs were formed as the years passed and more competitive matches were organized between the teams, although Sevilla FC, the oldest club of the city, imposed its supremacy over the other clubs in this early period.

In 1912, the first Copa de Sevilla was played and won by Sevilla FC. From 1915 to 1932, the Copa Andalucia was organized by the “Federación Sur” and these championships included Sevilla FC, Real Betis Balompié, Recreativo de Huelva, Español de Cádiz and the sporadic participation of Nacional de Sevilla and Córdoba. The domination of Sevilla was so evident that of the 19 Championships of Andalusia played, 16 were won by the team, with the three remaining being won by Español de de Cádiz, Recreativo de Huelva and Real Betis Balompié, respectively.

In 1918, Sevilla FC participated in the “Copa de España” for the first time and became the first Andalusian team to reach the final round of the competition. In 1928, when the “Campeonato Nacional” (National League Championships) was organized, Sevilla FC was not part of the first division due to their defeat to Racing de Santander in an elimination game that was set-up to decide which of the two teams would compete in the newly formed league.

At the end of the 1933–34 season, Sevilla FC was promoted to the First Division of the “Campeonato Nacional.” In 1935, they were proclaimed “Campeón de Copa” (Cup Champions) for the first time by defeating Sabadell, repeated in 1939 against Racing de Ferrol and again in 1948 against Celta de Vigo. The club participated in two other finals, but conceded defeat to Athletic Bilbao in 1955 and to Real Madrid in 1962. Sevilla remained in the First Division from the 1933–34 season until 1967, when they were relegated to the Second Division, a tier from which they have never further been relegated from.

The 1945–46 season was one of high importance in the history of Sevilla, as it marked the first, and to date only, time in which the team was league champions. On four other occasions, the club was proclaimed “subcampeón de Liga” (League Runner-up: 1939–40, 1942–43, 1950–51 and 1956–57).

Including the present season, Sevilla has participated in the 74 seasons in the First Division and 13 in the Second Division, never dropping below the Second Division. Sevilla has also participated in four European tournaments, the “Copa de Europa” (European League Winners Cup) (1957–58); Recopa (Winners Cup) (1962–63) and UEFA Cup on nine occasions (1966–67, 1970–71, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1990–91, 1995–96, 2004–05, 2005–06 and 2006–07). Sevilla also participated in the UEFA Champions League in 2007–08.

There are more than 400 individuals who currently play for the Sevilla FC organization, which includes two semi-professional teams (in Second Division A – second national category) and 12 youth teams.

Sevilla has always counted on having international players within its ranks to aid in the pursuit of trophies. The first of these players were Spencer and Herminio in the 1920s. Juan Arza, an international player form the 1940s, was proclaimed top scorer of the Spanish League in the 1954–55 season, with 29 goals. About 30 Sevilla players have been chosen to play on the selección española (Spanish National Team) over the years.

Foreign players have always played an integral part in the success of Sevilla FC with Diego Maradona representing the most well-known among them during his spell with the club during the 1992–93 season. During the same season Sevilla FC was managed by Carlos Salvador Bilardo, a world champion manager.

Historically, Sevilla FC has fielded teams in a variety of other sports including basketball, rugby, rowing, athletics, and halterofilia or petanca. Presently, Sevilla FC counts twenty-five professional teams on its ledgers (on of these being in the second national category) and a women’s football team in the Honor Division.

Sevilla FC’s stadium, the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, was inaugurated in 1958 and is one of the largest stadiums in Spain, and has the honour of hosting a World Cup semi-final match in 1982. After its final completion the stadium had a maximum capacity of 75,000 spectators, but since its latest remodelling, the stadium has been converted to an all-seat with a covering added to the main seating area, reducing the capacity to its current count of 45,000 spectators.

First successes

Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán statue

Sevilla had their first spell of national success in the decade following the end of the Civil War, winning the 1945–46 La Liga title and two Copa del Rey titles. In the first season of this (1939–40), Sevilla won the cup on 25 June, beating Racing de Ferrol 6–2 in Barcelona. That same season, the side lost the Liga title on the last day to Atlético Madrid after drawing 3–3 against Hércules. The Sevilla forward line was known as los stukas after the German bomber plane, and scored 216 goals over four seasons. It comprised López, Torrontegui, Campanal, Raimundo, Berrocal and Pepillo.

In 1941, President Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán left the club to manage the Spanish Football Federation. After his departure, Antonio Sánchez Ramos occupied temporarily occupied the position until the permanent appointment of Jerónimo Domínguez y Pérez de Vargas, Marquess of Contadero, who was president of the club for six years until the return of Sánchez Pizjuán. Sevilla was runner-up to Athletic Bilbao in the 1942–43 season and came third a season later. Sevilla won its only Liga title in 1945–46, edging FC Barcelona by one point. Two years later, Sevilla won the 1948 Copa del Rey after beating Celta de Vigo 4–1 in Madrid on 4 July.

The most significant signing of those years was the Spanish international striker Juan Arza. There was also the debut of the Campanal’s nephew, defender Campanal II, with his uncle as trainer. During the 1950–51 season, with Campanal acting as the coach, the team finished runner-up in La Liga, two points behind Atlético Madrid. Before the 1953–54 season, Argentinean coach Helenio Herrera was hired. During his time in charge, the club came fifth in the 1953–54 season, fourth in both 1954–55 and 1955–56 and second to Real Madrid in 1956–57. In 1954, the club put the construction of the new stadium out to tender because Nervión Stadium was becoming too small for the club’s fanbase. In the 1954–55 season, Arza won the Pichichi Trophy as La Liga’s top scorer, with 28 goals, and the team was runner-up in the Copa del Rey. In 1955, for the club’s 50th anniversary, a triangular tournament was organised against the French club Stade de Reims and the Swedish club IFK Norrköping; Sevilla won.

On 28 October 1956, President Sánchez Pizjuán died suddenly. As an appreciation to the deceased leader under whose chairmanship Sevilla had won three Copas del Rey, the fans decided that the club’s planned new stadium was to be named in his honour. In the 1956–57 season, the team were Liga runners-up behind Real Madrid, ensuring qualification for the first time to the European Cup. Herrera left the club at the end of the season. The club needed a victory on the final day of the next season to avoid relegation, but reached the quarterfinals of the European Cup before being knocked out by holders and eventual champions Real Madrid.

After the death of the President, Ramón de Carranza assumed the position for four years. It is said that he spoke these words at Sánchez Pizjuán’s tomb:

“Dear Ramón, now your friends, among who I am honoured to be one, are going to give you Christian burial, and on the following day, giving your body to the ground, we will start working and your dream that the Sevilla FC has a grand stadium will become a reality. Ramón, go in peace to heaven because your wishes will be fulfilled.”

Being true to his words, Carranza made obligation bonds amounting to 50 million pesetas, and a month-and-a-half after Sánchez Pizjuán’s death, the first stone in the stadium’s construction was placed. The architect was Manuel Muñoz Monasterio, co-designer of the recently-built Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the home of Real Madrid. The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium was ultimately opened on 7 September 1958 as Sevilla played an inaugural friendly against fellow Andalusian club Real Jaén. The stadium’s first official match was on the opening day of the 1958–59 season, where Sevilla beat cross-city Real Betis 4–2.

Crisis and stability

In the 1970s, Sevilla was forced into selling its top players in order to pay off debts incurred from the construction of its new stadium; Manuel Ruiz Sosa transferred to Atlético Madrid, Gallego to Barcelona and Juan Batista Agüero to Real Madrid. Moreover, part of the adjacent land to the stadium was also sold to a bank. In the 1967–68 season, Sevilla returned to the Second Division for the first time in 31 years, but were promoted back after one season. The next season, Austrian coach Max Merkel, nicknamed “Mr. Whip” for his usage of severe and harsh discipline techniques and training, was hired. That season, the club finished third in the league. However, the club were relegated again at the end of the 1972–73 season. In 1973, Sevilla signed their first-ever black player, Gambian winger Biri Biri, from Danish club Boldklubben 1901. He remained at the club until 1978 and became a cult figure, with an ultra group named after him surviving to this day. In the 1974–75 season, with the Argentine Roque Olsen in charge, the club returned to the First Division. In the late 1970s, Sevilla signed Argentinians such as Héctor Scotta and Daniel Bertoni.

The 75th anniversary of the club was celebrated with a variety of social events and a match against Brazilian side Santos. In 1982, the World Cup was held in Spain and Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán was the venue for the semi-final match between West Germany and France. In 1984, Eugenio Montes Cabeza finished his 11-year presidency and was replaced by the cattle businessman Gabriel Rojas, who as the vice-president had made several advancements to the club’s stadium. In the 1985–86 season, Manolo Cardo left his management position after five years in charge, while Francisco played in the 1986 FIFA World Cup for Spain. Vicente Cantatore led the club to UEFA Cup qualification at the end of the 1989–90 season, with Austrian forward Toni Polster scoring a club-record 33 Liga goals. In the 1992–93 season, after several months of negotiations, world-renowned Argentine Diego Maradona signed from Napoli for a fee of $7.5 million. His time at the club, however, was unsuccessful, and he was released in large part due to his periodic injuries and clashes with coach Bilardo. In the following seasons, Luis Aragonés became manager and finished the 1994–95 season with qualification to next season’s UEFA Cup.

At the end of the 1994–95 season, despite the pleas of the club’s directors, Sevilla, along with Celta de Vigo, were one of two clubs relegated from the top flight on reasons of administration, provoking action from fans. The action resulted in both Sevilla and Celta being reinstated to La Liga.

These events led to an institutional instability, with the season seeing four presidents and three managers take charge. Sevilla were relegated at the end of the 1996–97 season but returned in 1999. At the beginning of the 21st century, the presidency of the club was assumed by the popular Roberto Alés. The situation of the club was very delicate at the time; the team had dropped back to the Second Division in 2000 and the squad was weakened by player retirements and the sales of key players. The club opted for a relatively unknown trainer, Joaquín Caparrós, who helped the team win the Second Division with three matches to spare in just his first season at the helm.

Successes in the 21st century

Sevilla winning the Europa League

On 6 October 2002, before a Seville derby against Betis at the Sánchez Pizjuán, four Sevilla fans, including a minor, assaulted a security guard. The attack was punished by Sevilla being forced to play their next four home matches behind closed doors, the longest term ever given to a La Liga side. The club finished in UEFA Europa Cup positions in both the 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons before marking their centennial in late 2005. This set up Sevilla’s first-ever European triumph, the 2006 UEFA Cup Final at the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven on 10 May 2006. The club defeated English club Middlesbrough 4–0 under new manager Juande Ramos, with the scoring opened by Brazilian striker Luís Fabiano. In the second-half, Italian substitute Enzo Maresca scored twice to be named Man of the Match, where Malian striker Frédéric Kanouté finished the scoring.

Sevilla opened their 2006–07 season by winning the 2006 UEFA Super Cup on 25 August 2006 with a 3–0 victory over Champions League winners and compatriots Barcelona at the Stade Louis II in Monaco. The goals were scored by Renato, Kanouté and a late penalty by Maresca. The season ended with a second consecutive UEFA Cup win, this time against fellow Spanish club Espanyol at Hampden Park, Glasgow. The match went to penalties after finishing 2–2 after extra-time, with Sevilla goalkeeper Andrés Palop saving three of Espanyol’s penalties. On the 12 November 2006, Sevilla played its 2,000th game in La Liga. In addition, Sevilla defeated Getafe in the 2007 Copa del Rey Final, with Kanouté scoring the only goal in the game’s 11th minute. Sevilla finished third in that season’s La Liga to qualify for the 2007–08 Champions League. As a result of these successes, Sevilla was voted as the IFFHS Team of the Year for the second consecutive season, becoming the first club to achieve this.

Sevilla won the 2007 Supercopa de España against La Liga champions Real Madrid. The season started to derail, however, after defender Antonio Puerta suffered a heart attack in the first game of the season and died three days later on 28 August. Three days after his death, Sevilla then lost 3–1 to Milan in the 2007 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco. Juande Ramos, the individual largely responsible for Sevilla’s recent successes, resigned as manager on 27 October to take the post with Tottenham Hotspur; he was replaced by Sevilla Atlético manager Manolo Jiménez. In spite of the personnel issues, Sevilla nonetheless advanced in first place in its Champions League group ahead of Arsenal before later being eliminated in the round of 16 via penalties to Fenerbahçe of Turkey.

In the summer of 2008, before Jiménez’s debut season as first-team manager, Dani Alves and Seydou Keita were both sold to Barcelona, while Christian Poulsen left for Juventus. Sevilla finished third in La Liga with a club record-equalling 21 victories and a club record number of away victories.

The 2009–10 season saw a third-consecutive qualification to the Champions League. On 19 May 2010, Sevilla defeated Atlético Madrid 2–0 in the 2010 Copa del Rey Final at the Camp Nou, with goals from Diego Capel and Jesús Navas. Navas was later a World Cup winner with the Spain national team in July of that year. Before the 2010–11 season started, Sevilla lost to Barcelona 5–3 on aggregate in the Supercopa and were eliminated in the Champions League playoffs by Braga of Portugal.

Unai Emery Era

On 14 January of the following year, after a 0–2 away loss to Valencia CF that left the Andalusians in 12th place, he was relieved of his duties, who was replaced by Spanish manager Unai Emery. The club was going through an organizational financial crisis and the club was forced to sell team stars Álvaro Negredo and Jesús Navas, transactions that gave the club a combined €40 million; the duo was replaced by a contingent of younger players including strikers Carlos Bacca and Kévin Gameiro. On 14 May 2014, Sevilla defeated Benfica on penalties in the 2014 UEFA Europa League Final to claim their third triumph in the competition. The following year, key midfielder Ivan Rakitić was sold to Barcelona for around €16 million and top scorer Carlos Bacca, who had only joined two years previous, moved to Milan for €30 million. Despite this, the club acquired players Grzegorz Krychowiak and Éver Banega to reinforce the squad.

On 27 May 2015, Sevilla repeated as Europa League champions after defeating Ukrainian club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3–2 in the 2015 Final. In defeating Dnipro, they became the only club to have won the Europa League four times.

The club returned to the Europa League final for a third consecutive time, facing Liverpool in the 2016 Final. After being down 1–0 at half-time, Sevilla bounced back in the second half to eventual win 1–3, with one goal scored from Kévin Gameiro and two from club captain Coke. With the third consecutive Europa League title, Sevilla improved their record of most Europa League titles won, now having lifted the trophy five times in the span of only ten years.

Post Emery Era

Despite Sevilla’s continued success in the Europa League, the 2015–16 season proved to be another finish outwith the top four, the side finishing in seventh. In response, Carmona decided to engineer a resurrection of the club. Jorge Sampaoli was hired as manager – replacing Paris Saint-Germain-bound Unai Emery – and the club began to invest heavily that summer. Additions to the side included goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu on loan, playmaker Ganso, forwards Luciano Vietto and Wissam Ben Yedder, attacker Franco Vázquez, wide midfielders Hiroshi Kiyotake and Pablo Sarabia, as well as former Arsenal and Manchester City player Samir Nasri on loan.

Source: Wikipedia