First football match in Spain

Monday, March 17 – 1890
Some six weeks ago a few enthusiastic young residents of British origin met in one of the cafes 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, and so that no time might be lost we determined to have a practice game next (Sunday) morning. Accordingly next morning at eight o’clock some ten of us started from the Regatta House on the Guadalquivir, and rowed down to the Tabladar or Racecourse, a distance of about a mile and a half.

Permission had already been obtained from the Racecourse Club, and goal posts, &c, duly rigged up. We were about half and half Spanish and British, and had a very pleasant game – five-a-side – working hard, and stiffening our joints for a few days to come.

In the course of events it was found we were to have difficulty in getting a turnout on the Sundays, not so much, I am afraid, as a matter of principle as the question of turning out of bed. As you have at home, we do not enjoy the advantage of the Saturday half-holiday; but immediately the various members put the matter to their commercial chiefs we had no difficulty in getting the concession.

Consequently, for some Saturdays pass we have had a very fair fields, and lately came to think something of ourselves. There being a Recreation Club amongst our compatriots in Huelva, we wrote asking them if they could form an eleven and come to Seville and try their strength against us, and in a few days got a wire that they would meet us on Saturday, 8th March.

Last week we had glorious weather, though somewhat chilly; but, altogether, prospects were bright, and the Saturday looked forward to with great expectations. The local press puffed us, we were assured of a good field of spectators, but, unfortunately, with the arrival of our friends from Huelva came rain. However, they had come eighty miles to play us, and play we had to. The ground was in very good condition notwithstanding the steady downpour, and at 4.45 a start was made, before about twelve dozen spectators.

The players presented a motley appearance, all kinds of costumes being in requisition, and our left wing m never before having the honour of belonging to any athletic club, appeared on the scene in night dress, in the shape of a fantastically-patterned suit of pyjamas. He was hailed with shouts of derisive laughter, and dubbed by the natives as the Clown Yugles. The game was a most pleasant one of two thirty-fives, resulting in a win for Seville by 2 to 0, Ritson drawing first blood, followed shortly after by the Clown Yugles, unexpected by all, not less so by himself.

It is only fair to state that the Huelva Club had never played together before, and had also that morning a railway journey of four hours, and consequently played under great disadvantages. Our English doctor acted as umpire for Seville, the Secretary of the Recreation Club acting in a similar capacity for Huelva, the British Vice Consul discharging the duty of the referee to everyone’s satisfaction.

This being the first known football contest in the south of Spain, probably in all of Spain, it was thought worthy of a special banquet, and at eight o’clock covers for thirty were laid in the saloon of the Suizo Restaurant. After a sumptuous dinner, part Spanish, part French, with a slight inkling of British fare thrown in, Mr. Edward Johnstone, who presided, in a few well-chosen remarks, toasted our Queen, Prince of Wales, and Royal Family, together with the Queen Regent and young King of Spain, touching feelingly on Alfonso XIII’s recent illness.

It is needless to say the toast was drunk with due enthusiasm.

The evening was pleasantly spent with toast, song, and sentiment; the non-success of the “Clown Yugles” in endeavouring to balance himself on a vacant chair not even marring the harmony of the meeting. It is just likely Seville will visit Huelva in a few weeks, and we look forward to the repetition of as pleasant a time as Huelva had here; and no doubt the inauguration of the game in this part of the country will be followed by organisations of a similar kind in all parts where a British colony exists in Spain.
(Dundee Courier, 17-03-1890)

1890 Seville

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