The Englishmen may not be credited with the laurels of the homeland of football, but their contribution does not become less: by modifying the game – from the Pithecanthropus to an almost modern form – they infected all continents with it. And even today in Argentina it is easy to find traces that lead to its English origins. Just look at the names of many of its clubs to understand everything: Newell’s Old Boys, Racing Club, Godoy Cruz, Defensa y Justicia, Argentinos Juniors and others. The aborigines of the headquarters of the cricket club in Buenos Aires, which was founded by a wool merchant from Yorkshire, Thomas Hogg, called “the madhouse”. An alien sport for South America was entertained here by soldiers during the forty-five-day occupation in 1806, and then the merchants who replaced them in quite peaceful ways, probably not wanting anything more than just drowning out the homesickness, implanted elements of their own culture.
Argentina Football was first discovered by the newspaper La Razon in 1840. Journalists spied the pastime of British sailors, and it seemed strange to them this game, where “you had to run around the ball.” The sons of the Hogg wool merchant, Thomas and James, inherited from his father the love of the British games, and their contribution to their development in Argentina was even greater. In May 1867, they called the volunteers and founded the Buenos Aires Football Club (a community of interests, not a football team), and in just over a month the first football match was played, in which the Reds defeated the Whites 4 : 0. “This is the best pastime, the simplest and cheapest for the middle class and the people,” Thomas said enthusiastically. That’s only in 1874 for some reason; all members of the club will unanimously switch to rugby. But the process of winning the hearts of football was already running, and it was impossible to stop it.
Argentina Superliga: Superiority of old age
The oldest of the currently existing Argentine clubs – Quilmes – is also a purely English brainchild. They say that 30 thousand British people lived in the country then – English, Scots and Irish – and sometime their ball games, which were not yet understood by the local Creoles, should have resulted in the creation of a serious football club. In November 1887, Joseph Thomas Stevenson founded Quilmes Rovers Athletic. Foutergil, Penman, Francis, Tucker, Wilson, Moffat, Laymont, Mure, Beaumont, Morgan, Claudwell – this is the composition of the first team, all the British. The superiority of “old age” in Quilmes is challenged by Gimnascia and Esgrima La Plata, but her argument that she appeared six months earlier than Quilmes Rovers will not be a ride. Just from the day of its foundation, only gymnastics and fencing were cultivated in it, which is reflected in the title, and football with other sports was added later. After all, then you can appeal to Quilmes and Polo Club, where you were engaged in the relevant sport and even played football a little, even turning into Quilmes Rovers. The words “Rovers Athletic” in ten years in the title will be replaced by “Cricket”, however, the club will meet with the neutral name Kilmes Athletic due to the total superiority of football in popularity. And although Quilmes did not achieve great success on the football field in the 19th century, his authority was very strong.
Father of Argentine football
One of the half-million immigrants who arrived in new lands in search of seductive prospects in the period from 1880 to 1882 was Scot Alexander Watson-Hutton, and it was he who brought the rubber balls, which revolutionized rubber. He sailed with the specific purpose of creating an English high school in Buenos Aires, and in 1884 she opened her doors. Football fields for boys and tennis courts for girls were some of its features. Watson-Hutton did not guess, going from Glasgow to Bayresse, that after many years, probably, history will remember him forever as “the father of Argentinean football.” Of course, he was credited with such honors not for a school with football fields, although thanks to them, interest in this sport among students just increased noticeably. In 1893, Watson-Hatton, who by then was renamed from Alexander to Alejandro, together with like-minded people, founded an organization called the Argentine Association Football League. After the “re-drafting” ten years later, she will receive the abbreviated name AFA, known to us – the body that still controls the football of the Silver Country.
The idea of creating an organizing and controlling association is, of course, not a sign of brilliant insight. She had visited different minds before, and two years before a strong attempt had been made under the leadership of Frank Wooley, but something in this venture did not please Quilmes Rovers and Lomas, another authoritative club of that time, and the mission failed, having had only one championship. Watson-Hatton was able to come to terms with the grandees, and Quilmes together Caledonians, St. Andrews Scottish School, who won the defective championship of 1881, English secondary school, Lomas club and Floras one became co-founders of the AFA, but AAFL, and the Father himself sat down in the chair of the president.
All the grandees of Argentine football come from the first decade of the XX century. By merging the clubs of Santa Rosa and La Rosasales in the area of La Boca River Plate appeared. Then he, having briefly settled in Sarandi, will return to Buenos Aires in the Núñez district and become a team for wealthy people. In the same way, two years later, Racing was conceived in Avellaneda – FC Barrakas al Sud and Colorados Unidos found a compromise to merge. The reverse process, the process of separation from the club Maipu Banfield (no direct connection with the now well-known Banfield), arose Racing’s main rival Independiente. It is believed that this is the first football club, founded by the Argentines, but the name, translated as “independent”, no nationalist overtones, it may surprise someone, does not have. Independent of Maipu Banfield, that’s all.
The ownerless La Boca, the heart of Buenos Aires, did not remain thanks to the club, which bears her name throughout history. Boca Juniors was founded on April 3, 1905 by teenagers, children of Italian immigrants from Genoa. They decided to call the club not only in honor of the barrio, but also in honor of themselves choosing the English word “Juniors”. Therefore, it is correct to use “Juniors” as we have done. In addition, the roots of the creators are not forgotten to this day thanks to the nickname Xeneize (Genoese). In the same year, a group of football fans, Gimnassia, due to the infringement of their favorite sport in the club, will make a demarche and create a second club in La Plata – this is how Estudiantes appeared. Since 1904 a club with the same name will appear in the Argentine elite; however, this is only the capital’s namesake of the legendary Laplatans although it was founded earlier but it hasn’t achieved anything significant and almost all of its history will wander through the lower divisions where it still lives.
San Lorenzo received the right to life on April 1, 1908, and was named after the priest Lorenzo Massa, who allowed the team to play on its own playground. San Lorenzo means Saint Lorenzo. Empty chatter between the three teenagers turned into a big idea, and she in turn became the basis for the appearance of Velez Sarsfield. Dalmasio Velez-Sarsfield is an Argentine politician and lawyer who wrote the Civil Code, whose foundations in the country still exist today. The railway station (now called Floresta) was named after this outstanding figure, and the great club born on the first day of 1910 was named after her.
But while all the historical sharks from the lower divisions gnawed their way to the football Olympus, others ruled the ball. AAFL President Watson-Hatton did not hold for long – only three years and left in 1897 – but he did not give up football and undertook to bring to mind his very first brainchild on Argentinean land – English high school in Buenos Aires, its football direction. This team was not among the participants for a long time, but the return was triumphant – on the first attempt in 1900 the championship was won.
Here is just new leadership AAFL, despite the victory of schoolchildren, considered unethical when these same students compete with athletes. True, it is impossible to understand who exactly was considered athletes, if the official professionalism still did not smell. But since the new conditions of compromise did not tolerate, they had to go on about and rename the Alumni Athletic Club – in honor of the Alumni assotiation that existed (and exists) in the United States, an organization like this for graduates. The first season of its new old club spent triumphantly. Alumni took the championship for two games before the finish, without having either a lost point or a missed goal. Then he missed one goal, but did not lose points. And that’s not all: the so-called Cop Competencia was playing at the time – a tournament between Argentine and Uruguayan clubs. In 1901 Alumni won it too – the initiative from the golden double!
A year later, the story was close to repetition. With minimal losses, the championship was won again, but the Cop Competencia after the third final (the first two winners were not determined) took Rosario Athletic (no, not a relative of Rosario Central). However, in 1903, revenge was taken – the championship, despite one defeat, was again passed smoothly and in the finale the revenge took place. Alumni supposedly ruled in Argentine football for three years. After three consecutive championships, the “failure” in the form of second place in 1904 and 1908 was sure to come, and Belgrano Athletic, who won in those years, became the main reason. In the period 1909-1911 was another triumphal three-year. And this is the end. Like a boxing champion, Alumni, having won everything he could and many times, was gone forever.
The cause of death is natural. Only graduates of the English school played in the club fundamentally, and since they didn’t receive or receive money for their sports activities, because the money from ticket sales went primarily to charity, the time came when most players were tired of football. There was no one to replace them, as the spring from which the shots were taken, dried up. Leaves and never returns to Watson-Hatton football. The final decision on the dissolution of the team was made without a Father on April 24, 1913. Alumni left the 10th champion of Argentina from the stage. Its history will remember it: the first great Argentine club of the XX century. Further history was made by names familiar to us. In 1912, Quilmes will finally become the champion, then Racing will begin to dominate for six years, until the end of the amateur era will be the champion of Boca Juniors, Huracan four times, San Lorenzo and Laplatnaya Gimnasia will win the tournament once.
In this way, some generations of the great ones alternated with others, the team won everything and everyone, but due to the confluence of a number of circumstances there was such a failure at the World Cup. First of all, of course, this is the purchase of leading players by the Italian clubs and the position of the state on this issue. The remaining main character among the Karasusias, “Argentine Garrinsha” Omar Corbatt in all three games scored the ball and was almost the only player to avoid harsh criticism from the press and fans. It is easy to imagine what he would have done with the rest of his partners – one of the best players in the world, Omar Sivori, the phenomenal Mascio, Angelillo on the edge. But theoretically there was still the King of Europe of those years – Alfredo Di Stefano. All of them would be if it were not for the Argentine policy of those years. And it would be the best team in the world, not Brazil.