Valencia CF is celebrating an important birthday this year as one of Spain’s, and even Europe’s most important football clubs for 95 years. The football club’s historical trajectory began in March 1919 in the now long-gone Bar Torino, when a group of friends and football aficionados decided to establish a team in Valencia, under the name Valencia Foot-ball Club. The team’s first president, Octavo Augusto Milego, was decided by a simple coin toss. In its early days, this novice team played every match at the Campo de Algirós football field, bringing with it many supporters. Just four years later, and faced with an unexpected growth of the team, Valencia CF went on to play matches in the field known as the Campo de Mestalla.
In the 1930s the team reached the First Division, whilst in the 40s, the official name of the club was changed to Valencia Club de Fútbol with the arrival of their new president, Luis Casanova, who lead che (as Valencia CF was known across Spain), to become one of the most important teams to beat in home tournaments such as La Liga and La Copa del Rey. This decade was also significant for the so-called “delantera eléctrica”, meaning the “electric forwards”, a dream-team set of players who are still remembered today and whose names are etched in the memory of legions of loyal fans. This famous “delantera eléctrica” consisted of Epi, Amadeo, Mundo, Asensi and Gorostiza. Mundo, winner of two Pichichis (La Liga’s trophy for the top goal-scorer) is still holds the title as the player with the most goals scored for the Valencian club.
The 50s resulted in just one title for the team (La Copa del Rey 1957), but in the 60s Valencia CF began to flourish on the European football field. The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was won twice by the Valencian club, which was consequently renamed as the UEFA Cup. The third final, head-to-head with Zaragoza, is still remembered today by Valencian football fans for the disastrous refereeing which deprived the che team of their third European title. In 1969, the Mestalla Stadium changed its name to the Luis Casanova Stadium, paying homage to the team’s best president, and giving way to the 70s which started with a bang with a new Liga title thanks to Alfredo Di Stéfano as manager. 1976 was a turning point for the team with the arrival of the then unknown Argentine player to Spanish football: Mario Alberto Kempes, known as “Marito”, who over the years, despite a stuttering start, was considered the best foreign player in the club’s history; “Don’t say Kempes, say goal“ it was said. Amongst his finest moments perhaps the most memorable are the two goals he scored in the final of La Copa del Rey which was held in the Vicente Calderón Stadium against Real Madrid. Other goals scored by Kempes were during the historical 1978 World Cup final in Argentina, when the home team played against Holland (lead by stars such as Neeskens, Resenbrink and even Valencia CF player Johnny Rep). Johan Cruyff, the so-called “lanky one”, did not play in this match.