1. Sevilla won the first-ever organised football match in Spain

For many years it was believed that the club was formed in 1905 but the discovery of a copy of the Dundee Courier in the British Library in 2012 traced the club back to 1890. The newspaper revealed that the club’s first president was in fact Edward Farquharson Johnston, then the British vice-consul in the city and owner of a shipping company which sold Andalusian oranges in the UK.

In that same year, the club challenged neighbours Huelva Recreation Club (today known as Recreativo Huelva) to a match at a horse-racing track near the city limits on the 8th March. Amid driving rain more typical of northern Europe, Sevilla won 2-0 with goals from Ritson and Yugles in front of a crowd of 150 spectators… and Spanish football was born.

 

  1. Their Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium is named after their iconic league-winning president

Since 1958 Sevilla have played at their now much revered Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium, a ground named for their long-time president. Born in 1900, Sanchez-Pizjuan was a locally-born lawyer who ran the club for 17 years over two terms between 1932 and 1956, during which time Sevilla won their only LaLiga title (1946) and three Copa del Rey trophies (1935, 1939, 1948).

Later the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Sanchez-Pizjuan passed away in 1956 just as his former club were completing a new ground in the city’s Nervion district, which was then dedicated to his memory. The club legend wouldn’t have enjoyed his team’s first LaLiga game at their new home though… a 4-2 derby defeat to city rivals Real Betis!



 

  1. A Gambian striker who played for the club in the 1970s is still Sevilla fans’ number one cult hero

Alhaji Momodo Nije, widely known as Biri Biri, became the first African to play for the club in 1973, going on to score 32 goals in 99 LaLiga games before leaving in 1978.

Regarded as the greatest player in Gambian history, Biri Biri is well known around LaLiga for his five-year stint in Seville. The club’s ‘Biris Norte’ fans take their name from the much-loved figure, who in recent years has become a regular visitor to games at the Sanchez-Pizjuan.

 

  1. Sevilla were the first Spanish club to field a full foreign-born XI

Sevilla’s global reach was also shown during the 2016/17 LaLiga campaign when they became the first club in Spanish football history to field a full starting XI born outside the country.

The team picked for the away trip to Eibar in September 2016 contained players from six countries on three different continents: Salvatore Sirigu (Italy); Gabriel Mercado (Argentina), Adil Rami (France), Daniel Carrico (Portugal), Timothee Kolodziejczak (France); Hiroshi Kiyotake (Japan), Matias Kranevitter (Argentina), Paulo Henrique ‘Ganso’ (Brazil); Raphael Correa (Argentina), Samuel Vietto (Argentina) and Wissam Ben Yedder (France).

 

  1. They have a history of World Cup winners

Summer 2018 saw Sevilla celebrate a World Cup victory, with rojiblanco midfielder Steven Nzonzi playing a key role as France beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final in Moscow. But Nzonzi is not the only WC winner in Sevilla’s history.

Current teammate Jesus Navas lifted the Jules Rimet trophy with Spain in 2010 while Argentina’s hero in 1986 Diego Maradona spent a season at the Sanchez-Pizjuan in the mid-90s.

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Damon Palmar
damon@footballnationradio.com