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Villarreal history. The early years (1923-1942)

Before the yellow and in black and white.

1935-36 team
Villarreal CF

Football in Villarreal, a town with 16,770 inhabitants as of 1920, started as in a lot of other towns through out Spain: some local seeing the sport played in another place and bringing it home. The name of that local was José Calduch Almela, a pharmacist that studied in Barcelona and saw both Espanyol and Barcelona play. The year was 1923 and the town was famous for their velodrome and cycling, with the locals working mainly the cultivation of oranges. Although football was not a stranger in La Plana region* as it had caught on in some nearby towns as La Vall d’Uixó, Burriana, Onda or Castellón. Mr. Calduch bought with 500 pesetas (around 50 times the daily wage of a worker) a field of carobs and with work make it a field that was called Campo de Deportes.

José Calduch
Villarreal CF

So on March 10 of 1923 the Club Deportivo Villarreal, with José Calduch as president, was born and in June 17, 1923 the field was inaugurated with a match between CD Castellon and CD Cervanfes, two teams from the provincial capital, as Villarreal felt they were not good enough to be the ones playing the first match. October 21, 1923 saw Villarreal make their debut, with white shirts, black shorts and socks, as it was the easiest fabric to get, against Red Star FC, another Castellon team.

First crest
Villarreal CF
Inaugural match
First CD Villarreal match
Villarreal CF

Wanting more, they registered with the Federacion Levantina de Clubs de Football on April 1924. In 1925 the Campo de Deportes was renamed to El Madrigal as his location was on the Madrigal partida*. During this years, they plied their trade mainly by playing friendlies against teams, most of them from Valencia, as they were not good enough to play the Campeonato Regional Valenciano.

Villarreal CF

When 1929 saw the creation of a national league with the reformation of all football, Villarreal played at the lowest level with some promotions along the way. This time also saw them playing with a blue shirt. In 1932, El Madrigal was bought by Vicente Marmameu who made Villarreal pay a rent. In 1934, with the presidency of Antonio Plaza Perez, Villarreal returned to the white shirt and the season 1935/36 saw them finishing in promotion playoffs to Segunda. They had a playoff against Cartagena FC where they lost 5-0 away due to inexperience and, while they won the second leg, was a 3-1 that didn't help them. The break out of the Civil War put on hold every activity, with the town being near the front of 1937 and bombings in 1938.

Antonio Plaza, president during the 30s
Villarreal CF

After the end of the war, El Madrigal had been damaged due to the bombings during the war, destroying, among other things, the locker rooms. With some help from town hall, in the hands of a Junta Municipal of Falange, the field got some work to accommodate the upcoming season. Due to the restructuring done after the war, Villarreal had to start all over from the bottom. Tragedy struck when in 1942, the deadline that the RFEF had given to teams to repair/rebuild the fields had finally arrived. Neither the owner nor the town hall had money to do the improvement needed to the field, so Villarreal ended dissolving due to lack of a suitable field. But at a town with currently 20,025 inhabitants, the passion for football had only started.

*La Plana is the historic region inside Castellón which Villarreal was located. Since 1983 is divided as Plana Alta (Castellón) and Plana Baixa (Villarreal)

*partida -> it's a unit of rural geography used in the Comunidad Valencia a to refer to a group of huertas. Would be similar to neighborhood

Information arranged from La Futbolteca, at the same time them having various sources, and the official web of Villarreal CF. Photographies from Villarreal CF, loaned to them by the Calduch Almela, Cerisuelo and Safont Valverde families