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Villarreal story. Rise of the town (1942-1967)

Amarillo, el submarino es

1951 match at El Madrigal
Villarreal CF

The 1940s were a difficult period for Spain. The Civil War had ended in 1939 and the country was being reorganized. Famine and people being displaced were common, as was a loss of infrastructures and dwellings. Football also felt an impact, as a lot of teams were involved politically before the war, and now had high-ranking officials from the army were assuming roles as presidents for their clubs. For the Valencian region, teams such as Valencia or Castellón would start their glory days. The former winning the league three times in the 1940s, the latter managing to have one of the best runs of their history debuting in Primera. An example that football wouldn’t stop.

Football in Villarreal would still be played in El Madrigal and the Camp del Cedre on the avenue of the same name, where football teams called peñas* would play local tournaments. You could find Levante, where played José Callergues, or Real Unión, where a very young Pascual Font de Mora played. But with the dissolution of CD Villarreal, Villarreal lost their federated football, and some friends decided to not let this be the end. In 1942, the peña Club Atlético Foghetecaz was founded, with the name coming from the initials of the founders: José María Font, Agustín Gil, Diego Herrero, José Teulet, Pascual Català and Sebastián Zaragoza. They competed locally with the same colors used by the late CD Villarreal and reinforced themselves with players from them too, as Gil and Soriano, and youngsters from the local clubs as Callergues or Font de Mora. Their win of the 1942/43 local tournament spurred their popularity.

Villarreal CF

While the town was ready for some football, Marmameu, owner of El Madrigal, was more interested on selling the field to the town hall so they could build housings. So in May 24, 1944 the town hall make the transaction, acquiring the field, with the use for the peñas and Villarreal Educación y Descanso*. Villarreal EyD played for the provincial championship of 1945, reaching the final at Castalia against Betis Balompié EyD from Castellón. This good result made the townsfolk ask for a federated team, and the town hall said that if any peña would like to make the big move, as they already had the field there waiting to be prepared. The big frost of 1946 put on hold the initiatives as the town lost their main agriculture, making the fabrication of tiles the new principal income line for the inhabitants. Finally, in 1947 the Club Atlético Foghetecaz decided to hold a meeting in May to decide if they would ascribe to the federation or not, as there was a big divide between the ones in favor and against. With only one vote of difference, the yes won and in August 25, 1947 the club was registered with the federation, with Lorenzo Carda as president. Federated football had returned to Villarreal.

Villarreal CF
Foghetecaz yellow crest
Villarreal CF

Of course, the club had to be prepared, and they went to buy a new kit at Valencia. As the shop didn’t have enough white shirts, as they wanted to continue the line of CD Villarreal, it was decided to buy yellow shirts, which prompted them to adopt the yellow in the crest. The man who did that change was Manolo Vilanova.

The start was not a rosy one. In 1950, Miguel Batalla Gil assumed the presidency, which also saw the club winning the Amateur championship of the Valencian region, thus entering the Spanish championship for amateurs, with their biggest feat eliminating an FC Barcelona side at the round of 16, but ultimately they were eliminated in the semifinals by the Agrupación Recreativa Chamberí of Madrid. In 1951, the town hall pressured for the team to change their name to include Villarreal, assuming now the name CAF Villarreal. That good trajectory of the club made, in May 1952, a change with the board of directors known as els pobres (Valencian for the poor ones) stepping back and els rics (the rich ones) entering to manage the club. This was also the year were El Madrigal started to be remodeled adding a tribuna de preferencia, and signing big players, while they also had a filial at the lowest level, named Madrigal CF. But the results were not so good, and after Miguel Batalla putting money from his pocket, Lorenzo Carda returned to the presidency.

1951 crest
La Futbolteca

In June, 1954 the club changed their name to Villarreal Club de Fútbol (as well as their crest) with the short term objective of achieving Tercera for the first time in their history. That wouldn’t take long, as the 1956/57 season, first season with blue shorts and socks, saw them play at Tercera. They played there for five consecutive seasons until they were relegated in 1961, during the decade known as la de los Pascuales, as three presidents during this were named for the patron saint of Villarreal.

New crest starting in 1954
Villarreal CF

The 1960s were a time of economical boom for Spain, and Villarreal (town) with their booming tile industry was not a stranger. In 1963, Pascual Rubio assumed presidency, with an aim for returning to Tercera, making some adjustements to the team to make it a top contender for promotion. 1966 saw the start of the presidency of Pascual Font de Mora Chabrera, associate from a big tile industry factory and former player, who aimed for a Tercera return, which was accomplished at his first season as president. As some youth fans accompanied the club with a record player with the song Yellow Submarine, with the chorus being Amarillo es, amarillo es, making the nickname of the team Submarino Amarillo.

Adopted in 1966
Villarreal CF
Villarreal CF

In case, someone wonders, that’s not the chorus of the Yellow Submarine of The Beatles. It is for the song of the same name by Los Mustang. The thing is, in Spain, during the 60s you had bands who would adapt biggest hits from abroad, and in 1966 Los Mustang released the Spanish version of the Beatles song, selling 130,000 copies here, with some people even saying that they sold the double than the original in Spain.

*peña-> Association of friends, which in Spain, ended with football clubs created, and local leagues. Some of the peñas leagues were rather famous, as the one in La Vall d’Uixó who saw the appearance of historic players for Villarreal, Castellón or Valencia, among others. In Villarreal, after the federation of Foghetecaz, you also had the Peña Deportiva Villarrealense as another peña playing official competitions

*Educación y Descanso-> In 1939, the Civil War ended with General Franco assuming the head of state of a fascist dictatorship that lasted until 1975 with his death. As fascist Italy with the OND, Educación y Descanso served the same purpose, as it was the control of the free time of the workers, engaging them in sports, and other activities, and since 1943 with collaboration of the KdF from Nazi Germany. EyD disappeared around 1979. Some of the teams under the EyD banner ended being the current team for the town they hailed from.

Information arranged from La Futbolteca, at the same time them having various sources, and the official web of Villarreal CF. Photographies from Villarreal CF