March 10, 1923. Spain is at war with the Republic of Rif (a northern region of Morocco) in what is known as Rif War. The government is not looked upon favourably and people want García Prieto out.
In this context, in a small town in Spain - dominated by the orange trade - a new club is being born, one which would take the name of Club Deportivo Villarreal. It was one with the mission of promoting all kind of sports, with special attention towards football.
The pioneer was José Calduch Almela, who saw the sport in Barcelona with the likes of Espanyol and Barcelona, among others, and decided to bring it to this small town known more for the cycling and its velodrome. Their shirt was white, while the shorts and socks were black.
As they were still a new venture, the stadium was inaugurated by two clubs from the provincial capital: Castellón and Cervantes. It wouldn’t be until October 21 when Villarreal would debut officially in a match, against Red Star from Castellón. These small steps would end up with Villarreal registering in Federación Levantina de Foot-ball (Levantine Football Federation) the next year.
As they were from humble beginnings, they had to play friendlies as their team was not deemed good enough to play at the regional level until the late 20s and early 30s, when they started to get some traction.
As happened to all clubs, after playing in 1936 the promotion play-off to Segunda, the Civil War broke out, putting an end to their dreams. The post-war seasons were hard, and in 1942 the club disappeared. It wouldn’t be until 1947 when a group of friends revived the football in the town.
Villarreal is like the story of any club from a town, where you could find some years where the club was defunct before returning. As time passed, and Vila-real grew as a town, and later a city, Villarreal grew as a club, and with the arrival of Fernando Roig, it became a success story, the club from a small town that made it big. And the club is still growing!
Happy centenary birthday, Villarreal!