Fri. Feb 21st, 2020

‘La Vanguardia’, 125 years with football

“Tomorrow at three in the afternoon a game of
, English game little known in Barcelona … a lot of enthusiasm reigns and if this game has a good result, this game will probably be repeated often and maybe it will be implanted in Barcelona ”.

The first reference found on football in The vanguard arises in the copy of February 1, 1893. There were a few lines to announce a match Of the new sport activity. For many years there were many loose notes, usually hidden in long columns of motley text full of anglicisms such as the name of the sport itself: football . It is not until 1903, ten years later, that the word football begins to spread, in principle as a compound word: football .

In this period of ten years they had already founded both the Barcelona (1899) as the Spanish (1900) and reviews about the new sports activity had gained prominence. However, what could be considered a foundational chronicle of football information in the pages of this newspaper was published on the same day as today 125 years ago. In his copy of January 25, 1895 The vanguard
He considered that kicking a ball was serious and that it deserved to be explained in detail. Even with graphics!

The secret

“The game is simply to pass the ball, which is large, through the doors …”

The chronicle appeared in that Vanguard At the end of the 19th century, the putting on, the full acceptance of football on our pages should be considered as the newspaper is launched, for the first time in a determined way, to promote the practice of ball sports. The vanguard He decided that day to dedicate part of his cover to explain what football consists of, how it is practiced and what are the peculiarities of its rules.

Thus the readers of this newspaper discovered football: “The game consists simply of passing the ball, which is large, through the doors placed behind the players of each side, formed by three sticks in this provision:

The opposite side, of course, is the one that tries to introduce the ball as often as possible, since each one is equivalent to a goal (departure).

Page of the Iris magazine of 3.3.1900 with images of football Football

Page of the Iris magazine of 3.3.1900 with images of football Football

The eleven players that form one of the sides and that together both form the 22 of which the game must be composed, are arranged as follows: five strikers destined to run the ball and approach it to the opposite door, two means destined to stop the strikers, three intermediaries who try with their accurate strokes to always move the ball away from the door of their game, in front of which they are placed, and finally a defender placed in the same door and destined to prevent the trance from entering the ball, so it is allowed to make use of the hands, a prerogative that is forbidden to the other players. Therefore, when the two sides are placed to start the match, they form a rectangle as follows:

Started the game, the skill consists in knowing how to decompose the opposite party in order to be able to enter taking advantage of that decomposition, for which purpose a captain is appointed for each side that directs the respective party ”.


The vanguard He thus certified the growing popularity of the new physical activity and acknowledged the exaggeration of an earlier chronicle, published on March 30, 1894, in which he considered football practically a deadly activity.

At the end of the 19th century the reference chronicler of The vanguard it was Ezequiel Boixet i Castells (Lleida 1849-Barcelona 1916). He was co-director of this newspaper and for 25 years he published a detailed citizen chronicle that he signed with the pseudonym Juan Buscón, in a highly successful daily section entitled “Busca, busca”. When Boixet decided to refer to the growing fashion of sports activity, he focused especially on the foot-ball and highlighted the serious dangers that its practitioners were running. He used an article from the British medical journal The Lancet , that a few weeks before, under the heading “The Perils of Football”, had made a count of the accidents suffered in soccer practice during 1893 and beginning of 1894.


Juan Buscón pointed out: “An exercise that in the space of six months yields a liquidation of 31 broken legs, 16 fractured arms and 20 deceased, not counting other trifles, is clearly an excellent and proper fun like no other to improve the conditions of a race. I can imagine the spontaneous joy with which after a game of football the champions will say: we had fun in the extreme and everything went very well, there was nothing but a broken collarbone, two broken legs and a dislocated arm … poor Williams stayed upside down, but what the boy had fun before You can’t die to figure it out. You can never say with more reason that “each one has fun in his own way.”

A few months later the alarmism was gone and The vanguard He advised his readers to get drunk by the practice of football. That’s how it all began 125 years ago.

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