CD Tenerife celebrates its 100th birthday
When Mario García Cames and his ten colleagues posed for the photo that accredited them as CD Tenerife's first board of directors, little could they imagine where the club would be a century later. That Tuesday, August 8th 1922, one hundred years ago today, the national leagues of the First and Second Division did not exist, the World Cup was almost a decade away, and the local teams did not go beyond representing neighbourhoods of Santa Cruz against other municipalities of the Island.
The original aspiration of García Cames and his group was to transcend the borders of the capital and continue the path begun in 1912 by the extinct Sporting Club Tenerife, from which CD Tenerife inherited their pitch (the now gone Miraflores field next to the Children’s Hospital), their first players, some directors, and the blue and white colours of the flag of the Western Province of the Canary Islands.
With official matches limited to island competitions, and occasionally regional ones due to the cost and conditions of maritime transport at the time, Tenerife took almost ten years to make a name for itself in Spanish football and only thanks to friendly matches. Like all Canarian clubs, it was prohibited from participating in national categories until the 1950s.
So, the external projection of our representative began to take shape in 1929 with the first visits to the Stadium, named the Heliodoro Rodríguez López on its inauguration on July 25 1925 until 1950 when it took its current name, of some of the best clubs of the time including Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid, Español, Real [Club Celta de] Vigo, Sevilla, Betis, Athletic Club, [Real] Madrid, Donostia [Real Sociedad] and overseas teams including like Everton and Liverpool.
Everything changed in 1950 when the club had its first opportunity to reach the national categories but didn’t take advantage of its promotion chances. However, on May 31st 1953, they got their place in the Second Division by thrashing Orihuela in the playoffs (3-0 in the second leg, after 2-1 in the first leg) in a packed Heliodoro and with an eleven, as teams were still not allowed to change more than that of the goalkeeper, staggered in a 3-5-2 formation, still remembered by the elders who quote the skills of Cuco; Chicho, Isidore, Pearl; Villar, Servando; Oscar, Julito, Antonio, Mendez, and Paquillo.
What came later was better known as time progressed, and achievements were added to the list of Tenerife landmarks. Four promotions to the First Division (1961, 1989, 2001 and 2009), as many to the Second Division after drops to the third (1971, 1983, 1987, and 2013), two fifth places in the elite in thirteen seasons, and two classifications for the UEFA Cup, a European semi-final, and another in the Copa del Rey.
During the century of existence that CD Tenerife celebrates today, records show that they have competed in 3,318 competitive matches against 219 different rivals. In those hundred years, they have won more times (1,353) than they have lost (1,150), have drawn 815 games, and scored more goals (4,891) than they have conceded (4,135).
More than 1,100 players and nearly a hundred coaches later (83 'official' coaches since Carlos Muñiz opened the list of those who can be considered as such in 1952), CD Tenerife bears little resemblance to the one conceived by García Cames and his ten daring companions.
It is almost nothing like it, but none of it would have been possible without that initial, determined and priceless effort, which explains the evolution over ten decades. As the verse of our anthem turned into our motto says: 'Adelante sin temor a la meta final'… Forward without fear to the final goal!
Happy birthday CDT.
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