Mercedes, the oldest club in Argentine soccer, reaches the First D

The AFA confirmed that Club Mercedes will play the next Apertura de Primera D tournament that will begin on Saturday, May 7. You will have direct affiliation, but the first year, if you win the tournament, you will not be able to ascend. There were more than 30 institutions that submitted antecedents in early 2021 so there was finally room for one. The Mercedina entity was founded in 1875, it says that it is the oldest soccer club in the country and there is already controversy regarding the deanery.

“The Board of Directors of Club Mercedes is pleased to report that the executive committee of the Argentine Football Association @afa decided to invite the oldest club in the country to participate in the First Division tournament “D” of Argentine Football”, published in his Twitter account the Buenos Aires institution.

The AFA is the mother entity of the country, but it has direct affiliations (the historical ones of the AMBA plus the 4 rosarinos -Newell’s, Central, Argentino and Central Córdoba, the 2 santafesinos -Unión and Colón- and Sarmiento de Junín. In 1979, when he assumed Julio Grondona the presidency, the doors were closed. Real Pilar joined in 2017. And now, the Mercedes Club. The rest of the country’s clubs, through their respective leagues, to the Federal Council, and this to the AFA. They are indirectly affiliated.

Beyond the strange decision of the AFA and category D to incorporate only one club, they played the tournament with 11, having a free date, discussions began on social networks if now the new dean of Argentine soccer is Club Mercedes . As if his performance within the framework of the Federal Council did not count.

However, he is the most champion of the Mercedina League (24 titles) only in 1981 he won his first title. In the last decades he monopolized the local competition and that is why he played regionals and Federal C in 2017.

With almost 2,000 members, it is today the most important club in the city, with three venues and disciplines such as swimming, tennis, basketball and figure skating. The former River Santiago Sosa emerged from his inferiors and has a recognized fan in national politics, the Minister of the Interior Wado de Pedro, who played for the club. Also Santiago Révora, former player and current Undersecretary of Municipal Affairs of the Province of Buenos Aires. Of course, Mayor Juan Ignacio Ustarroz, from the Frente de Todos, added his support. In the published tweet, the club thanked the three for their support.

Given the novelty, the questions: What are the oldest entities in the country? What club can claim the deanery of Argentine football? Is it the same to be the oldest by date of foundation than by affiliation to an entity?

One of the first reactions came from Quilmes’ side. Patricio Minig, head of the club’s History Department, tweeted: “Club Mercedes (5-12-1875) will play in Primera D. It is now the oldest club affiliated with the AFA. Those who take the founding date to consider a club “dean” they will have to correct. Those of us who take a membership date remain the same: @qacoficial is the dean of the AFA.” In addition, the Revisionismo Fútbol account immediately contributed its own.

The sports field of the Buenos Aires Cricket Club, inaugurated in December 1864, was considered for years the cradle of Argentine sports. It was located on the site occupied by the current Planetarium and the first soccer game in the country was played there. They were young members of the club cricketer those who founded the Buenos Aires Football Club in May 1867, four years after the creation of modern football in London.

The BAFC had two refoundations or reorganizations, in 1891 it participated in the first tournament played in the country and later it was one of the four founders of the Rugby Union (1899). He never approached official football again. In 1951 they were evicted from the Palermo venue and the two old clubs merged. The well-known Biei is still valid, but football, just a memory. A similar situation to that of Biei is that of Club Atlético del Rosario, founded on March 27, 1867 as Rosario Cricket Club. He had his participation in official soccer, he was the winner of several Competition Cups but later he left. Rugby and hockey are its main activities.

The football clubs are more linked to the second founding of football in Buenos Aires, after the arrival on the one hand of Alexander Watson Hutton and, on the other, the extension of the railways. Also at the end of the 19th century, clubs were founded to carry out various sports.

Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aires (GEBA) was founded in 1880. It played for many years and even one of its presidents, Ricardo Aldao, led the first split and formed the Argentine Football Federation. But it has been 100 years since he disaffiliated so as not to return to official football. Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata was founded on June 3, 1887 and currently plays in the First Division. Is it the dean? By date of foundation it could be but it is known that the club only incorporated football at the beginning of the 20th century.

Quilmes is recognized founded on November 27, 1887. However, for a long time the official records of him dated from November 5, 1897, ten years later. Jorge Gallego, from the Center for the Investigation of the History of Soccer (CIHF) published years ago a work on the Quilmes clubs in the period 1887-1897. There he confirmed that it was a new entity, different from its two predecessors, since both had been liquidated.

However, when it turned 130 years old, the club published on the official site a detailed work of its history department tracing the links of continuity between one and the other. The Quilmes Club, predecessor, was one of the founding clubs of the Argentine Association Football League (AAFL) in 1893. The current AFA is recognized as having been founded that year.

In the life of the current Quilmes it had a lot to do with the arrival in the country in 1895 of Reverend Joseph Thomas Stevenson, who revitalized the British community in the area and activated the organization of a club two years later. “Perhaps this time the new club will be able to have more support and success than its predecessors.“, published the newspaper River Plate and Pastime on November 6, 1897. In opposition to the English of Quilmes, Argentino de Quilmes was born in 1899 (that same year, Estudiantes de Buenos Aires was founded). Of course, Quilmes plays soccer officially, uninterruptedly, since 1900. It is the oldest of those still in activity.

In the same vein, Banfield Athletic is from 1896 and the current Banfield has greater continuity when a club emerged in 1904. However, there is research linking both dates as a continuity and the Drillofficially, figure founded in 1896.

On December 24, 1889, in Rosario, the sports section of the British company Central Argentine Railway Athletic Club was founded. The creation was directly linked to playing the new English sport: the football. During those years, the presidents were railway managers and only employees could play. In 1905 the club split from the company and changed its name to Hispanic: Club Atlético Rosario Central. He is one of the founders of the Rosario Association and has continued since that date. Of the clubs founded to play football, it is the oldest.

Three clubs founded in 1892 are also still active and play football in their leagues: Lobos Athletic Club (July 3), Club de Regatas de San Nicolás (October 22) and BAP de Junín (December 3). Jorge Gallego clarifies that although the Mercedes Club is recognized as having been founded on May 12, 1875, in reality it is the merger of the Social Club (1875) and the Deportivo Mercedes (1922) in 1934, generating a new entity with stronger ties. with football. In its beginnings, the Social Club did not have among its activities the practice of the sport that would become the most popular. As in Gimnasia, in Buenos Aires and La Plata, football came later.

In this tour, there is a certainty: in Argentina there is no stark struggle to define who is the dean, beyond the occasional clarifications that emerged this Thursday, April 21. As a nickname, the only Dean is Atlético Tucumán, pioneer of Tucuman soccer. The same does not happen, for example, in Uruguay, for example, where the fans, leaders and historians of Nacional and Peñarol have almost irreconcilable positions. Albion, an old English club that was inactive for a while and this year played again in the First Division, maintains the deanery charrúa.

Instead, most of the country’s most popular clubs emerged in the early 20th century. River is from 1901 although it has been operating as such since 1904. Racing, from 1903. Independiente and Boca, from 1905. And San Lorenzo from 1908. The five, when the rented era arrived in 1931 (England made it professional in 1885), had already strengthened the foundations on which they built their greatness.

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