Real Sociedad De Futbol, S.A.D simply known also as ‘Real Sociedad’ or ‘La Real’ is not an unfamiliar to club soccer fans ardently following the Spanish League. This club hasn’t been a title contender since a long time in a League dominated by a duopoly of Madrid and Barca but still it is one of the teams that the title contenders won’t love to face when the race for the title is on. It is definitely a team capable of causing upsets for the big teams. Read about Spanish club Real Sociedad profile
ORIGINS of Real Sociedad:
The football club is based in the Spanish city of San Sebastian, Basque and was founded on 7th September, 1909. Its home stadium Anoeta is capable of seating 32200 spectators.
Real Sociedad was among the founder members of the La Liga in 1928. Across their history, they have enjoyed a boastful stint in the Spanish top flight having tasted the Segunda division several times too.
The club shares its biggest rivalry with Athletic Bilbao, another Basque club. The fixture between these two clubs is more famously known as the ‘Basque Derby’.
The club’s name literally means ‘Royal Society of Football’ in the Spanish language. In Basque, the club is nicknamed as Erreala or txuri-urdin which means the ‘white and blue’ owing to their club colors which are based on the San Sebastian flag. The club was also nicknamed as Donostia during the second Spanish Republic.
HISTORY of Real Sociedad Club:
The Early history of the club is quite profound in which they have witnessed their name change several times. Soccer was introduced into Basque by workers and students returning from Britain in the early 1900s. In 1904, these soccer lovers formed the San Sebastian Recreation club which featured several other sports like hockey and Basque Pelota along with soccer. In 1905 they competed in the Copa Del Rey as the San Sebastian Football Club which was formed as a separate branch of the recreation club. In 1909 they registered to play in the Copa Del Rey with the name Club Ciclista De San Sebastian owing to the complications over the registration permits. This team won the Copa Del Rey beating Club Espanyol De Madrid by the scoreline of 3-1. Out of this rising confusion a general name of Sociedad De Football (Society of football) was declared in 1909. In 1910 the Spanish Clubs started participating in rival cup competitions and the club participated in the Copa UECF as Vasconia De San Sebastian. The then king Alfonso XIII who used San Sebastian as the summer capital gave the club his patronage and thus the club earned its current name Real Sociedad De Football meaning the Royal Society of Football.
In 1928, this club became one of the founding members of La Liga. The first season saw them stand fourth with Francisco Bienzobas as the top scorer finishing as the top scorer. The team’s name was again changed this time to Donostia Club De Football during the Second Spanish Republic but after the Spanish Civil War the club restored its prestigious name Real Sociedad De Football and since then their name has successfully maintained stability. The club has been the one which has fluctuated between the Spanish Primera and Segunda divisions occasionally.
The most glorious years of the club came in the 1980s, when they won two titles back to back in dramatic fashion. For the first time in history, the team finished runners-up in La Liga in 1980 with 52 points as compared to Real Madrid’s 53.
In 1981, they won the liga title for the first time beating Madrid on goal difference. They broke the winning streak of Madrid in the La Liga to deny them their 4th straight title. However having qualified for the European cup the following season they were knocked out by CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria.
The club retained their title the following year in 1982 by leading second placed Barcelona by two points. Under the management of Alberto Ormaetxea, the forward Jesus Maria Satrustegui became the top scorer with 16 goals. The club also reached the semi-finals of the European Cup of 1982-1983 where they lost 3-2 on aggregate to eventual champions Hamburger SV. But the club had already won a consolation by winning the Supercopa at the start of the 1982-1983 season.
Real Sociedad set a new record for the most goals scored in a quarter final of Copa Del Rey by beating Mallorca 10-1. In the semi-finals they faced off their Basque Rivals Athletic Bilbao and beat them over two legs to reach the finals where they met Atletico de Madrid whom they beat 4-2 on penalties to win the Copa Del Rey. The following season they were the runners-up of the Copa Del Rey after beating Atletico Madrid again in the quarter finals, hammering Real Madrid 5-0 in the semis and losing 1-0 to Barcelona in the finals. Apart from the cup glory, they didn’t win any Liga title after 1982 and they were runners-up in the 1987-1988 season, their first biggest achievement in Liga after failing to retain it since 1983.
The transfer policy of the club hinted reluctance to sign players outside of Basque, just like their Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao who preferred Basque players over foreign ones. But eventually, the club became open minded to accept influential players like John Aldridge and Dalian Atkinson who became the clubs first black player.
MODERN HISTORY of Real Sociedad Soccer Club:
The 21st century start was glorious for the Basque club as they finished runners-up in Liga in 2002-2003 despite of having finished the previous three seasons at the 13th place in the final standings. Their tally of 76 points was beaten only by Real Madrid’s 78. Managed by the Frenchman Raynald Denoueix, Sociedad’s strikeforce consisted of Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci and Yugoslavian Darko Kovacevic. These both were the third and fourth top scorers that season respectively with 23 and 20 goals. The team also featured the Dutch goalkeeper Sander Westerveld and Xabi Alonso in midfield. Alonso went on to become the Ballon D’or award winner in 2003 and the Best Player in Spanish League, while Nihat was voted the Best foreign player and Raynald Denouiex himself as the Best Manager.
Despite of beating their title rivals Real Madrid 4-2 in San Sebastian and being at the top spot till the second last game of the season, Sociedad lost the title to Real Madrid owing to their 3-2 defeat away to Celta De Vigo which made them lose their grip on the top spot at a very wrong time. The team qualified for Europe next season finishing 2nd in Liga, being unbeaten at home and scoring a total of 71 goals and losing only 6 times.
Real Sociedad were in the group D of the 2003-2004 Champions league along with Juventus, Olympiakos and Galatasary. They qualified into the knockout phase being second in the group but were eventually knocked out by Lyon in the round of 16. They saw a dramatic decline in their Liga standings that season dropping off to the 15th position at the end of the season. La Liga 2006-2007 saw them relegated finishing 19th. The club returned to the Spanish top-flight on 13th June, 2010.
At the end of the 2012-2013 season the club qualified into the Champions league having finshed in fourth place and they earned a playoff for the 2013-2014 season. They beat Lyon 2-0 in both the legs to make it into the European showpiece. Disappointingly they couldn’t qualify from their group.
On November 2014, the controversial manager David Moyes was chosen to replace Jagoba Arrasate as the club’s new manager. At the start of the year 2015, Real Sociedad are currently placed 15th in the league table and are still in pursuit of making it to the upper half of the table.
The year 2009 Marked the hundredth year of this club but much to the disappointment of being in the Segunda division that season, the only notable celebration was the creation of a Centenary hymn by the fans. They also introduced Centenary shirts in the market in honor of the club’s hundred years.
- Winners (2 times): 1980–81, 1981–82
- Runners-up (3 times): 1979–80, 1987–88, 2002–03
Copa del Rey
- Winners (2 times): 1909, 1986–87
- Runners-up (5 times): 1910, 1913, 1928, 1951, 1987–88
Supercopa de España
- Winners (1 times): 1982
- Winners (3 times): 1948–49, 1966–67, 2009–10
- Runners-up (2 times): 1940–41, 1942–43
The clubs longest unrelegated run is of 40 seasons from 1968-2007.
The club is clearly a pride of Basque and has been through several ups and downs across its more than a century-long history. With a manager with Premier league experience in David Moyes and several key players like Xabi Prieto and Carlos Vela, glory cannot be far away. This club has already given the world a very talented defensive midfielder like Xabi Alonso and with time if things go right, they might have several young stars to offer or probably bask in the clubs own glory to take it to newer heights in Spanish football.
To learn more about this club, visit Real Sociedad Football Club Official Website