ON THIS DAY IN FOOTBALL... 3 APRIL
Boca Juniors is formed, on a park bench in Buenos Aires (1905)
They were three friends, three lads called Alfredo Scarpatti, Santiago Pedro Sana and Esteban Baglietto, three mates who lived in La Boca district of Buenos Aires and studied together at the National School of Commerce, where an Irish tutor named Paddy McCarthy had got them hooked on football. At the turn of the century, football was extending its grip across the world, driven by the prestige of the British Empire whose global reach was enormous. The Empire was synonymous with strength and progress and the whole world wanted to to be a part of it. Football was championed and started to attract a fervent following - amongst whom, the three friends in Buenos Aires who began muling over the idea of creating a club of their own in La Boca, where there was already a team - River Plate. To rtalk over their plan, they met up in Baglietto's family home. Joining them that day, were brothers Juan Antonio and Teodoro Farenga. The five of them were still discussing the idea when Baglietto's parents returned with some friends. "What are you here lads?", the adults asked. "We're forming a football club", Esteban replied emphatically. "Then off you go, don't be staying indoors, go out into the street". And the five youngsters left the house.
The discussion continued in a nearby park. Sat on a bench in Solís Square, on the corner formed by the streets Olavarría, Suárez, Caboto and Ministro Brin. Along came Sana's younger brother and the meeting continued until they decided they had to make a resolute decision: the six of them would form the club. Others joined but they still didn't have enough to form an XI so they went to speak to another local side, Independencia, who had had several run-ins with River. So off they went to talk to Independencia's alma mater, Pedro Moltedo, who convinced them to merge the two clubs to create a new team with a new name.
"What will you be called?", he asked them.
" I don't know, but it sounds good. Boca on its own doesn't sound as good", they explained.
Moltedo accepted because he too liked the name. The founders had bandied around a number of suggestions for a name such as: "Sons of Italy", "Italy's Defenders", or "Champions of La Boca", until the moment when Sana, who had a falir for languages, proposed the definitive name. He told the others that in English, 'Juniors' meant youngsters, and giving the new club an English name gave it prestige as well as being a tribute to the inventors of the Beautiful Game. They weren't going to let River Plate gain any advantge in that regard. On 21 April 1903, they played their first match, against Mariano Moreno Institute,at the Dársena Sud (South Docks) and won 4-0 - an excellent start. For the occasion, the team wore pale blue shirts - which none of them were keen on. The club colours became the subject of another lengthy debate, until one day, they spotted a Swedish ship coming into harbour, with its blue flag with yellow cross. They liked the combination. The first shirt was a royal blue with a vertical yellow strip but later changed to a horizontal hoop, although the colours were not always use in the same way at the start. When Boca went on their famous European tour in 1925, by then they had the now classic kit - royal blue with a single, horizontal yellow band.
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