As you may have read in previous posts, I have decided to support a Chilean team and provide you with updates on what I am learning throughout the season and I left it to you, the reader, to decide which team I should support. Your votes set my path for this upcoming season and your decision is that I will be supporting the 16 time champions of Chile – Universidad de Chile. So here is a little about La U…
The history of Universidad de Chile can be tracked back to the early 20th century when students came together to form Internado FC in 1902 and in 1927, they wished to join the growing Liga Central. However, they did not meet the entry criteria and subsequently had to merge with Atletico Universitario and Náutico Universitario to enter the league. So, on the 24th of May in 1927, Universidad de Chile, as we know it, was born as Club Universitario de Deportes. The fledgling club started to receive the support of the Sporting Federations of the Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica in 1930 to help it but the support from Católica stopped in 1934 as they decided to form their own side (Universidad Católica). This led to the club being renamed Club Deportivo de la Universidad de Chile.
La U applied to enter the professional ranks in 1936 but had to go through a trial game of sorts due to the fact that Universidad Católica also applied and there was only one university team allowed in hence the trial games. Católica got hammered but La U fought valiantly, were only narrowly beaten and this led to their acceptance into the professional league.
Early years and el Ballet Azul
After just a remarkable 4 years in the league, Universidad de Chile were crowned league champions but what followed was nearly 2 decades of mediocrity until the late 50s when they won 6 titles in just a decade (1959, 62, 64, 65, 67 and 69). That side won the moniker el Ballet Azul (or the Blue Ballet in English) due to its beautiful playing style as well as supplying 8 of the Chilean squad that finished 3rd at the 1962 World Cup, defeating the Santos side of Pele in 1963 and, perhaps most impressively, defeating Helenio Herrera’s Inter Milan side in the San Siro on a European tour.
The 1973 military coup in Chile shook the country to its core and Universidad de Chile did not go unscathed as the club had an internal crisis. This led to it becoming a private entity in 1978 which led to it being renamed Corporación de Fútbol Profesional de la Universidad de Chile and on the 1st of September, the club severed its ties with the university but kept the name and crest of the club.
Struggles to Glory
La U struggled throughout the 1980s following the severing of ties with the university. While other major clubs received support from the government and other parts of the economy, Universidad received little and, consequently, results suffered. Everything hit rock bottom in 1989 when La U were relegated for the first time in their history. However, they returned after just one season in Primera B and that promotion proved to be a turning point for the club. They became Chilean champions again in 1994, 1995, 1999 and 2000 as well as picking up the 2004 Apertura title as well.
Bankruptcy and Modern Day
Despite all of the club’s success on the pitch, off the pitch, it was failing badly. Debts began to mount and mount and, finally, in 2006 the club declared bankruptcy. The club was taken over by Azul Azul in 2007 and became Chilean champions again in 2009 by winning the Apertura. They followed that up with the 2011 Apertura and Clausura and 2012 Apertura as well as the Copa Sudamericana in 2011.
Leonel Sánchez (1953-1969)
Carlos Campos (1956-1969)
Braulio Musso (1951-1968)
Carlos Contreras (1954-1969)
Luis Eyzaguirre (1958-1973)
Marcelo Salas (1993-1996, 2005-2008)
Rubén Marcos (1961-1970)
Jorge Socías (1971-1983)
Alberto Quintano (1963-1971)
Sergio Vargas (1993-2002)
Luis Musrri (1986-2000, 2002-2004)
Arturo Salah (1975-1981)
Manuel Pellegrini (1973-1986)
Diego Rivarola (2000-2001, 2003-2005, 2010-2011)
Victor Hugo Castañeda (1992-1997)
There is just a little about the team I will be supporting in Chile next season – Universidad de Chile. I would like to thank everyone that voted on this and I hope you enjoy and stick with this throughout this upcoming season. I will post a fixture list soon to allow you all to keep up with when La U are playing.