Wednesday, August 12, 2015

12 August 1904 - Brazilian Football Goes Electric

On 12 August 1904, a group including students at Rio de Janeiro's Alfredo Gomes College founded a football club they called the Electro Club. Located in the Botafogo Beach neighborhood, they eventually changed the name to Botafogo and built it into one of Brazil's most successful clubs.

The idea for the new club came from Flávio Ramos, who proposed the idea to his algebra classmate Emmanuel Sodré. The two of them rounded up a group of friends, including ardent Juventus supporter Itamer Tavares, who encouraged the club to adopt black and white stripes to mirror Juve. Just a month after the club's foundation, Ramos' grandmother suggested the name change from Electro to Botafogo.

The new club was a near-instant success, winning the first of their 21 Rio de Janeiro State League titles in 1907. They won four straight titles from 1932 to 1935 to secure their status as Brazil's dominant team of that era. In 1942, they merged with Club de Regatas Botafogo, a rowing club, to form their current incarnation, Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas.

In addition to titles, Botafogo has been the home of some of Brazil's most exceptional players, including Leônidas da Silva (1935-36), Garrincha (1953-65), Mario Zagallo (1966-70, 1975, 1978-79), and Jairzinho (1959-74, 1981-82). Despite their success, which includes three Club World Cup titles (1967, 1968, 1970), Botafogo have won the Brazilian Cup and the Brazilian Série A only once each, though they continue to do well in the Rio de Janeiro Championship, winning it most recently in 2013.

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