Club_de_Fútbol_Universidad_de_Chile

Club de Fútbol Universidad de Chile

Club de Fútbol Profesional de la Universidad de Chile is one of the most popular football clubs in Chile. The club is best known by their nickname "La U" (The U).

History

The club was founded on May 24 1927 as Club Deportivo Universitario by the merger of Club Náutico and Federación Universitaria. Initially the club was formed by students of the Universidad de Chile and was the sport brand of the university, that was until 1980 when the university's rector and president of the club at the time (both of them appointed by the Pinochet regime) decided to separate the club from the university and created the CORFUCH to manage the football team. This move was a part of the atomization of the Universidad de Chile that was made by the military dictatorship in order to strength the private universities that were born in that time and reduce the state power. This was a major blow to the club, because it was left with nothing but a loyal fan base. From then the club started to decline in the results and the economy as the other major clubs were helped by main powers as the government, the catholic church and Codelco. This led to the team's relegation to second division in 1988 and the threats of dissolve the club by the university if the team didn't come back to the first division in one year, but La "U" get the 2nd division championship of 1989 and then started a return to the greatness that suppressed all the previous penuries.

Some ties to the university remain: the club logo is the same as the university's sport logo, an owl, used in the university as a symbol of wisdom. The uniform colors are, like the university's colors, the same. And instead of the logo, the shirt has a big red U. Administratively, there were minor ties, for example, the previous university's rector said that the club must change the name if the directive want to make it a private property, also the best students to enter to the university receive a member card of the club.

In 2006 the club was declared in bankruptcy and received an imposed administration that was very criticized by the supporters, as the new chairman immediately fired club symbols, and tried to transform the club into a private company of public stocks, being opposed to the decision of the club members in a previous assembly. The team finished the year with the worst campaign in the club history and the almost-sure transformation into private company due to the ties between the appointed chairman and several businessman.

The new university's rector make a turn in the relationship with the club after the bankruptcy and allowed the use of the university's name and symbols in a private club in exchange of a royalty. During 2007 the imposed administration sold the club to a private group (Azul Azul).

Universidad Católica is the traditional rival, as the teams inherited the universities rivalry in their origins. Since the 1973 military coup the club engaged in a fan-rivalry with Colo-Colo as Universidad de Chile supporters were more related to left-wing ideas and Colo-Colo was favored by the dictatorship and even named Pinochet their honorary president. Also during this time, the two teams emerged as the most populars Chilean clubs. These days the rivalry with Colo Colo is the greatest in Chile, while that with Catolica is significantly less important.

Popularity

The club has made a name for itself, not only through its victories (it is one of two teams in Chile with 12 national cups), but also from the enthusiasm of its fans, an enthusiasm carried ever since the team's professional debut, when the daily news posted that "the fans of Universidad de Chile were all the game chanting and supporting their team, from the bus that brought them to the stadium until the end of the game". That enthusiasm has never failed and when the team were relegated to the second division the fans were still there for every game. The fans usually refer to their love for the team with the phrase "More than a passion, a feeling".

The biggest supporters group of the club is "Los de Abajo", a barra brava (ultras, but South American style), it was the official group until the club was transformed into a public stock company.

Achievements

The team has achievements to match the adoration they receive and they won their first title in 1940, just 3 years after their professional debut. The team won six (59, 62, 64, 65, 67, 69) between 1959 and 1969 and the became known as the Blue Ballet in reference the beautiful style of football they played. Nine members of that team were part of the national team that reached 3rd place in the 1962 World Cup, the best result ever achieved by Chile.

After the golden age of the Blue Ballet, the club did not win another cup for 25 years, and in 1988 were relegated to the second division (they won that division and returned to the first division the following year). The team finally won another cup in 1994 after a spectacular final match for which 20,000 fans of "La U" arrived in El Salvador, a mining town populated by 5,000 people.

The following year "La U" won the cup again in the last match, this time in front of 80.000 people in the National Stadium. After that the team won back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000 and then won the Apertura in 2004.

On the international stage "La U" have had a pair of good runs in Copa Libertadores, most notably in 1996 when they reached the semifinals (the referee of the match was widely criticised for his bad performance that favored their opponents, River Plate).

Honours

  • Primera División
    • Winners (12): 1940, 1959, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2004 (Apertura)
  • Copa Chile
    • Winners (3): 1979, 1998, 2000
  • Primera B
    • Winners (1): 1989




Records

  • Record Primera División victory — 9-1 v. Magallanes (1962)
  • Record Primera División defeat — 0-6 v. Colo Colo (1938)
  • Most Primera División appearances — 386 Leonel Sanchez (1953-1969)
  • Most appearances overall — 539 Luis Musrri (1988-2004)
  • Record Unbeaten Matches in Primera Division (National Record) — 33 (1999)
  • Record Straight Wins in Primera Division (National Record) — 16 (1963-1964)
  • Highest attendance in Primera Division (National Record) — 85,268 v. Universidad Catolica (December 29, 1962)


All time top-10 scorers

lists of Chilean Primera transfers

  • (*) Still active

Current squad

As of January 23, 2008

Transfers Clausura 2008

In:

Out:

Notable players

Notable Coaches

Official sponsors

See also

External links

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