The beginnings of football in Cádiz can be traced back to the last years of the XIXth century and the first years of the Xxth. Already in December 1903, the press (Diario de Cádiz 11/12/1903) calls for the gathering of a group of amateurs willing tto organize matches. Barely a month later, the 19th of January of 1904, a society by the name of Cádiz Football Club is officially founded. It is headed by Fernando Alemán. The new sport quickly becomes popular, especially in military academies and schools, where friendly matches are organized. New teams are also formed to play against the sailors from the English ships docked in the city.
The founding of Cádiz Football-Club
In 1910, there is already proof of the existence of many local teams, such as the Sporting Club, the Volante, the Gaditano F.C. or the Cádiz F.C., registered on September 10th of 1910 (considered to be the official birth date of the club). Most matches were played at the “Campo del Hipódromo” (Puntales). However, the best known team of the decade is the Español F.C., founded a year later, in 1911, and supported by the Real Club de Tiro Nacional (Royal National Shooting Club), which provided them with a playing field (the “Campo de Tiro” or “Campo de las Balas”). While Cádiz F.C. only plays friendly matches against other local teams, the Español F.C. goes on to become Champion of Andalusia in 1916.
The Mirandilla: From school team to the city´s first team
Among school teams, the most famous is the San Miguel Arcángel from the La Salle school, popularly known as “Mirandilla”. There are references to its activity from 1908 onwards. Created under the impulse of the enthusiastic Brother Domingo José, and wearing the yellow and blue colours of the La Salle order, the team wins a place at the forefront of the local football scene, and finds a playing field of its own in the terrain which used to house the old Speed Circuit (San Severiano). In 1917, it becomes local champion of non-federated teams. Meanwhile, the Español F.C. and the Cádiz F.C., closely connected to the Mirandilla F.C., experience an opposite turn of luck.
In the 1920s, the Mirandilla F.C. falls under the jurisdiction of the Former Students Association, who decides to enter the Regional Championship in 1923. In order to be able to participate, the Mirandilla and the Cádiz F.C. are fused into a single team, using the latter´s registration license. The Mirandilla F.C. participates in the Regional Championship in 1924 and 1925, but results are quite poor and it goes back to friendly tournaments in 1926.
The Thirties: Name Change and Civil War
After the Español F.C. disappears in 1929, football in Cádiz is once again confined to friendly competitions between the different local teams. In these circumstances, two teams struggle to carry on the legacy of Español: the Cádiz Sport Club and the Mirandilla F.C. Eventually, the latter prevails, mainly because of its organizative structure and posession of a new stadium built in the city outskirts: the “Campo de Deportes Mirandilla” (in the terrain which now belongs to the school of “Las Esclavas”). The team once again enters the Regional Championship in 1933, as “Sociedad Cultural y Deportiva Mirandilla F.C.”, and it reaches the Second Division in the next two years, though it proves unable to remain there for more than a year. Even though it is now the city´s first team, many local fans still view it as “the school team”, and many sectors start pushing for a name change. On the 24th of June of 1936, an Extraordinary General Assembly meets to approve the club´s official change of name to “Cádiz Fútbol Club”. The original yellow and blue colours are kept. However, barely a few weeks later, a military coup gives way to the Spanish Civil War and all sports competitions are paralyzed until the end of the conflict in 1939. After they are resumed, the “Cádiz F.C.”, headed by López Gazzo, keeps the place left by the former S.C.D. Mirandilla in the Second Division, as the previous relegation in 1936 is rendered invalid. During the 1939/40 season, it comes close to achieving promotion to the First Division.
The Forties: Fusion with the Hércules Gaditano
After the 1939/40 disappointment, the team enters a deep crisis which eventually leads to demotion to the Third Division in 1942. In order to survive, it is fused with yet another local team, the rising “C.D. Hércules Gaditano”, and during the 1943/44 season it competes as the “Hércules de Cádiz C.F.” The fusion proved to be a disaster, as the team is again relegated to the Regional Division, and even disappears by the end of the season. The following year, once again as Cádiz C.F. (a 1941 law ordered the translation of team names into Spanish, so “Fútbol Club” became “Club de Fútbol”), the team is promoted back to the Third Division.
The Fifties: New Stadium and Promotion to the Second Division
After the 1945 promotion, the long-suffering team supporters dreamed of returning to the Second Division, but this does not happen until 1955, ten seasons later, with Juan Ramón Cilleruelo as president and Diego Villalonga as coach. The much-desired promotion happens at the same time as the opening of a new stadium, named after Ramón de Carranza, a leading figure of Franco´s party. The stadium opens on Friday the 2nd of August, 1955, with a match pitting the Cádiz C.F. against the C.F. Barcelona, and two days later the first Carranza Tournament takes place. Even today, the stadium keeps this name; an unfortunate and shameful circumstance for the city and the supporters.
The sixties: Promotion leagues and a brief period in the Third Division
In the sixties, during the presidency of Francisco Márquez Veiga, the team is settled in the Second Division, but promotion to the First Division proves to be out of reach. Instead, the team is relegated to the Third Division in 1969, though it returns once again to the Second Division next year, following an extraordinary season in which only one match is lost.
The Seventies: First Promotion to the First Division
The seventies would begin with a new impulse given to the team by a young president, Gutiérrez Trueba. The 1972/73 and 1973/74 seasons, with Domingo Balmanya as coach, are both outstanding; however, playing good football does not lead to promotion. The resignation of Gutiérrez Trueba is received with extreme disappointment, and in 1976 the team is about to end up in the Third Division again. Quite unexpectedly, the following year, with Manuel de Diego as president and Enrique Mateos as coach, promotion is finally achieved, but it lasts one year only. In 1978, Manuel de Irigoyen becomes president.
The eighties: From “The Elevator” to “The Yellow Submarine”
During the first half of the eighties, the team keeps bouncing from promotions to the First Division (1980/81, 1982/83, 1984/85) to relegations to the Second (1981/82 and 1983/84), earning it the nickname “The Elevator”. The most epic moment was the 1981 promotion in Elche, with both teams fighting for the same goal, and a stadium full of Elche supporters devoted to their team and ready to celebrate the promotion. It was, however, the Cádiz C.F., a team full of young local players, who won that match and achieved promotion. In 1985, misfortune strikes: a loose sparkler causes the death of a supporter. In 1982, a player from El Salvador, Jorge “Mágico” González, joins the team. He becomes the hero of the team supporters, for his football playing abilities as well as for his character. Another important arrival is Pepe Mejías, the best player in the history of the club according to many.
The second half of the eighties and beginnings of the nineties are considered to be the club´s golden age, since the team is able to remain in the First Division for eight seasons in a row. Excepting the 1987/88 season, however, with Víctor Espárrago as the coach (when the team finished in 12th position, the best results in the history of the club), it always does so with the greatest difficulty. Usually, the team would seem to be heading straight for the Second Division and then manage to avoid it in the end, which earns it the nickname of “Yellow Submarine”. The most agonishing -though with a happy ending- season is 1986/87, when the team is saved in the so-called “Mini-League of Death”.
The Nineties: From the First Division to the Second Division B
For the two first seasons of the nineties, the team manages to avoid relegation in the last possible moment, in eliminator rounds pitting them against a Second Division team: first, the C.D. Málaga, and then the U.E. Figueres, with Ramón Blanco as coach. The club became a S.A.D. (public limited sports company) in 1992, marking the beginning of a long period of decline. Two years later, the team ends up in the Second Division B, where it would remain for nine seasons. The company stock is first bought by the local government, then by a business group from Madrid calling itself “Promociones Gaditanas”, and finally by a businessman from Córdoba who lives in Cádiz, Antonio Muñoz, who transfers them to the “Asesoramiento Deportivo Andaluz” group, belonging in turn to the ZETA group. In all this time, the team only gets as far as the promotion mini-league once, in the 1997/98 season, without success.
XXIst Century: All Divisions
In 2001, the club is back in the hands of Antonio Muñoz; once again, it reaches the promotion mini-league without success. The first years of the decade are institutionally stable, but not in the sports front, and economically the deficit keeps growing. Success and joy alternate with failure and disappointment: in 2003, with José González as coach, promotion to the Second Division A is finally achieved, and in 2005, with Víctor Espárrago, the glory of promotion to the First Division comes unexpectedly, though only for one year. Once again, the downhill slide ends up with the team in Second Division B (in 2008), but coach Javi Gracia promotes it back to the Second Division A on the following season, after a thrilling eliminator round against the Real Unión de Irún. The next year is the year of the centenary celebration, and it comes with a new failure and relegation to Second Division B, where the team has remained up to this day.
In the institutional front, the club enters a state of insolvency in the summer of 2010 because of economical difficulties. In 2012 the owner, Antonio Muñoz, sells his stock to the Sinergy Society, after having delegated the management of sports affairs to a society headed by businessman Enrique Pina the previous year – the year in which the team is closest to promotion, losing to the C.D. Lugo in the penalties. Later, as a consequence of Sinergy not honouring their payment agreements, the stock is once again auctioned on December 2013, and bought by the society “Locos por el Balón S.L.”.