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Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad is a football (soccer) club from Spain.

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About Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad de Fútbol, S.A.D. (more commonly referred to as Real Sociedad ) is a Spanish football (soccer) club based in the city of San Sebastián, Basque Country (autonomous community), founded on 7 September 1909. Its home stadium is Estádio Anoeta, which seats 32,200 spectators. Real Sociedad won the La Liga title in 1980-81 La Liga and 1981-82 La Liga, and last finished runners-up in 2002-03 La Liga. The club play the Basque derby against Athletic Bilbao. Real Sociedad were founder members of La Liga in 1928, and their longest spell in the top flight was for 40 seasons from 1967 to 2007.

Name and colours

The club name means Royal Society of Football in Spanish. The club is nicknamed in Basque language as Erreala or the txuri-urdin ("white-blue" due to the colours of their kit). The colours stem from the flag of San Sebastian: a blue canton on a white field.


Early history

Football was introduced to San Sebastián in the early 1900s by students and workers returning from United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1904 they formed the San Sebastian Recreation Club and in 1905 they competed in the Copa del Rey. In May 1905 the San Sebastian Football Club was formed as a separate branch of the club. In 1909 they applied to enter the Copa del Rey but complications over registration permits saw them compete as Club Ciclista de San Sebastian. This team beat Club Español de Madrid 3–1 in the final. Out of the confusion the Sociedad de Futbol was formed on 7 September 1909. In 1910 Spanish clubs played in two rival cup competitions and Sociedad de Futbol entered the Copa UECF as Vasconia de San Sebastian. In the same year the King Alfonso XIII, who used San Sebastián as his summer capital, gave the club his patronage. They subsequently became known as Real Sociedad de Fútbol. Real Sociedad were founder members of La Liga in 1928. The team came fourth with Francisco "Paco" Bienzobas finishing as top scorer. The team's name was changed to Donostia Club de Futbol in 1931, with the advent of the Second Spanish Republic, but changed back to Real Sociedad after the Spanish Civil War in 1939.
The team has generally fluctuated between the Primera and Segunda divisions, in one period (during the 1940s) managing to be relegated and promoted seven times. Around that time the sculptor Eduardo Chillida was the team's goalkeeper until injury put a stop to his football career.

The success of the 1980s

The team finished as runners-up in La Liga for the first time in 1979-80 La Liga, gaining 52 points compared to Real Madrid's 53, and 13 points clear of third-placed Sporting Gijon. Real Sociedad won their first ever Primera División title at the end of the 1980-81 La Liga, denying Real Madrid a fourth-consecutive title by beating them on goal difference after both clubs gained 45 points in the season. This qualified Sociedad for the 1981-82 European Cup, where they were knocked out in the first round by CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria, who hosted and won the first leg 1-0. The second leg in Spain was a 0-0 draw.

The club retained the title the 1981-82 La Liga beating Barcelona by 47 points to 45, under the management of Ignacio Otegui. The forward Jesus Maria Satrustegui was the club's top scorer for 1980-81 with 16 goals. He scored 13 the following season as Pedro Uralde was the top scorer with one more. The club reached the semi-finals of the 1982-83 European Cup, defeating Knattspyrnufélagið Víkingur of Iceland, Celtic FC of Scotland and Sporting Lisbon pf Portugal before losing 3-2 on aggregate to eventual champions Hamburger SV of Germany. Real Sociedad won the Supercopa de España at the beginning of the 1982-83 La Liga. They overturned a 1-0 defeat in the first leg to defeat Real Madrid 4-1 on aggregate.

On 11 March 1987, Real Sociedad set a record for most goals in a quarter-final of the Copa del Rey by beating Real Mallorca 10-1. In the semi-finals of the 1986-87 Copa del Rey, they beat their Basque derby Athletic Bilbao 1-0 over two legs. On 27 June 1987, Real Sociedad won their only Copa del Rey title, beating Atlético Madrid 4-2 on penalties after drawing 2-2. The match was held at the La Romareda stadium in Zaragoza, Aragon. In the following season's Copa del Rey, Real Sociedad defeated Atlético Madrid again by beating them in the quarter-finals. They then beat Real Madrid 5-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals, but lost 1-0 in the final to FC Barcelona at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu Stadium stadium on 30 March 1988. In the 1987-88 La Liga, Real Sociedad were runners-up for the first time since they lost their title, with 51 points compared to Real Madrid's 62, and three points clear of third-placed Atletico de Madrid.

For many years, Real Sociedad followed the practice of their Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao of signing only Basque players. They abandoned the policy in 1989 when they signed Republic of Ireland national football team John Aldridge from Liverpool F.C.. Aldridge scored 16 goals in his first season to be the club's top scorer, and fourth-highest scorer of the whole league as Sociedad finished fifth. In 1990, Sociedad signed another English striker, Dalian Atkinson of Sheffield Wednesday, who therefore became the club's first black player. He scored 12 goals in his first season, second at the club only to Aldridge's 17. That was Aldridge's final season at Sociedad, and he returned to England to play in the lower leagues at Tranmere Rovers, while Atkinson left to top-flight Aston Villa.

In 1997-98 La Liga Real Sociedad came third, their best finish since being runners-up for the first time since 1988. Their total of 63 points was 11 less than champions FC Barcelona, and two less than runners-up Athletic Bilbao. The club came higher than Real Madrid on goal difference. Yugoslav striker Darko Kovačević scored 17 times that season, making him the fourth-highest scorer in the league. The third place finish qualified Sociedad for the 1998-99 UEFA Cup where they beat Sparta Prague of the Czech Republic and FC Dynamo Moscow of Russia before being knocked out in the third round by another Spanish club, Atletico de Madrid.

21st century

After finishing 13th for three consecutive seasons, Real Sociedad were runners-up in the 2002-03 La Liga, their best finish since 1988. Their tally of 76 points was only beaten by Real Madrid's 78, and Sociedad had four more points than third-placed Deportivo La Coruña. The club was managed by Frenchman Raynald Denoueix. Sociedad's strikeforce combined the Turkish striker Nihat with Serbia national football team Darko Kovačević. The two were third and fourth top scorer in the league respectively, with 23 and 20 goals. The team also included Netherlands national football team goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, and San Sebastian-born midfielder Xabi Alonso. Alonso was the winner of the 2003 Don Balon award for the best Spanish player in the league, while Nihat was voted the best foreign player and Denoueix the best manager.

Key moments from that season came when Real Sociedad beat Real Madrid in April 4–2 at the Estádio Anoeta in San Sebastián. They kept first place in La Liga until the penultimate game of 38 when they lost 3-2 away to Celta de Vigo, while Real Madrid beat Atlético Madrid 4–0. This meant that Real Madrid secured first place two points clear of Real Sociedad for the last game, where Sociedad defeated Atlético Madrid 3-0 and Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao to gain the title.
The team qualified directly for the 2003–04 UEFA Champions League by finishing 2nd, they were unbeaten at home, scored 71 goals in total, and were defeated on 6 occasions only.

Real Sociedad were placed in Group D of the 2003-04 Champions League with Juventus of Italy, Galatasaray of Turkey and Olympiacos F.C. of Greece. The team won two matches, drew three and lost away to Juventus to finish second and advance to the last 16. There they were knocked out after losing 1-0 in both games against Olympique Lyonnais of France, hosting the first game.
The 2003-04 La Liga saw a dramatic decline in the club's performance, slipping to 15th out of 20. Their tally of 46 points was only five more than relegated Real Valladolid

Real Sociedad were relegated from La Liga in 2006–07, finishing 19th.
On 9 July 2007, former Wales national football team and Fulham F.C. manager Chris Coleman (footballer) was appointed as the new club coach, on the recommendation of former Real Sociedad manager John Toshack, an important board member at the club. Coleman resigned on 16 January 2008.

On 13 June 2010, Real Sociedad returned to La Liga.


The Spanish Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas (Centre of Sociological Investigations) found out that of 2,473 adults interviewed in 49 provinces, 1.3% of the Spanish population have more feelings for Real Sociedad than any other club, and 1.5% have more feelings for Sociedad than any other club apart from their favourite.


- La Liga

- Copa del Rey

- Supercopa de España

- Segunda División

The numbers are established according to the official website:

Out on loan


Recent seasons


- 16 seasons in Segunda División

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