Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Don Santiago Bernabéu

Santiago Bernabéu Yeste (1895 – 1978) was a Spanish sportsman, one of the single most important men in Real Madrid's history. He is generally considered the one to whom much of the credit can be given for transforming Real Madrid C.F. from the second most successful club in Madrid into the most successful in Spain, and one of the most successful in Europe. The team's current stadium is named in his honour. He was the club's President between September 1943 and June 1978.
Does that, by any chance, coincide with the years of Franco's dictatorship? Yes. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, professional football ceased to be played in Spain. During the war he fought as a soldier under the general Agustín Muñoz Grandes and formed part of the invasion of Catalonia by Franco's nationalist forces (and there is heaps of interesting material on Real Madrid during the Franco years - the dictator dictating RM to win, is what it came down to).
No photo's seem to remain, of Bernabéu con boina from that period, but I did find one after his collision with a four-axled tanker in 1968. 

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