Pachuca – The Founders Of Mexican Football
Some clubs, such as Real Madrid, AC Milan and Boca Juniors, have rich footballing traditions stretching back decades. Others, such as clubs from the USA, Japan or Australia, have only now started to fill their trophy cabinets. Then there is Pachuca – the oldest club in Mexican football, but which only began to taste true glory in the dawn of the 21st century.
Is it possible to be both the oldest and the most modern football club in Mexico? The most vivid example of such a club is Pachuca, the country’s most successful club and CONCACAF’s representative at the FIFA Club World Cup 2007 in Japan (7-16 December, see feature on pages 30-33).
Pachuca, from a city of the same name in the state of Hidalgo, have risen from humble origins to compete with clubs such as America, Necaxa or Monterrey, who are all backed by major corporations. In May 2007, they celebrated their fourth trophy win in twelve months after defeating the all-powerful and much-loved America to lift their fifth Mexican title. This had been preceded by the Mexican Clausura in May 2006, the Copa Sudamericana in November 2006 and the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup in March 2007. The pinnacle of these achievements was lifting the Copa Sudamericana, the first time that a club from outside South America had won a tournament organised by CONMEBOL.
So how did a club that only eight years ago was virtually unknown outside Mexico rise to such great heights? Mexican football’s pioneers first rose to popularity after winning the Torneo de Invierno in December 1 999 under the stewardship of Javier Aguirre, now coach of Atletico Madrid. Pachuca have come this far thanks to their well-organised management, which has avoided paying huge transfer fees and instead opted for entrusting experienced footballers with the development of youth teams.
Argentinian Andres Fassi, the club’s sporting director, explains the key to Pachuca’s success: “The work goes far beyond football. This institution is based on four pillars: sport, obviously, but also education, social responsibility and business.”